During This Upcoming Holiday Season, Give Yourself Some GRACE

Come on mamas, let’s be honest. We may be embarking on the most special time of year, but all of that magic brings its share of overhead. With each holiday meal and pretty decoration comes a level of expectation. For some of us, a picture of holiday perfection emerges only in our heads; but for others, pressure also comes from those around us. Yes, the holidays may be our favorite, but they are also a time when we are inevitably way too hard on ourselves.

I’m a certified pro at this. And, there is not a single word following this sentence that I will not need to remember and take to heart myself, every single day over the next month or more.

But, here it goes.

‘Tis the season for us to STOP trying to be perfect.

We need to just stop. There is no such thing. There is no perfect party, perfect outfit, perfect meal, perfect reaction to your “perfect” present, perfect… anything.  Let’s. Just. Stop. 

You know what else?

It is okay to say NO. We do not have to say yes to every holiday event to which we’re invited. Yes, the festivities at this time of year are so fun. I love all the get-togethers, the shopping, the baking…but there is a point when even the good stuff doesn’t feel so good. Let’s please give ourselves the gift of margin. Real-world application: If the mom from gymnastics class – who you barely know – invites you to your 500th white elephant party of the season, and it’s just too much? Do it, girl: say NO.

Your holiday family photoshoot was a bust? It’s all good. Your subjects are children…as my husband likes to remind me, these photos are not gracing the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. We are sending them to friends and family who love us and adore seeing our sweet kids’ faces, even if Johnny is crying and Suzy is staring into space. The quality of your holiday photo is not a reflection of you as a mother. This could not be truer.  

If we can’t find the gift for which our kids have been begging since July, they will live to see another day. With 100% certainty, I can assure you that our precious baby boys and girls will not lament about this when they are 35 years old. At that point, they will have children of their own. And, you know what? They will be kissing the ground we walk on for working so hard to make every single holiday of their childhood special.

The elf didn’t move. IT’S. ALL. GOOD. He was tired.

What about forgetting to respond to the Evite? Or, send in money for the winter center activity at school? Or, dress your kid in his cute Santa shirt for party day? Or, turn the oven on…and 25 people are sitting in your house hungry? Please, please, please listen to me: It is O-KAY.

Come on, y’all. We can do this. Let’s support each other’s imperfections {because, spoiler alert: all humans have them} and use this special season to put life in perspective. It’s sounds cliche, but if there’s ever a season to be grateful for what is important and remember what really matters, this is it. There are people suffering incredible loss this year. We all have friends who are really hurting. If we genuinely embrace that reality and jump into the holidays with the truth at the forefront of our minds, we’re not the only ones who are going to benefit. 

Yep, this season is all about giving back. It really is all about family, and friends, and connecting, and loving one another. And, you know what? All of this other stuff?

It doesn’t matter.

Please remember what you’re doing…is more than enough.

Let’s lift one another up. Give each other grace. And, keep our eyes focused on what this special time of year really is all about.

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Tracie is a Florida girl who fell in love with Atlanta’s southern charm after graduating from college. She currently lives in the John’s Creek area with her husband and four children. If you don't see her in a carpool line or at a kid's sports field, she's most likely at home writing or in her virtual classroom where she teaches middle school students in language arts. Tracie writes about food, family, and faith on her personal blog, and you can read more at www.tracieandrewswriter.com.