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The Problem with Holiday Expectations, and How to Fix Them (Part 2)

image by Jose Diaz Ortiz

image by Jose Diaz Ortiz

In part 1 of this two-part series, “The Problem with Holiday Expectations,” I talked about what happens when we set expectations for our holiday season. In a phrase?

No-good, very bad things!

Expectations are made to be dashed, and the holidays are an excellent time for taking a nice, juicy expectation, holding it up to the light, and throwing it down into a pile of reality rubble. Expectations and the holidays just don’t match, my friend.

That’s why the absolute best way to have the most spectacular holiday season possible is to eschew expectations, and work hard to live with an open hand and heart about everything that is to come.

Need help living up to that tall task?

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself to see what your expectations really are. If the questions at times sound outrageous, don’t laugh them off. This is very possibly what you (and I!) are really thinking inside — even without acknowledging it.

Laugh the questions off, and then realize the kernel of truth that may lie within;)

Ultimately, these questions will help you work through what is realistic, and what is not, when you envision the next two weeks of your holiday season.

  1. Do you think that this is the year that you will finally get along with that one grumpy uncle who loves to talk politics?
  2. Do you envision a beautiful, thoughtful gift from a sister who’s regularly given you some version of the same black GAP sweater, year in and year out?
  3. Do you believe this will be the first year your in-laws will become your best friends?
  4. Do visions of a perfect dinner dance in your mind?
  5. Do you secretly expect your husband to surprise you with a diamond necklace, a Chanel bag, or a pair of Manolos?
  6. Do you think your children will just love to ditch their bunny slippers and hop into their new patent leather shoes you spent a fortune on?
  7. Do you imagine the whole crew will actually sit still at church this year?
  8. Do you seek modern art perfection in all your gift wrapping?
  9. Do you look forward to your mother staying with you for a month?
  10. Do you anticipate being rested and rejuvenated with each coming day?

If any of these questions ring true for you – beware! Expectation lurks. If you find yourself answering yes, it’s time to dial back your expectations and dig your fingers into the dirt of a real-life holiday season.

Your psychiatrist will thank you.

 

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