I celebrate Christmas, but this idea can certainly be applied to other high expectation holidays.
Our family tries to strike a balance between the commercialization and spirit of the year. We grew up with the stacks of colorfully wrapped presented under the brightly lit tree, so we continue that tradition, but we aim to keep it to a reasonable limit.
However you celebrate the holidays, for most of us there are some pretty lofty expectations, both of ourselves and those projected onto us from others. We all find varying methods for coping with said expectations and finding that nugget of family, giving, and joy that should be at the heart of it all.
Under stressful conditions, our strengths (and our weaknesses) rise to the surface and can be quite telling.
The Project Manager
Every detail is planned out ahead of time. The gifts are laid out on a color-coded spreadsheet and add up to 10% less than the budgeted amount (in case of unanticipated expenses). The shopping is completed by Thanksgiving and the wrapping by the next week. While prepared, when their fine tuned plan hits a bump they can be a bit inflexible.
Every Christmas is set to be bigger than the last. Creative ideas outnumber the realistic capacity of the people involved, but the holiday is always magical, with a surprise or two in store for unique memories year after year. A big vision that focuses on the spirit of the holidays is key, but the visionary needs dedicated followers to manage the details.
The Solo Professional
Too busy for this holiday stuff, their nose is to the grindstone, utilizing everyone else’s downtime to launch their next big thing or push out just one more widget, helping to overwhelm UPS with just one more unnecessary package during the superbowl of shipping. Their focus is impressive, but they need someone to force them to make memories and relax for a day or two.
The Dedicated Employee
We really need more of these people in our lives. Endlessly flexible and ready to help out, these peacemakers are more concerned with everyone having a good time than on what they want. They aren’t concerned with messes or bad weather, they’re always ready to make the most of what we have. Unfortunately, some have a tendency of turning into entitled martyrs.
Crafty and creative, the artists in our lives have brilliant ideas for creating gifts that reflect our personalities and brnig back memories. They often capture those memories as the family photographer and they may produce their art through cooking, creating tasty treats and holiday meals. However, they can struggle with deadlines, promising to finish that baby blanket by the new year.
The lovely frugal person can either be a real treat or a Scrooge. They either give you a Hershey’s bar or a hand knit scarf in their favorite colors. They can be so concerned with the price of everything that they lose track of the bigger picture, but an accountant with a dash of artist in them can make the best low cost presents in the world.
I have a bit of several of these in me, but I clearly fall mostly into the project management camp, a good reminder to laugh when the fudge turns into hot fudge sauce and go with the flow when a blizzard ruins our (my) plans.
Where do you fit? See any other roles playing out in your family?
I think I’m either missing my calling as a project manager or accountant, and see a bit of those two roles in my holiday prepping. Would love to be a dedicated employee (perhaps in real life, too?) and when we start a family, putting on the founder hat some years would be cool.
“Accountant” could certainly be swapped with personal finance coach. It’s always a good sign to have the flexibility to incorporate a few different strengths into your approach to managing a project like Christmas!