The countdown to Christmas is on!
Jingle bells are ringing, neighborhoods are lighting up in a spectacular array of red, green and twinkling white lights, Santa has been seated on his mall throne and candlelight Christmas Eve services are being prepared all over Fredericksburg. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!
Like many of you, once I became a mama, the holidays seemed a little extra special. I love watching how excited my toddler gets opening up presents, seeing jolly light displays and reveling in all the things this time of year brings with it.
So, to kick off the festivities, I bought a beautiful gingerbread house - complete with visions of colorfully lined rooftops and iced windows made of tiny candies and gummy spearmint trees.
Just my toddler and I, basking in a traditional holiday glow.
This was my expectation.
Yet, our adventure in gingerbread house decorating wasn't as glorious as I envisioned it to be.
Between her eating every spare piece of candy she could reach, the gingerbread roof sliding down and the frosted walls caving it, it wasn't what you would call a 'success.'
This was my reality.
While we found ourselves in a humorous situation, I almost missed it, getting slightly frustrated.
This gingerbread house was supposed to be magical!
We should be having a great time!
It should look just like the picture on the box!
This is my life's work!
(Okay, slight exaggeration.)
The point is, I noticed myself putting so much pressure on the situation, myself and my three-year-old in an attempt to create a memory.
Then it hit me, the greatest gift I could give myself this year, something I won't find under the tree, is to release my unrealistic expectations for the holidays.
Let 'em all go!
If we are not careful, we mamas of littles may actually miss out on the joy of the season striving to achieve certain rites of passage that our young ones may just not be ready for. And, should we still decide to move forward with these type of activities, it would save us and our family a lot of stress if we simply kept the expectations low and our attitudes light.
No holiday activity or gingerbread house is worth losing your cookies over.
This year, give yourself the gift of realistic expectations.
You may find yourself making this Christmas a little merrier after all.