Check the calendar and take a deep breath. We are entering a critical phase of holiday preparation. As shopping winds down and preparations come together, be prepared for something weird to happen.
You may begin to doubt yourself.
I only know this because I know myself. It happens every year, so I’ve learned to plan for it.
Just days before Christmas, when all the gifts are wrapped, and the plans are nearly complete, I hear this voice suggesting that the things I made are dumb and the ones I purchased are too cheesy. Surely, they won’t be right, and I’m going to be embarrassed.
I begin feeling regretful.
Once those thoughts are neatly wedged in my mind, stress mounts and a sense of doubt takes the reins.
“Oh, no,” I think. “I need to buy new, better gifts.”
What if someone gives me a gift, and I have nothing for them? What about the mail carrier and the neighbors?
Panic sets in, which can lead to more buying and overbuying, ruining all of the good work I’ve managed to do so far.
If that’s not bad enough, invariably I begin to hear from the voice of food that insists I didn’t make sufficient dessert or the breakfast buffet includes only one source of protein.
What if my guests need gluten-free or vegan choices? We might run out of beverages or snacks or eggnog.
I don’t know if the voice of food ever visits you, but it tries to take up permanent residence with me.
The best way to avoid going through your own season of doubt is to anticipate and be ready with a counter punch.
The gift is precisely right. Think back to when you made or selected that gift. If it was the right gift then, it’s right now. Relax and trust yourself.
No one is keeping track. You’re not calculating how much anyone spent on you, right? Then, don’t assume anyone else is doing that either.
Gift-giving is not about settling scores or spending equally.
A gift carries an expression of love and best wishes. Let it do its job.
As for the matter of food, I’ll bet that no one has ever starved in your home. When is the last time you ran out of food and left a poor soul sitting there still hungry? That’s what I thought.
Such a thing is not going to happen in the coming week, either.
Should you suffer a sudden shortage of food or beverage, take time to learn which store will be open, then keep the address handy.
If, after all of this self-talk, you are still feeling unsure, I have the perfect antidote that will not cost you any money but will put you at ease.
Write each one of your gift recipients and dinner guests a note. Express your fondness and tell each person what they mean to you. Do not doubt yourself. Attach those notes to the gifts, or place them at the table.
Your work is done. It’s time to relax, sit back and enjoy the holiday!