I decided not to put up a Christmas tree this year. Not because I was bitter or in protest, but because I just couldn’t face spending the 4 days it takes to get the decorations out of the crawlspace, go through them, make room for them, and then clean up and put them all away a few weeks later. Feeling like a bit of a scrooge, I thankfully remembered the 80/20 rule. It applies to many aspects of our lives and means we get 80% of the results from 20% of our endeavors. For example, we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time and we get 80% of our income from 20% of our sales efforts.
So I figured we get 80% of our joy from 20% of our activities during the holidays. That said, all you have to do is figure out what 20% of your activity is bringing 80% of your joy this holiday and let go of the rest:
- Holiday rituals like decorating every square inch of your home or baking dozens and dozens of cookies—and end up resenting
- Accepting every party invitation including people you don’t even like
- Unrealistic expectations—clean house or clean body?
- The obligatory gifts or cards you send without any sentiment
- Any other traditions that don’t contribute to your 20%
When I asked myself what my 20% was, the answer was easy. It’s the lights! I love all the color of lights the holiday season brings. So I changed my mind about the tree, and decided to go with just the lights, lots of lights! That gives me my 80% joy and won’t take the traditional 4 days of assembly and take down. I found myself surprised and even a little giddy with this humble insight!
When you let go of what doesn’t feed and fulfill you during the holiday, or anytime for that matter, you also let go of the expectations, resentments, and disappointments that go with it. Surprise yourself by letting go of who you used to be this holiday and focus on your 20% so you can be a little giddy too.