Holidays / Home

Christmas Survival: Lower Your Expectations

One of the most pointed tips I give married couples and moms is, “LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS.”  This stands true for yourself and others.  Most people don’t take things as seriously as you do and you probably shouldn’t take things as serious as you do.  Trust me, life is too short to stress over things that are not important in the long run.

The first time this played out in our marriage was probably a month in.  We lived in a town house with a bathroom upstairs and downstairs.  Of course, each bathroom has different color schemes.  The bathroom upstairs had the colors of white, light gray, and dark gray.  Colors that, by the way, Chris’ late granny hated and made sure she told me at our wedding shower, “I didn’t buy any of those towels because I didn’t like the colors.  I bought these [purple] towels instead.”  Anyways, three different colors of towels for the upstairs bathroom.  When I washed towels I would color coordinate the towels lightest to darkest.  Yes, I was working full-time.  Yes, it did waste time.  Yes, I was a tad meticulous.  Well, one day Chris did laundry and when I came home I noticed the towels were not in color order.  Was the Queen coming over?  No.  If she was, would she care about my towels?  Probably not.  Did I mention this to Chris?  No.  In my loving, submissive way, I changed the towels back to the way I liked them.  Guess what?  Chris noticed I changed the towels and took offense that I wasn’t grateful instead of nagging.  I said, “I didn’t nag.  I changed them the way they should go.”  He said, “You silently nagged by changing them and not thanking me.”  BOOM.  One month into marriage. Lesson learned.

Do I color coordinate my towels now?  Nope.  I don’t even care they don’t all match at this moment.  Another way this has played out in my own life is at Christmas time.  Even before we had kids we had marathon Christmas activities; work parties, church parties, his family, my family, this extended family, that extended family, etc.  Before I had children (and a life) I would wrap the packages based on where they went.  Example:  gifts that went to my parent’s house would be wrapped in red paper, gifts that went to my Grandmother’s house would be wrapped in green paper, etc.  And of course, everything had an elaborate bow or decoration as well.  I did this for about 2 or 3 years and phased it out.  Our holidays are complicated enough, why in the world am I trying to color coordinate packages when I know how to read.  I can just read the name on the box to see where it goes.  Also, that hard work I put into decorating each box…people throw that junk away.  I throw it away too so I can’t bash people for throwing bows away.  How do I wrap presents now?  I wrap each present in brown kraft paper and write with a Sharpie who it’s to and let my kids (ages 5 and 3) decorate the box.  It makes them feel like they are helping and someone will appreciate that my son drew a monster truck on their Christmas present.

So ladies, hear my heart on this.  LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS of yourself and your family.  Be grateful you have your family with you for the holidays and really appreciate spending time with them.  Life is so much more enjoyable when we’re not rushing and hushing and pushing through this season.

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