I am usually one of those people who has to have everything happen on a schedule, in a very specific manner, and I feel like I should do everything in order to maintain the level of control needed to ensure perfection. Needless to say, that can become very stressful and exhausting when hosting enough people. And on top of all that, I have found in the past, that I miss out on everything since I am so busy making sure everything is happening properly. This year, we chose to host our entire family on the hubby’s side. I learned something about myself this holiday season, and a few things about hosting that will make all future occasions a little less stressful and far more enjoyable for me and everyone involved. My conclusion? It turns out, that the perfect family holiday (after all of the planning and preparation is in place), is the culmination of 2 words – Let Go. Let me explain:
When we stepped in and chose to host the family for Christmas, it was a whirlwind decision. The original plan had been disassembled, due to unforeseen circumstances, and we had to make new plans quickly. This family Christmas had been on the books since Christmas 2016 and fell apart in July… just 5 months before Christmas. So, after one family decided to make the trek to us, we just invited everyone else and chose to move forward with a new plan. I immediately began planning, budgeting and saving for the event but felt like I was completely unprepared. My brain clicked on and I began planning meals, activities, gift ideas, holiday decorations, space and sleeping arrangements. My first thought was, “How are we going to afford this?”… my second thought was, “where will everyone sleep?” Then, as my brain started to think of everything that needs to be done, I began to seriously plan and get things in order. I found that, I had just enough time to add this into our budget and just enough time to plan an entire week of food, activities and an epic celebration. This had to be a magical Christmas for the kids since the older ones are on the brink of not believing in Santa anymore.
I wanted to make sure that nobody was bored, everyone had enough food and everyone had a good time so I began to feel anxious about the whole thing. I am blessed to have an awesome family who helped make this an amazing experience. The plan began with the idea of matching pajamas, the polar express and local tourism. The first wave of family arrived on Sunday afternoon, then we had more arrive the morning of Christmas eve and the final wave arrived late Christmas eve. At the airport Christmas eve, the hubby and one of his brothers, found a dog wandering the airport. This little one was groomed and trained exceptionally well, had a holiday collar on and did not look like a stray. They brought the pup home and that was an adventure in and of itself. We were able to return little Roxie to her family Christmas morning, thanks to a vet being open and able to scan her for a chip. I will list all of the activities, and schedule we had, along with our menu, here.
During the whirlwind that was Christmas 2019, I learned that I didn’t have to do everything… I didn’t have to have the perfect decorations… I didn’t have to make all of the food. When I let go of having complete control during everyone’s visit, I was able to be a nicer person who wasn’t on edge. The most important thing was that I let go of control in my kitchen (BIG DEAL). When someone wanted to make a meal, I didn’t stand in the kitchen and force my help. I didn’t make sure everything was done my way. I ensured that they had all of the ingredients they needed, all of the utensils, equipment, and I stepped away to enjoy my time or take care of something else. This one little act must have been the most impactful of my lessons. Let go… just let go of control in the moment and allow others to help you. Let go and delegate. Let go and enjoy time with family members. Let go and take a moment to breathe. Let go and allow yourself to not be in charge. Just let go, because all of the planning you have done to get here, is done. Let go and enjoy the magic that surrounds this holiday. Everyone is going to remember how they felt and how you made them feel. Nobody wants a cranky and overworked hostess. By allowing others to help, especially when they have the desire to help, they feel good about themselves too! Cooking or baking is generally how many show their love… by allowing this to happen in your kitchen, you are letting them know that you appreciate them as well. My entire outlook on hosting has evolved. I know with more time to plan, i could have achieved more but… I would have to qualify this as a very successful Christmas. The kids had the times of their lives. The parents all had some adult time to celebrate and catch up on each others lives. And everyone will remember this Christmas as one of family, magic, and good times. WINNING!