I love all of us. You, you, that weird dude over there. We are good people. With the exception of some very not good people in the world, we’re alright.

But we are also all stupid.

We do things that make our lives harder than they need to be. I blame Pinterest for some of this phenomenon, but one social media platform can’t be the fall guy for all the madness. Pinterest didn’t start the fire, as Billy Joel might say.

Somewhere along the way, we got horribly lost. If we have to point a finger, let’s point it at fear.

Fear of failing
Fear of not being liked
Fear of looking lazy
Fear of missing out (that even has a common acronym – FOMO)
Fear of looking like a fool
Fear of what others might say
Fear that we’re not good enough at [insert your own crap here: work, marriage, parenting, balance…]

I’m not healthy or strong enough to say to hell with you, fear! in every area of my life. I’m just as stupid as the next guy or gal most of the time. I’m working on it, but I still operate out of a place of fear more than I’d like. See: the time I agreed to be lead homeroom parent (which isn’t so bad, but I totally agreed to it out of fear that I was somehow failing my child and my school if I didn’t do it this year).

As the holidays sneak attack us – next week is Thanksgiving, did you know that? – I’m aware that ’tis the season for agreeing to a whole bunch of stuff you’d rather not do. And honestly, some things are not a fear issue. A lot of what we do to make the holidays special comes down to doing the right thing, for others and for our families. I’m not talking about those right things. I’m talking about the optional stuff.

What I’m talking about is blowing the budget to please someone else. Or blowing your schedule, even if it means the holidays are a blur and you don’t enjoy a second of it. Or blowing your health, because you forgot to eat at least one vegetable and exercise.

This year, I’m not doing some of that optional stuff, even if it means dealing out a little disappointment here and there. I have to stand my ground. I’m not going to be so mired in fear hat I forget to feel joy.

This year, I will not:

Buy a hamster, or any rodent, or a snake, or any reptile. Sorry kids, that wish list item isn’t happening, because guess who will have to feed the creature and clean the creature’s cage? I learned my lesson in the Sea Monkey Debacle of 2013.

Attend a cookie exchange. I don’t need that many cookies, ever. Even at the holidays.

Make homemade wrapping paper. I’m all about reducing, reusing, and recycling, but I’m also all about getting the gifts wrapped without adding 23 steps to the process.

Stress about the theme of my Christmas trees. If you enjoy that type of thing, then I think themed trees are awesome. I do not want to spend my time or money on that this year (or ever).

Speaking of trees, I’m not going to agonize over the lights. This issue may be unique to me, but I spend a crapload of time fussing with Christmas tree lights to make sure the tree is evenly lit, with no dark spots. This year, I’m going to embrace the dark spots.

Schedule an event or activity every night and all day on weekends. I’m not saying we’re not going out and about at all, merely that we are going to make sure there’s some downtime, too. We are making time to stay home in our pj’s and enjoy our theme-less, spottily-lit trees.

Get my cards in the mail right after Thanksgiving. I’m toying with not doing cards at all. You heard me. I love to receive them, though, and therefore feel that I should reciprocate. But I always kill myself to get them out the first week of December. If I’m later, I berate myself for not being more organized. Not this year.

Make my own decorations. I’m not anti-craft project, but I’m not going to put unrealistic homemade holiday expectations on myself.

Say yes, when my heart and mind are screaming, no! Who knows what kinds of invitations, obligations, and requests are going to come our way during this holiday season. I vow to trust myself, and consider the option of saying, “no, thanks, not this year.”

Lest you think I’m all bah-humbug (see, I still fear your poor opinion of me), let me tell you that I will be incorporating a lot of Yes! this season:

Yes, we’ll destroy the kitchen by covering every surface with flower and sprinkles when we make sugar cookies.

Yes, we can stay up late and play games by the fire.

Yes, we will gather with friends and family to celebrate the season.

Yes, you can watch Elf for the 753rd time this week.

Yes, while we’re on the subject of elves, we will embrace The Elf on the Shelf, because Bingle Jingle Snevets might be a little creepy, but he’s a lot of sweet fun for the kids.

Yes, you can make – and eat for breakfast – a gingerbread house if you want to.

Yes, we will remember why we celebrate Christmas and talk about our faith.

Yes, we will count our blessings and share them, too.

I wonder…

:: What will you say no to this year?
:: What kinds of yeses to you have in store?