December is here! It’s the most wonderful and sometimes most stressful time of the year. Why is this? While stress can exist for many unique reasons for you during the holidays, I see 4 major reasons for added stress, particularly at this time of the year.
Financial or gift expectation stress is very real around the holidays. How will we afford those gifts? What if it doesn’t get here in time? Do I need to get a gift for the babysitter, the lawn care guy, and also the person I only have Zoom meetings with at my office? Will I disappoint people if they don’t get a gift? If someone gets me a gift, I have to get them one too, right? This struggle with expectation, or if we are being totally honest, comparison, wreaks havoc on something that should be joy-producing. Allowing this monstrous expectation to put your finances in danger and/or steal the opportunity to show gratitude or thoughtfulness is not worth it. Here are a couple simple tools for addressing this stressor. Start saving for the holidays throughout the year. Christmas is on December 25th every year. I don’t see that changing any time soon, so prepare and plan. Second, work with your family to create realistic expectations about gifting and how you can gift in ways that could be less financially burdensome.
Generally, we see family members more frequently and for longer stretches of time at this time of year. It’s possible that yours is the Bailey family and everything is absolutely wonderful about your life. It’s more possible that this is not the case, or that at some point in your life it was not the case. Holidays, because of their prominence and prevalence in society, have the ability to be extremely imprinted upon our memories—whether the experience was positive or negative. It could be that this time of the year takes you back to a difficult, painful, or traumatic season in your life. Or maybe this time of year reminds you of the family you don’t or can’t be around. Want to address this stressor? Shoving all of these feelings down and attempting to ignore them will not serve you well. Take time to process, think through what your needs are (counseling, reconciliation, or healthy boundaries?) and work to allow yourself space during this season to experience and process that pain.
Daylight savings at the beginning of November always readjusts my time. When I get home from work and it’s pitch-black and 32 degrees outside, leaving does not feel like the most pleasant option. As I look at my calendar now, in early November, December is already plastered with events—holiday parties, birthdays, celebrations, extra church services. All of these things are for the greatest of reasons, all of these things give me connection with my community, and an opportunity to love and be loved. Even now though, all of these things are not possible to make happen in the 24 hours I have each day. Addressing this stressor head-on requires prioritizing, learning to say no and not worrying regardless of what others think, and making space for the unexpected events. Creating space in your life for the unexpected and not overcommitting yourself will keep you and your family from burning out on the holidays.
Last, the stress of expectations themselves. The expectations that I have for myself, the assumed expectations that I think others have for me (this is not healthy—I cannot read your mind), and the unspoken expectations I have for those around me (this is also unhealthy, people cannot read my mind). For example, I expect that Thanksgiving-New Year’s at my house (we have 6 family birthdays and 3 major holidays from November 21st-December 31st this year) will look and feel like a Norman Rockwellian painting from the front of the Saturday Evening Post complete with an incredible meal, flawlessly dressed family, and beautiful décor for all events. And I expect that every person at these celebrations has the expectation of me to execute that flawlessly. Perfect feelings of community, delicious meals, all in a beautiful setting at least 9 times in less than 30 days. That is absolutely ridiculous. First of all, we have a 2-year-old—our Christmas décor will need to be extremely sparse and extremely sturdy. Additionally, 2-year-old party stamina runs out at about 7:30pm most days. Second, without fail I find a way to commit or be the victim of a food tragedy each year. Once, my dog ate a beautiful pie complete with stamped pie crust leaves off the counter while it was cooling. Another time I misread a recipe and we had clumpy rather than mashed potatoes. For another holiday meal, I forgot to have butter available and my father-in-law had to buy some on his way to my house. To top it all off, the people I love do not readily agree on a lot of things and further, they sometimes like to talk (read: argue) about these things. From their differing opinions on politics to pie toppings, conversation does not always go the way I have planned in my head. That is reality. Reality is not my perfectionistic and overly methodical expectations. How do we combat the holiday stressor of unmet or unrealistic expectations? First, in a moment where you feel like you are overwhelmed with tasks, lists, and things to do, ask yourself: are your expectations realistic? Would you expect this of someone else? If not, give yourself the same grace that you would give to someone else and work to adjust those expectations. Work to enjoy the time with people you care about, not to curate the perfect holiday experience.
