Take the Pressure off - Navigating the 7 Expectations of Christmas

#leadership 3 rs of goal setting anxiety assertive christmas holidays tools Dec 16, 2023

"Great Chr-Expectations": Navigating the 7 Expectations of Christmas - without guilt, social and work pressure. 

No matter what our role in life, there is a very real element of additional pressure when it comes to the holiday season. Anxiety, loneliness, overwhelm and "overloading" shouldn't be the 'norm' to accept just because it's Christmas.

Here are my 7 key tips to transform people pleasing, 'must do' goal setting and end of year pressure to flow like a pro.

It all starts with dropping perfection and wraps up nicely with conscious conversations and the art of saying no.


  1. The Expectation of Perfection

Christmas often brings with it an unspoken pressure for perfection. Whether it's the flawless Christmas dinner, the immaculate home decorations, or the ideal family gathering, the quest for perfection can be exhausting.

Plus running a business means there is pressure to have "goals for 2024" all in play and a perfect annual wrap up done.

  • Not everyone can do that and it can make you feel like you've 'failed' not having that all sitting pretty and perfect before you sit down to Christmas lunch.

Comparison can really be the thief of joy and feeling ok with where you are at.

Remember, it's the imperfections that often make the most cherished memories and also vision and creativity and good planning is improved when you've had a true mental break and can come in with a fresh perspective and energy.

  • Do your best and plan for the rest in the NY.
  1. The Expectation of Gift-Giving (Personal or Corporate)

Gift-giving is a central part of Christmas, but it can become a source of stress.

The expectation to find the perfect gift for everyone can overshadow the true spirit of the season.

  • Focus on thoughtful, meaningful gifts rather than expensive ones. Sometimes, a heartfelt letter or a shared experience can be the most treasured gift of all.

Furthermore, corporate gifting can be really challenging. Swap this around and consider donations to charities of choice, provision of time and resources and recognition of people's work, clients and suppliers within your business means.

Be authentic and that will mean you can sustain your generosity without stressing your budget.

  1. The Expectation to Be Merry (Tough times are real)

There's an unspoken rule that we must be constantly merry during Christmas. However, it's okay not to be okay.

Lonely or really struggling. Acknowledge your feelings, whatever they may be, and know that it's perfectly normal not to be in high spirits all the time.

Allow yourself the space to feel a range of emotions. Reach out to friends, family and if needed specific community foundations like Life Line, Salvation Army or your local community centres for support and a chat.

Christmas is one day of the year. Not having plans can be really isolating. So ensure you organise a place to be or check in with those you know who may be alone at Christmas and extend an invite....

  1. The Expectation of Social Gatherings

Christmas is typically a time of social gatherings. However, not everyone thrives in these settings.

  • It's important to balance social obligations with personal needs. Don't be afraid to say no to certain events if it means preserving your mental health and well-being.
  • Also - if you don't drink or are making healthy choices don't feel peer pressure to explain yourself.

A simple 'no thank you' :) is enough. If needed, plan other types of non alcoholic options and bring your own to family meals etc.

It's ok to put your oxygen mask on first. You may just inspire a few others without even realising it.

  1. The Expectation of Family Harmony

The ideal of a harmonious family gathering is often just that – an ideal.

Family dynamics can be complex, and tensions can surface. Approach these situations with empathy and understanding. Set boundaries if needed and focus on the aspects of family interactions that bring joy.

  • My advice is to drop the 'stories' and to keep a simple, honest and open approach. Engaging in drama only fuels the flame and if you can't be civil then don't put yourself in a situation that challenges you.
  • Ask yourself - is it really worth making it difficult?

Family can be added pressure and cause stress yes- however if you are authentic and choose to focus on the good rather than what's not working you can lead by example and at the very least, remain neutral if you need to for the greater good.

Life is short.

  1. The Expectation of Reflecting and Planning - Goal Setting Gone Mad!

As the year comes to a close, there's an expectation to reflect on the past year and plan for the next.

  • Yes in business this is crucial. Personally it's also key to defining what your great looks like. While it's beneficial to look back and forward, don't put pressure on yourself to have it all figured out over the holidays.
  • Life is a journey, and it's okay to be a 'work in progress.'
  • Having a framework like the one pager (drop me a message to request the 3 vital q's PDF I give my clients to do a simple pin drop for the year).

Large businesses usually have this in workflow - but if you're a smaller business and struggling to get everything done - identify a deadline for the new year to finalise your operating and business plans.

  1. The Expectation of Tradition

Traditions are a beautiful part of Christmas, but they can also feel restrictive, create a sense of isolation and loneliness for those without family or nowhere to go.

It's okay to create new traditions that resonate more with your current life. Be open to change and make Christmas your own. If you're on your own - plan ahead, can you be part of something in your community, do something special for the day or can you give back to others in times of need.


As we approach Christmas, don't be afraid to recalibrate expectations.

  • To focus on what truly matters – connection, kindness, and the simple joys of the season and being OK with what you CAN do rather than what you feel you 'should' do.

Chr-Expectations are not about living up to a society ideal but about finding happiness, calm and knowing what matters most. Personally and Professionally

As a business owner, founder or entrepreneur - I know it can take time to get to a position in your business where you can take true TIME OFF - so plan accordingly.

Limit hours, schedule down time and set expectations for your clients as well as yourself. Recharging over the holiday season sets you up for 2024 as a year of success.


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