That was a question I asked myself a few years ago. I was thinking this while I was looking at all of the people that were coming to OUR house for Thanksgiving, while I was silently praying for strength. Growing up, my parents’ house was the spot where many of our family and friends came to connect and socialize. With the passing of my mother in 2006, much of that had come to a screeching halt.

However, about 5 years later my dad had remarried and expressed that he REALLY wanted our family to host the holidays at our home once again. C’mon, this was my dad – what was I going to say – No? I think not, so I said yes. Immediately, I got that yucky feeling in my stomach and immediately thought “what have I agreed to”? All I could think about was if we had enough wine in the house for me to tolerate all of these people.

After being in my own pity party for a few days, I actually had the wherewithal to take some quiet time for myself at the beach and listen to the waves. It was at that very moment, I made the decision this holiday season was going to be one of the best since we lost my mom.

As I briefly think back to that wonderful year, I can still hear the amazing compliments regarding me being, “such a gracious hostess”. I didn’t see it at the time but I now understand how I not only endured but actually thrived during the whole season and

“How am I going to make it through this holiday season?”

each year since. Cooking and hosting a large number of people in the home can be a bit overwhelming – not to mention having to still manage your own immediate family.

What I realized while spending that time alone on the beach, was how I was going to honor myself and still operate from a space of joy during this time. After all, I was the CEO of a successful business. If I can manage employees and contractors, I should be able to manage this as well. This is where I activated what I now refer to as my “Triple P” playbook.

The first step I took was to call a family meeting. I wanted to be sure we’d all be operating from the same playbook. What I recognize is, many of us are operating by the rules we create, but we fail to include all the crucial players in the process, which is when we see the undesired final result of confusion.

PLAN: As a successful professional woman, you know this is one of the surest ways to increase the chances of success. When there is no plan you are basically saying you’re fine with anything happening in any fashion. Of course, you also understand that a plan is really a guide and everything may not follow the exact detail of the plan created. But you certainly have increased your chances tremendously of having what is ultimately developed being in close proximity to your vision, or even greater.

PATIENCE: Oh yes, I can hear you now saying – “what do you mean? I’m always patient and kind”…..During the holiday season, patience can easily be something that you find yourself in an endless search for. It definitely does seem like we’re living in the Twilight Zone with some of the nonsense I’ve witnessed. I know I’m not the only one who has observed family, friends and complete strangers exhibit behaviors that literally have had you think they must be possessed. So, in order to keep your own crazy in the box before embarrassing yourself (because we also have it within us), I definitely encourage setting the intention of enacting more patience during the holiday season. I can tell you from experience this has allowed me to look at situations from a different vantage point and just observe from a place of no attachment. Let me also caveat this by saying, you don’t allow anyone to just run over you and treat you inappropriately. However, this posture shift can be a wonderful contribution to your sanity.

PERSONAL TIME: In my opinion, this is one of the most important steps. If you want to enjoy yourself and not find yourself in martyr-mode or just plain miserable – this is non-negotiable. I’ve always had a morning ritual which directly contributes to me and how I begin each day. BUT, during the holiday season, there is a lot more stressful energy that I find myself exposed to and I realized I needed to take additional time for ME. What that may look like is closing my office door for five minutes of meditation or simple silence. I recall one year I was invited to a very large holiday luncheon, there was a point where it just became too loud and I knew I needed a moment. I politely excused myself and went to the bathroom where I took a moment to just be still and relax. There will be some obligations you can’t escape, so knowing you have options is lovely.

Since implementing the above strategies, I have increased the joy I experience during the holiday season and certainly minimized my stress levels. It’s even more amazing because my family is aware of how I operate and doesn’t ask questions when I may disappear momentarily.

It’s also important to remember the holiday season is not celebrated or enjoyable for everyone. Do not take it personally nor should you insert your beliefs if someone expresses a thought contrary to yours. Each one of us is entitled to the way we feel and we should honor and respect one another accordingly.

Happy Holidays!

Alycia Huston is a consultant for high-powered and accomplished entrepreneurs and corporate executives. Helping to build a business, make key decisions for your company, lead from “within and of” your people, and helping you to take pride in your accomplishments.

LeaDHERship Adventures, LLC. Alycia@alyciahuston.com. 619.490.8058