Picture this: My 20-month-old twin boys are grinning widely and staring right at the camera. AT THE SAME TIME.
They are dressed in coordinating outfits, not matching like last year because they are their own person now and we must celebrate their toddler individuality. The backdrop is vintage French country chic. Across the bottom, in a whimsical font, are the words: “From Our Family to Yours, Happy Holidays.”
D you have this image in your head? Great! Stay in your head and imagine walking over to your fireplace mantle, refrigerator or card basket and adding the card to the other smiling families in coordinating outfits.
And holiday cards — check!
Now this is not a condemnation of holiday greetings or a “Why I Won’t Be Doing Holiday Cards This Year” post. I happen to love holiday cards. I eagerly await any I am lucky to receive from friends and family.
I’m not doing holiday cards this year (making last year’s cards both my debut and finale) because I just needed one thing to cross of my holiday season to-do list. Just. One. Thing. I could have easily chosen to scratch any one of the tasks that fill our stress buckets around this time of year. But when I thought of the holiday cards process — getting a decent picture, choosing the design, ordering, addressing and mailing — it sounded like a complete headache. And why have a voluntary headache?
Traveling over Christmas with toddlers and their STUFF to my in-laws is also a pain. But the payoff — time with their grandparents, great-grandmothers, aunts, uncles and cousins — makes it more than worth it, not to mention non-negotiable. And there are many other responsibilities during this season that just have to happen out of necessity, etiquette or, best of all, because you truly enjoy it (what a concept).
So why keep the burdens we place on ourselves that are neither necessary nor enjoyable? Anything you place on your to-do list should check at least one of these boxes. And be liberal with yourself on your definition of necessary.
While I enjoy receiving holiday cards, I was pretty indifferent about actually sending them last year. It was my first year with kids and I felt I owed it to the world to show them off in a 2×3 square on a card made hastily on CVS’s website as New Year’s approached. Obviously they are not — and never were — a necessity. And once I made the decision to drop them this year, I felt much more equipped to handle the other things on my list.
I am fully aware that there are much bigger stresses in people’s lives right now than cards. And those stresses are typically compounded during the holidays. If there was a quick fix to those problems, I would much prefer to write that blog.
But in the meantime, if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I encourage you to take a “one thing” pledge and shorten your to-do list by at least one line. Or keep that task on the list but go ahead and cross it off so you still get that feeling of accomplishment. Because you have accomplished something. You have accomplished making your life a little easier by doing (or not doing) something that was not necessary, not bringing you joy and, presumably, will leave neither you nor anyone else worse off. Congratulations!
What one thing can you or have you dropped from your holiday list? And since I am not mailing, I used Canva to make a few different digital cards so please pick the greeting you most enjoy receiving and know I mean it with all my heart 🙂
Once again I am finalizing a post while watching the news of another heinous tragedy. My thoughts go out to the people of San Bernardino. There is surely not one solution to this horrific epidemic of violence, but I am honestly petrified to know what will need to transpire for any progress on gun reform to happen. As they say often in the field of recovery: “If nothing changes, nothing changes.”