I’m someone who loves the holidays. I want to do all the holiday activities, like attending tree lightings, watching Hallmark movies and spending time with family. However, I’ve realized I have expectations about the holiday season that have disappointed me in the past. You might have some too.
Holiday Expectations Bound to Disappoint
- Visiting family will be exciting and relaxing.
Being with family can bring hard realities to the surface. You might find it hard to connect with your family during the chaos of the season, or they might find it hard to connect with you.
- People will be excited to see me.
I’ve lived away from my hometown for six years, and every year I get excited to see family and friends. But it doesn’t always feel like they’re excited to see me.
- Everyone will get along.
The holidays can be stressful, and everyone expresses stress differently. No one’s perfect, and not everyone will get along all the time. It might be the “happiest time of the year,” but for many, it’s a difficult time of year.
- I’ll spend lots of time with my friends.
Often, I’m home for less than a week and have to visit family in three different places. There just isn’t time to see everyone I want to see.
- I’ll have enough time to do every Christmas activity that I want to.
My Christmas bucket list usually includes being able to see the neighborhood lights, making something fun from Pinterest and watching all the Christmas movies — yes, every single one. That’s a long list to check off in a short time.
- I’ll host perfect holiday parties.
Planning a holiday party can feel like planning a wedding. Developing the perfect menu, creating an Instagram-worthy atmosphere and managing all the people, who might or might not get along with each other, isn’t an easy task.
Even beyond those six, you may have other expectations you’re not aware of. A friend told me about her first Christmas with her husband. He slept through Christmas morning while she and her family did their traditions, and she was really upset.
My friend hadn’t realized she’d expected her husband to wake up for breakfast on Christmas morning. Once she felt that disappointment, she discovered she’d had that expectation all along. Sometimes we don’t fully understand our expectations until they’re disappointed.
What might your expectations be this holiday season? Expectations often lead to disappointment. Before you go home for Christmas this year, think about some of the expectations you have for the season and write them down. Will losing one or all of these ruin your holiday?
In Romans 5:5, the Bible tells us that there is a hope that doesn’t disappoint. When you learn to ground your joy in a personal relationship with God, life’s disappointments don’t all go away, but you’ll always have someone trustworthy you can continue to hope in.