By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Ever hear the term “snowball effect”? The idea behind this metaphor it is that you start with a small snowball at the top of a hill. It’s small, harmless, insignificant even. You start to push the snowball down the hill. As it goes, it becomes bigger as it picks up more snow, and it gains momentum as it goes faster and faster down the hill. Faster and faster, bigger and bigger, until it is this giant mass of snow hurtling to the bottom. This can be a metaphor for events happening in life; ideas or situations that start out small and insignificant but pick up momentum and speed, building on itself, almost taking on a life of its own, becoming seemingly impossible to stop once it is started.
This, my friends, can happen with holiday traditions, if you aren’t careful.
Let’s be real for a second. I love holidays, and I love traditions. And, the marriage of holidays and traditions can be magical, but it can also be too much. It starts out simple enough. You come with a set of traditions with culture, spiritual, and family specific roots. Then, you marry or start a relationship with someone that comes with their own set. Suddenly, you have potentially doubled your traditions and expectations on your time during the holidays. Your snowball has started to go down the hill. But, it’s not too bad yet.
Then, kids come along; they might be your own children or your siblings children. Now, there is a tiny human calling the shots due to schedule or location. Layer in that you have a new family unit and might want to start your own traditions. Meanwhile, you have grandparents, aunts, uncles, and extended family with their own agenda. If you don’t set clear boundaries and expectations, that snowball is picking up speed.
You start searching Pinterest or scrolling Insta for the best ideas for holiday traditions. You start adding in extras like Elf on the Shelf because it’s so cute. Look at this wrap a holiday book for each night in December to read at bedtime...perfect! Breakfast with Santa, check! Reindeer at the local garden store...we’ll be there! You don’t want anyone to miss out on something fun! Still pretty easy, it’s just the three of you.
Your family grows. You start realizing the snowball is spiraling out of control. You have to repeat all the traditions you have been doing with your first child because they now expect this is part of what you do during the holiday. You have guilt that you need to keep it fair for the younger child so you bring back outgrown traditions or have to double your current efforts. Not to mention, as kids grow older, you start having school and possibly church programs as well as extracurriculars like sports or music lessons. All the while keeping up at work and work commitments. And, you want to see your friends...and, oh geez, some “me” time would be great. When was the last time I made it to the exercise class I signed up for? Ugh...you feel the shadow of the giant snowball coming at you!
Am I speaking directly to your soul right now?!? Here is a plan to deflect that hurtling snowball and take back your holiday:
Write down all the things you think you need to do before Christmas. Just get it out on paper.
Here are a few more tips that might help you take back your holiday!
Jackie White has been writing about life and its ups and downs for many years. With a degree in Industrial Psychology and a life-long student of personal development she is intrigued by how each individual chooses to live their life. Jackie feels strongly that truly living your best life is imperative to attaining peace and fulfillment. SoulShine was borne of her desire to inspire and teach others to live their best life. This is her mission and her dream.