The Pressure of Doing 'Enough' During the Holidays

I was scrolling through my Instagram feed today and came upon Simply Liv & Co’s post asking “How do you remind yourself of your ‘enoughness’ when comparison creeps in?” I stopped and thought- this is the core of what I started outlining for my next blog post. I had been brainstorming a “Things You Don’t Have To Do” themed post. I started thinking about the idea of ‘enoughness’ along with the pressures of the holiday season. You know, the posts on

holiday decorating, images of rooms totally decked out with holiday décor, tips for shopping on a budget for decorations and gifts, gift guides for her/him/them/techie/pup/etc./etc., presents stacked 3' high around trees, and ALL THE OTHER THINGS.

The truth is, I see those images and posts and I often cringe. I literally pull back a bit. I totally appreciate the enjoyment many of you might get from decorating and living with all of that holiday expression around you for the next month. Or the joy of shopping for gifts and wrapping everything up to sit beautifully under the tree. But that is not my experience. I find it a hassle to drag stuff out and set it all up. I feel like my space is cluttered if I fill it with all of those things. I dread having to pack it all back up and put it away when the season is over. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE holiday lights and have full on child-like wonder and joy when I see them. I just don’t want to have to do it myself. I wouldn’t even call it lazy, I just don’t get the same feeling from the process as I do from randomly encountering it in the outside world. I’ll totally sit in your decked out living room and have a drink with you and bask in your holiday spirit. I will likely make my husband drive me around one night so I can look at all of the houses lit up with beautiful lights. I just don’t feel the need to do it to my house. And that is enough for me.

There is not a single holiday decoration in my house. And there won’t be this season. Reasons we don’t decorate include 1) we are not religious so Christmas as a religious holiday isn’t a thing for us 2) we don’t have kids and don’t buy each other presents to exchange so even the secular concept of Christmas isn’t really a thing in our house. We do get together with family and have a meal, we decorate a tree at my in-laws' on Thanksgiving, I bake holiday treats and deliver them to friends and we send out holiday cards. And I am happy to do those things because those are the traditions that we have embraced, with those people, in those particular ways. But inside our house, just the two of us, we don’t feel the need to put up a tree or decorations.

AND THAT IS OKAY. THAT IS ENOUGH. Occasionally, I get a fleeting moment of ‘but maybe I should…decorate the entry outside….put up a tree in front of all those living room windows…because that’s what you are supposed to do, that is what people expect to see’. But I let that moment sit with me and then I let it go (I learned how to do that in therapy 😉). Because doing what feels right for me/us is ENOUGH. I’m actually pretty good at letting moments like that go, the ones where I feel society pushing back against me when I go against the norm. My first big practice with that was the decision that I was never going to have children (made in my mid 20s and firmly holding ground in my mid 30s). If I could overcome that traditional expectation, I can certainly be okay with not putting up holiday decorations!

I don’t have to decorate. We don’t have to buy each other presents. And while I don’t have to bake and send out cards, I will. I get joy from those particular activities. I show I care through food. I want to share good wishes from us to you and yours for this season and the new year.

So when you feel overwhelmed this holiday season stop and ask yourself if what you are already doing is ENOUGH for you and let some of the other things go. Don’t worry about how your house looks compared to the neighbor or your best friend or your sister-in-law. Don’t worry that your tree has fewer presents under it. Let go of other people’s expectations and embrace your own terms. Embrace your ‘enoughness’. Give yourself permission to let go of the unnecessary pressures and comparisons you might be placing on yourself and be comfortable with what you have and what is right for you and your family. You are enough.

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