Have Yourself a Mediocre Holiday

Dana Laquidara

Why it's OK to aim for ordinary. 

Change the goal from having a fabulous holiday to having a mediocre one.

I hope I reach you before The Madness sweeps you away. Chances are it doesn’t have you in its grip quite yet, though it could be close. I certainly bet you think you’re succumbing.

And just what is The Madness? It is Everything You Must Do in Order to Have a Great Holiday. It is fulfilling grand expectations, whether your own or those of someone else’s. Maybe your mother’s or mother-in-law’s, or your spouse’s or your kids’? Does the mere thought of everything you have to do to ensure that everyone in your family has a great holiday grab you at the sternum and trickle down to your gut? Does it excite you…or does it hit you with a twinge of dread?

If your answer is dread, here is my suggestion: Change the goal from having a fabulous holiday to having a mediocre one.

Mediocre holidays are much gentler on the psyche. You know the saying, 'What goes up must come down?' The holiday mood—anticipation, excitement, chaos— not only has to come from somewhere, it has to go somewhere when it’s over! The time, money, and energy it takes to create an amazing holiday is likely siphoned from your daily life. Before the festivities, you’re working on adrenaline, anticipation, and possibly even guilt. Afterward, you crash.

Now, what if you decide not to steal from whatever makes your daily life good? Your exercise routine, time with loved ones, alone time, a creative endeavor—whatever it is that keeps you sane and happy—what if you guarded it with your life? Because every ordinary day IS your life.

During the holidays, I want to be with family, enjoy some good food, and open a few carefully chosen presents. But I also want to enjoy them before the holidays. And after. No rushing, no stress, no frenzy, no crash. There’s something to be said for being a holiday underachiever. I’m saying no to the high of an amazing holiday season, and yes to the peace of a mediocre one. I invite you to join me if you like. Maybe this year you skip the holiday cards, or cut down on the baking. Put up fewer decorations, have others bring a favorite dish to the meal, and don’t fuss over your children’s holiday clothing.

Perhaps some people thrive on the frenzy of an amazing holiday, but for the rest of us, a mediocre holiday is a happy holiday.

5 Tips for an Uncluttered Holiday Season

-When your children are very young, choose your holiday traditions carefully. Whatever you do will set their expectations for years to come.

-Maintain your family’s day to day routines as much as possible, especially with little ones. Keep bedtimes and mealtimes reasonably consistent.

-Consider giving older children gifts of experiences in place of stuff.

-Have an agreement with your spouse of partner ahead of time that you will limit your gift giving to each other.

-Keep self-care in the forefront of your mind throughout the season. A joyful, healthy mom is the best gift you can give your family.

Excerpted from "The Uncluttered Mother: Free Up Your Space Mind & Heart." Author Dana Laquidara is an Upton-based mom of three (now grown) daughters who hopes to inspire readers to simplify life in order to unwrap the gifts of creativity and joyful parenthood. 

The Uncluttered Mother