I have always been a perfectionist. This has been something that I thought was part of my identity and believed would be with me forever. Until one day that I decided to let that go. It was amazing and trans-formative and nothing tested my commitment to let the perfectionist go like Christmas.
I usually started planning Christmas in September. I would think about the perfect present, the best decorations, homemade projects to do, etc. You name it and I was planning it or putting it on my to-do list. That September after I decided to surrender myself was challenging. I caught myself planning, preparing, and obsessing. I resisted the urge to manage my family’s Christmas. I said things to myself like, “Who will plan the gifts?” and “My husband is such a procrastinator I have to do this”. I pushed against letting go of Christmas. I tried to bargain. I’ll let go of Halloween and Thanksgiving but I need to take care of Christmas!
Finally, I just gave into the surrender. I allowed the holiday to guide me. If it was convenient to pick up some decorations, I did. We made a list with my daughter when she was writing to Santa and worked out gifts. Holiday travel plans formed naturally. And you know what else happened? I created one of the best memories of Christmas I’ve ever had.
I loved living in the moment. I spent the month after Thanksgiving just breathing. I wasn’t wound up all the time. I enjoy taking my daughter to events and not worrying that she was getting enough “stuff done”. I was there when she saw Santa and took the picture. And it was the best picture yet because I wasn’t giving her all this anxious energy.
Then came Christmas Day. I watched everyone open their presents with joy. I felt so close to my family because I was right there experiencing the moment with them. I wasn’t worried if they liked their give but I was happy to share the morning with them. My daughter was excited to have her gifts and started playing right away. My husband and I shared the abundance of family together. It was one of the most amazing times of my life. And I know it was because I let go of trying to plan Christmas so that it was perfect and just live in the present.
Being mindful and in the here and now saved the magic of Christmas. I hadn’t realized how disconnected I was from the loveliness of Christmas through trying to overdo everything. I was able to laugh at the commercialization of Christmas and truly treasure the idea of family. I felt like that year (and every year since) has been the greatest gift to me.
*This blog spot was submitted by my holiday guest blogger Kathleen Ensor