Now don’t get me wrong. I LOVE traditions. They are comforting and a beautiful connection to the people of the past as well as the present.

But things start to turn bad when traditions go from how I… GET.. to celebrate with others to how I.. HAVE… to meet expectations. AAAH!

Don’t let this happen to you!

How you ask?

By staying in the present. I know you hear that all the time but here’s how it can make a big difference to your holiday celebrations.

With all the things we do in our life, picking up the kids, working, driving or even running for the bus, it’s our choice of how we want to think of it or what we make it mean about us.

You can choose to see things as what you ‘get’ to do in life or look at it as what you ‘have’ to do.

Making that switch requires being in the moment in order to recognize what’s really important, what you love, value and cherish like family and traditions. What it does is widen your focus to the bigger picture — when usually you’d focus on just a fraction of that bigger picture by stressing about what needs to get done tomorrow, or worrying about what you did/didn’t do yesterday.

Step back and hold a bigger frame up to your life that includes more than your fleeting, momentary emotions and incorporates all of who you are.

Do this the next time you’re feeling like you have to…

  • run around shopping for gifts and food to create that perfect tradition
  • clean up after guests staying for the holidays
  • engage in unwanted conversation
  • endure the chaos when all you want is to escape

Before you let the frustration get to you and you give someone a piece of your mind…

Remember why you’re doing this. The bigger why of what’s important to you. That giving from your heart feels good and is actually a gift to yourself.

No one and nothing is EVER perfect. Having connections with family and friends is what we get to do and what keeps us going.

What have you got to lose?


Liz Coleman, RTC, is a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor based in Surrey, BC. She specializes in anxiety, anger, insecurity, and relationship problems. If you have any questions about this article or would like to schedule an appointment, please call Ms. Coleman at (604) 809-8947 or use the convenient form on her Contact page.