Christmas Talk with My Daughter Juliet (Episode 230)
It's the week of Christmas, and my nine-year-old daughter, Juliet, has been anticipating this all year long. Additionally, she's an aspiring podcaster herself who has big plans for next year. So it was only natural that I invite her on for a conversation this week.
I love the questions she comes up with and the wisdom behind them that blows me away sometimes. As we hit on the highlights below about how we navigate holiday stress and beyond, what we love about Christmas, and what we hope for the new year, I invite you to listen in to the podcast and the sweetest voice ever (not biased....right), and remember the joy of receiving this year - the joy of seeing delight in another person is hands-down the most fun for us, this time of year and every day.
The best gift you can give to a giver is to receive the gift well.
Navigating Stress and Anxiety Around the Holidays
In typical high D fashion, Juliet went straight to the heart of it all with her first question to me - "how do you navigate stress and anxiety during the holiday season?"
And, in typical unschooling parent fashion, I turned the question right back to her. I asked her what stress and anxiety meant to her, and her explanation was profound. She explained it as a heavy and uncomfortable feeling, which I so relate to! We talked about how those come about, and what we do to navigate it. It boils down to three biggies here -
#1 - Deep Breath; Get Present
The first was simply breathing deep and getting back to center. It's knowing that when those feelings happen, they are often anxiety and stress about something in the past or future, and simply sitting in the moment and finding gratitude in what is can be a great opportunity to refocus.
#2 - Get Clear On Your Why
Second, pay attention to what you really want to add in. Are you forcing an outing to see Christmas lights when you're already maxed and traffic is horrible and only half the family wants to go? Is it worth it, really?
Are you stressing about the obligatory gift for the person who never acknowledges anything you give, anyway? Why are you continuing when even your gift-giving is starting to build resentment in you? Is it helping your relationship?
Does it make you anxious just thinking about the awkward meal with the people who you have nothing in common anymore? Maybe it's okay to acknowledge that life has seasons, and sometimes that includes the people who are in it, awesome as they may be.
#3 - Let Go
And lastly, let go of the agenda. Let go of what is "should" look like and embrace what is. We didn't have the grand gingerbread houses and all the awesome pictures of them. We did them for one silly afternoon with Poppa D, and they looked...okay. And we decided to have fun and then leave them out and see what happens as they break down in nature. Not quite the original plan, and it was fun!
Or the sugar cookies...which I'd opted not to do because I didn't want to gather up all the supplies. So what happened? We got a box in the mail with all the supplies compiled by the girls' fabulous great-aunt! We had a great time making sugar cookies, and shared the goodness with our neighbors to spread the love (and minimize the sugar overload).
Or the Christmas lights and going so big and elaborate...we decided it wasn't worth the hassle for us - we let go of what was difficult. We let go of pressure to perform. We let go of forcing happiness or an agenda on others.
And our little Christmas tree and laser lights look just fine for the holidays.
What Do You Love About Christmas?
Juliet's next question to me opens the door to another little twist on Christmas - the joy of seeing receiving! Yes - for people who love to give, it really makes a difference how well people receive it. Jules and I both love giving gifts, and the delight of someone discovering it's something they love. We get excited about them enjoying a gift, or realizing how much we were thinking of them. It's a beautiful thing to not only give a gift from the heart (and no, those aren't always physical things), but to be able to truly receive a gift with gratitude for the intention behind it.
This year, it's the first time in five years that we are in a "sticks and bricks" house - a stationary house where we have a big Christmas tree and an easy place to ship presents. We have stocked up on much-needed essentials, as well as opened the door to some fun in physical forms more this year than the past five years for sure.
And, with the influx of presents, it can all get lost in the process of just plowing through opening them all up on Christmas day. So I went to those questions above and asked myself, what, really, is the point, of waiting for everything for Christmas day, when we have time right now to be together and really enjoy each gift as we get it?
We pace the gift-giving with space for soaking in the delight.
So we started a week before Christmas, and have opened up a gift or two each every day - sometimes little essentials like razors or socks, and sometimes something frivolously fun, like introducing Juliet to Lisa Frank designs and stickers!
It's been really fun to really focus on a gift at a time and why we got it and what it meant for us to give it. Just a slight shift and it opened up so much more space for joy and gratitude.
What Do You Want for the New Year?
I love Juliet's insights here - she talked about patience, being more caring and loving, and, ultimately, her goal is to experience more empathy. More opportunities to learn from others vs. just speaking her mind. How insightful and a beautiful goal to aspire to!
We talked about some recent stats from a parenting magazine on a parent poll:
- 70% of parents say the pandemic made them better parents.
- 58% feel their child's generation will do a better job of accepting difference than their own generation has.
- 52% wish more than anything to see a more peaceful, less violent world for their kids, followed by the hope for greater economic opportunities for their kids (16%) and fewer people living in poverty (9%).
- 74% of parents feel that one of their greatest strengths as a parents is their ability to show their child how loved they are, followed by spending time with them (71%), always being there for them (67%), and encouraging them to be and do their best (64%).
- 84% say the pandemic strengthened their relationship with their kids.
- 50% feel their kids will focus more on being happy in life than their own generation has.
(taken from Parents Magazine, Nov 2021 edition)
The past two years have been really hard on so many. Any time we experience dramatic change, it can take its toll, and the past two years has brought so much change and uncertainty. Yet, in this process, it's also brought to light what all is broken, it's pushed us to face our own shadows, and to really ask ourselves what we want out of life. And, I believe it has given us all the opportunity to be a little more human. To have a little more empathy, grace and compassion, and to bring a bit more awareness to how our impact creates a ripple effect around us.
So our desire for the new year is to spread kindness, awareness, empathy and support. Juliet shared about how important it is to listen. The Dalai Lama says, "When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you might learn something new."
Your Weekly Challenge:
This week, we wish you a very merry Christmas from our home to yours.
This week, don't just focus on what all you're delivering, but what you are truly receiving as well. Soak in the goodness of a special moment. Sit with someone who's given you a gift and really appreciate it to the fullest. Find gratitude in the gift of each other.
And let things flow. Let go of the agenda and recognize the time is here. No more preparing.
Now is the time to soak it up. Soak it all in and enjoy the gift of receiving this time to rest, recover, recharge, and celebrate how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Namaste.
- Raising Good Humans: Four Tenets (Episode 211)
- The Unschooling Parent (Episode 194)
- To Build Empathy, Whatever You Do, Don't Do This... (Episode 33)
- Holiday Abundance (Episode 81)
- 4 Tips On Abundance To Make Your Holidays Shine
- Don't Be A Scrooge - If you want abundance, give it away (Episode 31)
- Finding Gratitude - Logsdon Family Virtual Campfire Chat (Episode 122)
- Not Just A Hallmark Holiday - An Attitude of Gratitude (Episode 79)
- 5 Tips To Focus For Frazzled Families (Episode 160)
- Get your free download of "Success Secrets for Home and Work" here
- Have Life Seasons Got You Stuck In A Funk? (Episode 179)
- The Seasons Of Life (Episode 3)
- Does Your LIFE Have Seasons?
- What's Left Unsaid - Nonverbal Cues (Episode 192)
- Which is More Important - Skillset or Mindset? (Episode 218)
- Self-Love, or Self-Sabotage? (Episode 152)
- Ashley Logsdon, Relationship Coach
- Personality Styles
Questions or comments?
We love Q&A on the podcast, and cover all things that are a part of creating an intentional family.
Personality styles, marriage/intimacy, parenting, education, entrepreneurship, minimalism, travel...
What is pressing on your mind? Reach out and ask or comment - we may cover it on an upcoming podcast as well as respond by email.