It’s Christmas Eve! The time of year me and my family look forward to most! 

After a year like none we’ve ever seen before, I’m reminded I need to slow down and take it all in. 

It’s easy to get caught up in traditions. There are so many merry ideas, from recipes, to ways to wrap gifts, to games we play with family and friends. They may come from loved ones, past experiences, or even movies and social media. It’s easy to feel like we need to try them all so we can make this is the best Christmas ever! 

Going into activities, we have ideas of how things should look, how things should feel, taste, smell, sound etc... I always want it to turn out just like the original idea did. Have you been there before? The older I get the more I’ve realized is that those expectations set me up to fail by feeling like I haven’t done enough. 

I’ve found the best answer to be: ‘Let it be’. Good, bad, ugly, it doesn’t matter. That’s how real memories are made. If the dog eats your gingerbread house... laugh! If you’re out caroling and no one knows all the words to Frosty the Snow Man, just keep smiling and hum. If your 2-year-old breaks the ornament you spent hours making for grandma... give it to her anyway. Make it part of your story as you hang up the for years to come. If you can’t ride in the same car as cousins to look at lights because there’s a pandemic going on... drive right behind and talk on speaker phone.

All of these are my real-life experiences, and they’ve taught me the best gift I can give my family each holiday season is not my expectations, but my presence.