1441273_10201627269256256_1776938028_n1) Read this.   Let’s save the word “persecuted” for those who actually are. Like these people. And not just the Christians…. there are so many others. Just sayin.

2) “No” Is a just fine answer. We tend to think we have to do it all. If we can’t, we feel compelled to give a valid justification for why we can’t. We don’t have to. Sometimes, “No.” Is enough.Let’s practice- say it with me:

No, I cannot bake cookies for 14,000 elementary students.”  (Each with unique allergies, including but not limited to: gluten. nuts, milk, eggs, chocolate, fruit etc…..I’m pretty sure those options leave you with beef jerky cookies. But then there are vegans.. so- you lose. No matter what.) “No, I can’t host the Holidays this year.” “No, I can’t buy gifts for every human being I’ve ever had contact with.” No, I can’t re-decorate to accommodate my picky inlaws before they come spend the holidays with us.”  “No, I can’t donate to every heart wrenching cause just because it’s the holidays.” “No. Just No.” Pretty much- Insert whatever thing it is someone wants you to do- and add: no.” You can soften it with a “I’m sorry, I wish I could.”  Or, offer something that you CAN do. Like find a restaurant where you could all meet to celebrate, etc. However, the key is NO. Anything else is  not necessary, and opens the door for trying to convince you for how you COULD or SHOULD. “No” Is not a mean answer. “No” can be an honest and loving answer. An answer that saves you, your family and your holidays from becoming chaotic and miserable.

If saying “no” is hard for you- I give you permission to buy this. It might help. I have one. I’m wearing it for a talk on boundaries in a couple of weeks. (That was my justification for buying it:P)

Here’s the thing: We also need to ACCEPT “No’s” from others. Without guilt tripping or probing. This goes both ways. It’s called: Respect.

3) Keep the main thing the main thing. I can’t tell you what the main thing is for you and your family. however,  I suggest you make a Holiday mission statement and stick with it. If it doesn’t enhance or support the mission: See # 2.

4) Smile. Be nice. This is a season when that’s Ok. You’re not going to be at risk of being thought of as creepy. (Mostly, unless you ARE creepy. But don’t be creepy. Ever. Ok? Thnx.) Also: Don’t be that mean person who’s angry every time you have to wait during the holiday season. It’s busy everywhere. Bring a book. Google something. Wait nicely, smile and say: “Thank  you” to those who help and serve you. Even if it’s busy. Bonus round:  Don’t be a jerk- leave a tip. Tip as well as you can. Sometimes tip well even if the service isn’t stellar. It’s called “Grace.”

5) You can’t do everything. Don’t try. You’ll just make yourself and everyone around you: miserable. Trust me. I’ve tried. See again: #2.

I could go on…but really? You won’t read more and I won’t do more. As you can see by the current state of my Manger- I need to get things set straight. (The dog ate baby Jesus = years ago. Literally.)

So-  let’s try to start here. I have a feeling it could change the holidays for all of us.

Dear Lord— The holidays are upon us… and honestly? Sometimes it feels more “Game of Thrones Winter is Coming” Than: It’s a Wonderful Life The Best Christmas Pageant Ever or even Elf. Please God- help us to get things straight in our hearts and minds before we let ourselves get caught up in the crazy that can me the holidays. Let it be more Silent Night than Black Friday. I love you Lord- and need you desperately to help me make the best decisions I can and to focus on you. Let your mission be mine this year….I love you Lord- Amen. 

Readers: So what are your holiday challenges? Saying yes too much? Wanting everything perfect? Being Nice in stead of Naughty? (A snarky meanness is sometimes the soundtrack in my head.  Trust me- I get it.) Keeping focused? Feeling persecuted? Tell me….. And tell me your solutions! I can’t wait to read them!