holiday reflections: present over perfect

my holiday mantra this year and every year is PRESENT over perfect.  this has stuck with me since I first read it from one of my favorite authors @sniequist years ago. she shares that ‘our grounded, present self is more important than any activity we do and gift we give. that we can be fully here as our imperfect, messy, tired but wholly present selves, or we can miss it — these moments and conversations — because we’re trying and failing to make everything just perfect.

It’s easy to see others’ seemingly perfect lives this season – the curated stockings and Advent calendars, the impeccably planned Christmas card photos, the over-the-top parties, the pristine decor and wrapped gifts, the never-ending holiday kids activities and on and on. I’ve been caught in that comparison game before. It’s easy to feel like the way you show up this holiday season is somehow ‘less than’ if you’re striving for perfect…whether that perfect is compared to someone else’s curated Instagram squares or against an unrealistic expectation you’ve set for yourself.

but making the conscious, daily, thoughtful choice to just be present is the most important gift you can give yourself and others this holiday season. it’s never ‘less than’ to show up as yourself and to stay grounded in who YOU are and what matters to you this season and all the time.
for me, it looks like accepting that I’m awful at wrapping presents and moving on. it looks like not pressuring myself to do 25 days of holiday-themed activities. it looks like admiring the mismatched Frozen + Mickey Mouse-themed ornaments on the tree. it looks like buying store-bought cookies and giant inflatables for the yard because why not. it looks like Christmas movie nights and singing Jingle Bells at the top of my lungs while dancing around the house with my kids.

everyone has different priorities and different things bring them joy during the holiday season. if you don’t have the bandwidth for something, skip it. if you are stressed out by something, take it over your to-do list. if you don’t enjoy doing something, don’t do it this year.  life is hard enough — let’s not put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to do all the things, especially those that will just leave us feeling more frazzled and stressed. present over perfect, this holiday season and all the time.

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