When your Christmas doesn’t meet your expectations

Christmas is a magical time of year, but sometimes it does not go as planned. Here is what to do if you find yourself feeling a bit of Christmas letdown.

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  • It seems every year the Christmas holiday gets bigger and bigger. It starts sooner than in years past, and there are more things to do, more places to go, and more gifts to buy.

  • The expectations for the holiday are high, and if it doesn't go quite as planned, it can feel like a letdown. You may worry you are not doing absolutely everything you can to get the most out of the season, and fear you are missing something. Don't worry, you are not alone. A lot of us feel the same way, but here are four things to realize:

  • 1. You shouldn't lose sight of the spirit of Christmas

  • It can be easy to lose sight of what the season is all about. We can get wrapped up in all there is to do, that we forget the first Christmas was the humblest of all. There were no white elephant parties, Elf on the Shelf, or breakfasts with Santa. It was a simple birth of the Christ child. If we can keep that in mind throughout the season, then we have fulfilled all expectations.

  • We do not need lots of ribbons and bows, just a reminder of why we celebrate this time of year. Don't forget the reason for the season. It is the most important part of your holiday plans.

  • 2. It's okay to miss something on your list

  • You may start out the season with the best of intentions. Your Christmas to-do list may extend over multiple pages, and you may have already mapped out all the events you want to attend, all of the sales you want to hit up, and what you are going to do each night leading up to Christmas. But, don't be upset if you only get to a few things on your list.

  • Life happens, kids get sick, plans fall through, stores sell out of the item you wanted. Don't let that bring you down. Just because you only attended one tree lighting ceremony instead of the 7 that were on your list, it is okay. Your kids will remember the few things you did, and probably not even miss the 48 items you did not do.

  • 3. It is okay to simplify

  • You do not need to attend an organized event every night to get the full holiday experience. There are simple things you can do to make the season special, without making you feel too overwhelmed.

  • For example, play Christmas music while you cook, clean, or while your kids play together is a great way to bring the holiday into your home. Make Christmas cookies together and take them around to your neighbors. Watch Christmas movies at night as a family instead of your regular TV shows. Take a walk around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights.

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  • All of these things are simple, but they let you spend time together as a family celebrating the holiday. Don't overdo it. Simplify.

  • 4. There is always next year

  • If there are things you did not get to this year, there is always next year! Christmas comes each and every year. While you may want to make traditions with your family- the things you do every year, it is also nice to do something new each holiday season. Put something you did not get to this year on your list for next year. It will give you something to look forward to!

  • Sometimes our holiday does not go quite the way we expected it to, but it's okay. Don't lose sight of what is truly important this time of year. Don't get so overwhelmed that you start dreading Christmas instead of looking forward to it. Remember, there is always next year!

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Megan Shauri graduated with a bachelors in anthropology and a masters in psychology. She is a mother of twins.

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