A few weeks ago I shared a Christmas checklist that I use each year to help me stay on track so that everything I’d like to accomplish for the holidays doesn’t start to overwhelm me. Please feel free to download it if you feel like it’ll help you, too.

BUT, before we start using checklists to pull off the “perfect” Christmas, let’s have a reality check about just that.

There are a million and one things we could do during the holidays, but we don’t need to do them all. I see you – the moms who are monogramming special order stockings and pajamas and holiday towels, hiring Joanna Gaines to drape your banisters and doorways in live evergreen garlands and cranberries, ordering vanilla from Madagascar to bake your cookies with, and shopping for foil wrapping paper with a pattern of your family crest on it.

There are things we can do this time of year because we want to do it. Those things that bring out the best way we know how to show our love for those closest to us. HOWEVER, no one is obligated to do things because someone expects it.

If Timmy loves that one molasses cookie drizzled in orange-cinnamon-nutmeg-hazelnut icing that takes 47 days, an act of congress, and the blessing of a shaman in the Amazon to prepare, and “Christmas just won’t be the same without it”, and you feel like you’re going to ruin Timmy’s Christmas if you don’t spend the next four weeks sleepless and wrecked, it may be time to set some new expectations with Timmy.

There are too many holiday seasons that end with a collective gasp of “thank God it’s over” from people everywhere who have taken on Christmas like it’s a part-time job.

We can let go of others’ expectations of us this time of year (oh, and the REST of the year! Yes! Who knew?!) and focus on those things that truly make the holidays special for our loved ones AND ourselves.

Yes, it’s completely okay to enjoy what Christmas is all about without worrying whether or not your weird coworker loves the secret Santa gift you spent 18 hours shopping for because you’ve never actually had a full-blown conversation with this person.

You’re okay as you are. Your clothes, your house, your cards (or even lack of cards), your tree. Maybe you don’t do as much as your neighbor who commissioned the Nutcracker ballet to be performed in her front yard (she’s stressed out and you should probably bring her a glass of wine), but I bet you’ll have a Merry Christmas just the same.

When you’re surrounded by your loved ones – no matter what you did or didn’t get done, your Christmas will be just perfect.