What does tea have to do with the expectations we all face at the holidays? Remember the tea lifestyle. Taking time for tea is about stepping back and nurturing yourself and others. It’s about choosing creativity and simple beauty over adrenaline and productivity. And there’s no time like the present to keep these goals and values in the forefront of our minds and lives. I want to tell you through a story how this will help you deal with holiday expectations.

Last week I began a class through Simplify101 to help me Get Organized for the Holidays. Because I committed to the process and took time to answer some key questions, I made some amazing discoveries I want to share with you.

First, we were asked to create our Holiday Inspiration Statement. Doesn’t that sound so much better than a Holiday Vision Statement? Vision tells me where I have to climb and work to get somewhere else. Inspiration helps me take the steps. Who among us needs inspiration more than vision? I’m raising my hand!

Second, we were asked to identify our all-time best holiday memory. Mine was in 1995, when I celebrated Christmas nurturing a one-week old. I identified with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and embraced every nuance of the Christmas story. This is not a memory I can repeat. It’s not a memory I can manufacture. And my heart understood. Even though I am now the homemaker, stocking stuffer (shh…don’t tell the six-year old), and grocery shopper, I am not able to make the magic. It’s not all up to me. The memories will come without me turning into a frenzied, overspending, super-mom. This is critical for my personality to understand. Maybe yours, too.

I can’t share all the questions I was given because this is Simplify101’s material. But I will share with you the result. Once I went through the process, I came up with my inspiration statement. While planning and initiating the activities over the next six weeks:

“I will choose simple joys with others over my independent ideals.”

So what does this mean practically? Well, I’m still working on that part. But here’s a few of my ideas:

  1. I will choose simple over elaborate meals.
  2. I will under-buy presents for my children.
  3. I will choose to spend time on the holiday puzzle with the children over addressing my Christmas cards. After all, this is the last year for them all to be in grammar school together.
  4. I will not try to wow every neighbor while promoting my business, thank every teacher, or think I have to buy for my husband’s co-worker’s nanny because she once did something nice for us. (Yes, this is how I think!).

I encourage you to engage in a similar exercise. Brew yourself a pot of tea. Find a comfy chair and uncluttered corner. If all your children are over two, shut your door and take at least 20 minutes to yourself. Write down your expectations, or the expectations you imagine others have for you. See if they match up with your understanding of the true meaning of this time of year. If they don’t, what can you do about it? What can you honestly tackle? Where can you let go and trust the memories will happen anyway? Sip your tea. Let the warmth of the beverage AND the warmth of trusting the memories will come comfort you.