Wishing you a happy, healthy, and less-stressed holiday season!
Sucking up to the boss can bring a terrible world into being that should never exist at all.
2ND ANNUAL CHRISTMAS LOTTERY
Christmas Lottery tickets are still on sale! Get yours before they are gone and remember each ticket(s) purchase will help support at-risk children & families right here in our community! There are only 300 tickets, so you better hurry! Winning tickets are added back into the drawing for additional chances to win (up to 15x).
The drawing will be held on December 14th via Facebook Live. All winners will be contacted by email or phone! Items will be raffled in the order above. Good Luck! Check out the prizes on our Facebook page. You can also help by sharing this exciting event with your friends.
Thank you, Brandon & Vanessa Blanchard, Scott & Linda Burgess, Drew Davis, Nancy Shea, Victoria Weiss, Dan Henks, Roger & Laura Neir, Cyndi Eskina, Ryan & Keri Horn, Lisa Goble, Laura Bowman, Kris Lowry, John & Vicki Hefner, Ken Yunker, Matt Newton, Micah Hefner, Michelle Gibler, Mike & Amber Balbier, Jason & Val Schram, Ronnee Schweizer, Craig & Samantha Compton, Gwendolyn Hefner, Scott Connell, Kristin Miller, Don & Linda Pearce, Bob Thull, Dawn Miller, Ron Green, Dave & Rosie Bourland, Kayla Tomosieski, Butch & Karen Bellis, Cheryl Julo, Carry Dooley, Dan & Gigi Rippee, Mandi Pollard, Chuck Martin, Greg & Jennifer Spears, K Keth, ZoAnn Peace, Greg Williamson, John & Kelly Whitwood, Jim & Jackie Roberts, Libby Morrow, Stephen & Natalia Ray, Demi Raveill, Jacke Pittman, Larry Jones, David Glasgow, Kelsey Singleton, Mark & Cathy McGaughey, Andre & Rose Fantasma and Rene Fracassa for your recent Christmas Lottery ticket purchases.
At Peace Partnership we are amazed at what God has accomplished through us in such a short time. Our goal is simple: to help struggling people find peace in their lives. Your generosity has been so humbling and has helped us provide healing for so many this year.
Thank you, Brandon & Vanessa Blanchard, for increasing your monthly giving!
Mike & Jan McGraw, we are grateful for your new monthly giving commitment. Your trust and partnership enables us to move forward in our mission.
Geraldine and RA Barrows Foundation, thank you for the generous grant we received toward our in-school counseling program.
A special thanks to Toyota for their generous annual gift and continued partnership.
Brian & Lona Bremer, thank you for your annual gift that will help impact so many lives in our community.
Alfredo Pinto, we are so thankful for your first-time gift.
Thank you, Lee Family Charitable Giving Fund, for the matching gift we received on your behalf from EPR Properties.
Thank you, Children’s Services Fund of Jackson County, for your 3rd quarter grant disbursement toward our in-school counseling program.
Chris & Kim Thiele, thank you for your year-end immediate impact gift.
A special Thank You to our faithful monthly supporters: Mike & Jan McGraw, Brandon & Vanessa Blanchard, Cory Young, Jenny Glasgow, Craig & Samantha Compton, Roger & Jennifer Madsen, John & Vicki Hefner, Tamara Stroud, Church at Coffee Creek, Stone AMP SEO, John & Keshia Otradovec, Zane & Melissa Morerod, Matt & Kristy Newton, Jondy & Heather Britton, Rick & Jan Britton, Diane Smith, Rick & Kathy Daulton, Scott & Lydia Hurley, Kevin Quinn, Dan & Gigi Rippee, Mark & Cathy McGaughey, Mike & Tracy Pruitt, Linda Hartman, Lone Jack Baptist Church, Brent & Amanda Miller, Clayton & Pam Wooldridge, Demi Raveill, Stan & Linda Byrd, Jeff & Lacey Cherry, Andre & Rose Fantasma, Jon & Naomi Thompson, Jon Brody, Dave & Rosie Bourland, and Greg & Jennifer Spears.
We appreciate you!
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