Andy’s Chalice – The “Good Enough” Holiday

Greetings! I hope your holidays are feeling satisfying and manageable as you read this. It’s axiomatic that holidays are “supposed to be” filled with family, friends and cheer, along with at least a few gifts given and received. “Supposed to be” can be such a tyrant!

I remember spending the winter holidays with my gathered family in Nebraska a decade or so ago. The details are beyond my recall, but I was having a terrible time and finding a lot of fault in my loved ones and my own life. I felt so depressed about it afterward. Going back for the next winter holiday, I worried that my current visit would recapitulate my angst of the prior one. Thankfully, I was inspired with a new approach to the holidays that I still employ: The “Good Enough Holidays.” I realized I was setting the bar too high: I didn’t actually need a great holiday or family visit; a “good enough” one would do.

What would I need for my “good enough holiday?” I tried to set modest yet meaningful criteria: I would like to go to one holiday party; give and get at least one gift; do one unselfish thing to improve someone else’s holiday; sing Christmas Carols with someone; have at least one person I could check in with about how we each were truly experiencing the holidays. If I could have these things, I decided, my holiday would be “good enough” to merit honest satisfaction.

Devising my “good enough” list is only half the process, though. The other half is planning how to reach my goals. I have a lot of control over whether my list is achieved. (If I don’t, then my list needs revision.) I can ask someone to exchange an inexpensive, thoughtful gift with me. I can be alert for party opportunities and, if necessary, ask to attend one. I can always find ways be of service to others. I can ask someone to be my Holiday Friend to check in with if things get hairy; I can even pre-plan certain times to check in, to avoid shyness about picking up the phone.

Should my “good enough” holiday plans fall short somehow, Plan B kicks in: make a gratitude list. I can always find blessings to appreciate, like having eyes to see and living in a country where bombs don’t routinely explode. Simple, important blessings. That said, however, I’ve never failed to manage “good enough” holidays since I began planning them. This allows me to look back on them and feel contented, not short-changed.

That’s good enough for me.

Happy Holidays and a blessed, beloved and loving New Year!