Managing the expectations of the people you love can be a huge challenge over the holidays.

Our children want it to be absolutely magical.  Which is almost impossible to guarantee.

Our partners have their own vision of what is important – which is often different from our own.

Extended families and in-laws have expectations as well.  Feelings get hurt.  Misunderstandings happen, and it can feel like we are walking on egg shells.

And, of course, what we want is important, too!

Keeping everyone happy can feel like So Much Work.  It can cost So Much Money.  And take up So Much Time.

So!  What to do about it.

Well, true story: everybody wants a magical Christmas.  And a magical wedding, and a magical birthday, we just like magical experiences!  Of course we do!  Magical experiences are wonderful.

I love magical experiences too – especially around birthdays.  And for many years – they were so not magical – and even a bit disappointing.  Looking back, I am SO grateful!  Because I learned the most incredible life lesson:

I can be responsible for my own magic!

Now, on my birthday, I throw myself a party if I want one.  I arrange my day in a way that feels fun, cook and eat my favorite food, and remind people it is my birthday if they forget.  Because heaven knows that I forget other people’s birthday sometimes.  And if my friends add to the magic, bonus!  And if not, I’ve got it covered.

I wonder how it would work if we all hold a family meeting and go over everything that everybody wants to make their holiday magical.  And as a family, you decide how each person can contribute to their own and each others expectations and desires.

~ Perhaps if a particular gift is very important to someone, but isn’t in the budget, someone could help them brainstorm how to earn some money to contribute.

~ If there is a particular baked good that is desired, that person can be in charge of making it – or helping in some way.

~ If someone really wants the house clean and tidy – you could set a timer for 30 minutes and everyone in the house could clean as hard as they can on Christmas Eve – while blaring Christmas music.  Then celebrate with cookies.

~ If there are different opinions on the music that is played – perhaps a rotation could be arranged.

The idea is for everyone to understand that magic is made together – and not just by mom and dad.

Merry Christmas!  And may your holidays be magical for everyone!