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You Don’t Have to Do It All This 2020 Holiday Season

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2020 is the perfect year to pare down

If there is one thing I think we can all agree on right now, it is that none of us needs any more stress.

Unfortunately, over the years, the ever-increasing demands and expectations of the holiday season have become yet another source of stress for too many of us.

Let me just stop here and say: If you are someone who finds joy in doing all the things each holiday season, by all means, do them. This message is not meant for you.

However, if you are one of the thousands of readers for whom my 2018 essay, You Don’t Need to Do It All This Holiday Season, resonated, you know exactly the sort of stress I am talking about.

You do not need to maintain traditions which no longer bring you joy. --Elizabeth Joyce

That essay was syndicated and featured across 10 different websites, including The Mighty, over the past two holiday seasons. Its popularity is a testament to how many people needed to hear: “You do not need to maintain traditions which no longer bring you joy. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed for months, it is time to let go of that stress. Do less. In doing so, you may actually recapture the joy of the season.”

This year has been, arguably, the most universally stressful in our lifetimes. I don’t need to list the reasons why 2020 has been so exceptionally challenging, we’re all living it.

So, I say, 2020 is the perfect year to pare down the holidays. Most of us are going to feel the need to make adjustments this year anyway, both with how many people with whom we gather, as well as with how much money we spend in celebrating. Instead of trying to overcompensate for those losses, let’s spin it to our advantage. Let’s use this year to get back to the basics and find the simple joys again.

Many look to the holidays as a salve for our stress, but it is all too easy to set such high expectations that we run ourselves ragged in trying to achieve an unobtainable form of holiday magic.

So, as you are figuring out how you are going to navigate the 2020 holiday season, remember: You don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to add in more this year to compensate for the changes. You can, instead, pare down to the simple joys of the season and save yourself from added stress in an already exceptionally stressful year.


Getty image by evgenyatamanenko.

Originally published: November 16, 2020
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