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Standing Up For Joy

Christmas season is both a joy and a stressor. Let’s be honest, as much as we want to pretend things are great, trying to purchase all the gifts AND pick up groceries AND clean the house AND cook before family comes over adds up to a pretty hectic time of year. It’s so easy to get caught up in everyone else’s expectations and needs that we lose ourselves in the process.

I’m here today to remind you to stop. Stop trying to do everything for everyone else. This time of year is about joy, so let it be joyful.

Let me tell you a story.

The week of work before Christmas, I planned to wear a different Christmas shirt every day. I LOVE my Christmas shirts – one has corgis, one has Harry Potter, and my personal favorite has *NSYNC. I have been looking forward to this arrangement of shirts since December 1st. So, fast forward to the Monday before Christmas. I walk in with my sweater and no one says anything. I chalk it up to a case of “the Mondays” and let it go. By Wednesday, still no one has commented on my beautiful assortment of shirts and I’m starting to get a little bummed.

My negative thought patterns begin swirling. Suddenly, this week of happiness that I had been looking forward to became a silly, out of place display of ridiculousness. I suddenly feel anxious about my wardrobe choices and semi-shameful for enjoying this time of year and I consider calling off my final shirt to avoid any more embarrassment. And then, I realized something.

I didn’t wear these shirts for anyone else. I wore them for myself, for my joy. This is how I choose to celebrate Christmas and no one can take that away from me!

This is the key, y’all. We have to stop the negative thought process that begins to steal our joy. What if someone didn’t say “Merry Christmas” back to us? What if they ran out of sugar cookie icing at HEB? What if no one acknowledged your fantastic Christmas shirt arrangement? Christmas is so much more than meeting other people’s expectations for the season. Christmas is about understanding that life can be easy, fun, and joyful. It can be playful and special, all in your own specific way.

So, to finish my story.

I did wear my last Christmas shirt, because it makes me smile. I look down, see *NSYNC, and all of my worries melt away as “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” begins playing in my head. Maybe it’s silly, but I also brought in my new Christmas corgi coffee cup, which also puts a huge smile on my face because it’s just so dang cute.

Today, I took my joy into my own hands and let me tell you, it has paid off! Today is a good day.

You, too, can have a good day. Take time this season to capture your own joy, whatever that means to you. Slow down. Breathe. Wear that Christmas sweater with pride.

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