Let go of the holiday “shoulds”

Winter Solstice is a fantastic time to stop and reflect on your life – what you want to let go of and what you want to create.

The Winter Solstice, in ancient traditions, marks the shortest day of the year. Beacuse we turn from dark to light, the day can be a powerful day of change celebrating the dying of the old and birth of the new.

What could die around Christmas, you might ask?

What I think of are the “shoulds.”

Any sentence with the word “should” that goes through your mind is a sentence based on belief, NOT truth. When you live by the “shoulds,” you compromise your truth and happiness.

Here are some examples (and what I’m going for this Christmas):

  • “I should buy presents for my friends and family.”

Here’s what I realized for myself – I don’t like to shop. I never have, and have realized, at the age of 46, I most likely never will. Stop trying to fit in with society, and BE ME as I am.

I do best giving my time. Time washing a friend’s dishes, helping them clean, going for a walk with them, making something with my hands, etc.

That speaks a lot more to my true self than shopping for a gift that may end up collecting dust on the shelf.

Giving your time is equally – if possibly not more generous – than giving a material item.

What feels right for you in gift giving?

  • “I should have people over.”

I do my best to be a host, but it’s a stretch for me. As an introvert, it’s not my natural tendency to have lots of folks over and entertain.

I’ve come to accept this, and I invite 2 or 3 people over instead, when it feels right for me. I also realize I can hide out in my home and stay comfortable, so when I want to create more connection, I put the effort out.

What is true for you in having guests over?

  • “I should spend all my free time with my family at Christmas.”

Oh boy, this one will lead you to some serious outbursts of anger and frustration when all your patience is gone.

Now that I take time for myself at Christmas, I am so much more myself – relaxed, happy, patient and kind.

One thing I see every year at Christmas with folks is they often stop meditating during the holidays. They give of themselves to family and friends or take a “meditation vacation”, and come back after the new year frazzled and scattered.

I understand if this is you.

Here’s what I recommend: every morning when you wake up, tell yourself that meditation is the most important part of the day. It’s like giving yourself an emotional bubble bath to relax and connect within to balance out all the giving you are doing for others.

By doing this throughout your vacation, you’ll be a lot more patient and kind with those around you and feel more happy during and after the holidays. I guarantee it.

How are you taking time for yourself this holiday season?


  • “I should decorate the house.”

For me, I’m not into decorating. Not for Christmas. Not for any holiday, really. That’s me. Am I a scrooge? No, it’s just not something that resonates for me.

If you like to decorate – do it and enjoy. If not, let yourself not decorate. How liberating!

What feels right for you – to decorate or not decorate?

  • “I should be happy during the holidays (everyone else seems to be).”

Christmas time often brings up anxiety, stress, depression, and loneliness. There’s a reason it’s the highest suicide time of the year.

If this is you, give yourself a big hug from me and lots of love and kindness for what you’re experiencing. Remember to breathe, take time for yourself, and do what makes you happy like spending time outside, with friends, playing games, reading a book, etc.

For me, I do what brings me joy (no matter the time of year) – connecting with people, meditation, and playing outside.

If you find the holidays a happy time, that’s wonderful. Enjoy each part and be present for what brings you joy.

What is true for you – is it difficult, joyous, or both? (being honest with yourself can be a relief)

Watch for the “shoulds” – they are direct feedback this Christmas for when you are veering off the track of being true to yourself.

They are also an indication that you’re literally at war with yourself – the split of the ego thinking you “should” be different than you are (creating anxiety and struggle).

Be YOU this Christmas and you’ll feel more at peace.

I guarantee those around you will still love you with boundaries and self-care – in fact, maybe even more so.

Are you single and looking at spending the holidays by yourself? Call a friend or friend with kids and invite yourself over, or have them come over. Make a plan so you’re not by yourself.

What do you want to let go of today and what do you want to create in yourself in the next two weeks? Patience, loving kindness, courage…?

Be clear – pick two that you want to aim for and say them every day. Watch how they guide your actions over the next two weeks and the difference in how you feel!

Categories: Heart Centered Living, Inner Wisdom & Intuition, Stress & Anxiety

About the Author: Angela Patnode

My passion, my calling, is for you to be totally you. Through private coaching, in-depth retreats, and online group coaching programs, I help you tap into your intuition and clarify your desires and vision, I guide you to take active steps toward making your desires a reality.

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