Happiest Holiday Traditions: Dial Down Perfectionism, Embrace Novelty

dreamstime_xs_28031654As the beauty and wonder of the holiday season beguiles us, it can feel tempting to build up previous years’ traditions and feasts in our minds. The rosy hue of hindsight causes us to recall only the beauty of the dishes we served, the joy of the caroling group we joined, the hilarity of the games we played. Many revelers experience feelings of frustration, as it seems their celebrations never quite live up to the memory of those holiday traditions from the previous year.

 Release Your Inner Perfectionist

Many of us have no idea that our perfectionism sabotages our ability to enjoy the meals we plan and the activities we so loving plan.

You may be a perfectionist if:

-          You are eager to please.

-          You procrastinate actually executing the plans you devise.

-          You are critical of yourself and others.

-          You never feel you’re quite there yet.

Give yourself permission to set your plans and BE DONE. No dithering, no improving, no worrying. Sir Robert Watson-Watt, creator of the early- detection radar system during WWII, advocated a “culture of imperfection” since the pursuit of perfection only nets diminishing returns.  If you set your mindset ahead of time that good enough IS good enough, you will experience relief. Remove the stress from your holidays. And you will relish your piece of pie that much more, even if it sags a bit. Check out these delicious recipes, including a number of no-bake options.

dreamstime_xs_27676572Explore a Few NEW Traditions

There is something to be said for novelty. If we stop trying to duplicate the glory of Grandma’s famous buttermilk rolls and branch out, we free ourselves from the pressure of living up to the past. Stop trying to recreate old traditions. Start dreaming up some new ones.

-         Whip up some simple but tasty gifts for friends.

-         Consider mixing it up with a trip. A beach holiday could be just the ticket.

-         Pinterest is a great resource for innovative and sentimental ideas.

-        Invite family members and friends to write about their favorite holiday memory. Gather everyone around the fire and allow each person to read his/her letter to the group.

Most of all be sure that your traditions, new or old, allow for spending lots of time with the people you love. Years from now, loved ones will recall the way you made them feel when they were with you, not the technical perfection of your schedule of family activities. So ease up on the pressure this year and give yourself the gift of a beautiful, simple holiday season.


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