art Christmas scene with tree gifts and fire in background… and all through the house, not a creature was stirring …

Mostly because I’d opted to step away from “family tradition” last year. Christmas Eve has always been a big deal in my family. And for the last 20 years or so my family has gathered at my home for an intimate dinner, gift exchange and midnight mass if they were so inclined. Not so this past year.

It’s not that I didn’t want to spend time with my family. I had probably spent more time with them during the three weeks leading up to Christmas than I had the entire 11 months preceding. I just needed to do things differently. I needed to honor that part of me that wasn’t willing to go along with things “because we’ve always done them this way.”

I preach healthy boundaries, day in, day out, 365 days a year. It’s imperative that I live them. That year, there was a part of me that just knew hosting Christmas Eve, “because I always had,” was going to be a huge strain. I simply wouldn’t enjoy it. It had become an obligation.

During the family conversations leading up to the holidays I communicated my intentions, my needs and my desire for a peaceful Christmas Eve. The funny thing was it wasn’t met with push-back as I had expected. My sister stepped up and asked if she could host it. She said it would make her life easier not to have to travel with the kids on Christmas Eve. She had had a stressful season leading up to the holidays. My mother, who stays with my sister over the holidays, was in agreement.

I communicated my needs clearly and concisely, and the Universe and my family stepped up to meet those needs for me.

So instead of getting ready to have dinner on the table at 9 p.m. with the prospect of a very long night stretching out ahead of me, I was home in front of the fire in my pajamas by 9:30, enjoying the peace and joy of the holidays, my husband and my home.

This Christmas, I wish for you the things you need most, the courage to ask for them, and the grace to accept how they show up in your world for you.