If there is one thing 2019 whacked me on the head with, it’s the fact that we have a choice – pretty much always – to control our mindset.

What we think controls how we feel, and that applies to the holiday season.

The holiday season is busy (my least favorite word) whether we try to muffle it or not. School parties, work parties, shopping, neighborhood lights, trails of lights, decor, gift exchanges, Santa pics, local activities, church activities, family gatherings, friends gatherings, pretty much a gathering related to any group. Multiply each one of these.

Tis the season for celebration.

The REALITY is you not only have choice in participating in each and every one of these, but you have a choice about how you feel about participating too.

Your office wants to celebrate you with cocktail attire, dinner and an open bar? Complain about another obligation, or be excited and enjoy a night out.

The cost of presents is getting out of hand? Be anxious about debt, or be realistic and set a limit.

There are approximately 52 Christmas tree lightings, Santa opps and light displays? Wear the badge of busy honor by overscheduling, or just pick one or two that are low-stress and actually enjoy.

Your casual book club is throwing yet another gathering that you’re not actually excited to attend? Stress yourself out and go, or just don’t. Don’t go!

I’m soaking up the holidays this year… because I want to!

Because my 3-year-old thinks the inflatables in the neighborhood are so cool. Because I don’t get to see my friends and family enough. Because there are tons of fun activities available that others graciously plan. Because I can choose my level of participation. Because I can choose to be excited. Because I have so many holiday memories from my own childhood.

It really is such a special time of year.

Last year I wrote about being a wannabe holiday mom. I’m still a wannabe holiday mom. I get in my head and try to do too much. I’m learning my limits, and the moment my toes dip into the stress pool, I start backing out. It’s liberating.

I choose to focus on what brings me energy, and I’m slowly learning to minimize the rest.

Love DIY and crafts? Do them. Picking the perfect gift your thing? Indulge. Lover of family traditions? Embrace. Queen of the kitchen? Cook your heart out. In awe of holiday lights? Tap that inner-child desire.

Just don’t try to do it all. Think, “What brings me the most joy and the least stress?”

There is a good chance the person who “does it all” still has a whole list of things she doesn’t do – just like you – so don’t even compare.

The holidays are what you make them,

so you choose – chore or choice.

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