Skip to Content

Happy Holidays? 

Two children with plates of cookies in front of them

Every year, as the month of December approaches, I vow to make THIS holiday season better.  I have been looking for more joy – but have had difficulty finding it. For some reason, for most of the last 35 years, I have felt compelled to “Do Everything Christmas.”  Oh, my!!!

✅ Create 150 Christmas cards with personal notes?
✅ Cut, set up, and decorate a fresh tree? 
✅ Decorate the house, inside and out? 
✅ Make crafty, homemade ornaments with my kids for family and friends ?
✅ Make family calendars for both sides of the extended family? 
✅ Bake and deliver dozen of cookie plates with 7-10 varieties of cookies? 
✅ Bake and decorate gingerbread houses? 
✅ Buy and wrap presents for needy families? 
✅ Attend church services, children’s concerts, holiday parades, etc? 
✅ Buy and wrap presents for family and friends (one year it was more than 100 presents!)
✅ Make delicious holiday meals?  
✅ Travel to see relatives on Christmas? 

All while carrying on with life — working, helping kids get to their activities, and all the everyday life chores. 

I am exhausted just thinking about it!  What was I thinking?  Or more precisely, why was I NOT thinking “this is so ridiculous?”

This year, I feel like I have a better understanding of the “some reason” and the “NOT thinking” behind my behavior. This is where the We Are Resilient™ concept of Cultural Patterns is so helpful. Cultural Patterns are messages about what we are supposed to do and not do, passed down through family, community, faith traditions, the media, etc.  When we explore our Cultural Patterns, we can work toward changing those that do not serve us.  Clearly, my vision of “Christmas”, created by my Cultural Patterns, was on overdrive. My problem was exacerbated because my Cultural Pattern of “make my husband happy” meant I also added all my husband’s Christmas Cultural Patterns to my own. 

I began trimming this list down several years ago when I realized my overload made me and my family unhappy. Now, understanding that my vision of Christmas came from combined Cultural Patterns, has helped me slow down further and give myself self-compassion. I know with the Resilient Mindsets of Curiosity, Choice, and Courage, I can choose a different type of holiday season.  

This understanding has helped me use the Connecting Skill of Speaking Authentically with my husband about what is realistic for both of us to do.  I can now create a holiday season with more intention. I can create a holiday season with more joy.  It won’t be perfect (another Cultural Patterns trap!) but I have Resilient Skills to help with the bumps. 

What are some of your Holiday Cultural Patterns? May you Notice your Cultural Patterns and begin using the Centering Skill of Letting Go of those that no longer serve you. 

Wishing you Happy Holidays, full of joy and grace!

Meri and the Dovetail Learning team