Holiday Decorating the SusPro Way

Holiday decorating is a great example of how all three dimensions of Sustainable Productivity (SusPro) intersect. First of all decorating is not my strength. If it were up to me I would dress myself and my house in Garanimals type combinations that are easy to figure out. I don’t feel much joy in the process of decorating and I am not good at it – which actually is a pretty good combination. 

Well, it is a good combination if I accept this. When I am not spiritually fit and I try to keep up with shoulds and Real Simple magazine ads, this is where I fall into unsustainable and non productive. I need to clarify here, I like to have holiday decorating done, but I don’t like to do it or make decisions about it.

In our house we put the tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving. Since it is on my mind right now I thought I would give you a sneak peek into how I keep holiday decorating Sustainably Productive in all three SusPro dimensions.

Watching the movie “Elf” after putting up the tree is one of my favorite traditions.

Health and Fitness Dimension

SusPro Question: What can I physically manage?

I have zero interest in spending my energy hauling bin after bin down rickety attic pull down stairs and then another flight of stairs dodging Lucille. I accept I only have a finite amount of energy. I want to spend it doing things that light me up, not holiday decorating. 

Mental Well-being Dimension

SusPro Question: What do I have time for?

See above – it is not bin hauling. What I know about myself is that I have about a 2-hour tolerance for holiday decorating. I love having our adult kids home putting their janky macramé ornaments on the tree. I love Lucille looking so hopeful that we finally agree to follow her lead and bring trees inside. I love holiday music playing with the fireplace on (even if it is 65 in North Carolina). 

I love all of that until I don’t. Then I want to be done. I don’t want to let it linger for days. 

Lucille also does not want the bins to linger.

Environmental Surroundings

SusPro Question: What brings the mood, vibe I am going for?

Do you want cheery? Peaceful? Welcoming? Cozy? While the environment can be each of these things independently and there might be some overlap, trying to meet cheery and peaceful in the same settings on the playlist could be a challenge. Same with amount and color of lights on the tree. Ditto for how many trees you put up. 

On the Conscious Contact Podcast episode 42, Genay talked about her vision for the house they are building – she wants multiple trees in her house. My sister does the same thing. The idea of cleaning up pine needles from more than one location in our home is not SusPro for me. 

Did you catch that part? For me. Sure you probably share your space with someone else at least part of the holiday season. But starting with where you are, identifying what is and is not working, then making adjustments will get you the SusPro holiday decorating experience you deserve. 

This time of year is hectic enough without adding to it yourself. Make holiday decorating work for you instead of it driving you to want to escape the whole season.

Sustainable You Questions

  1. What can I physically manage?
  2. What do I have time for?
  3. What sights, sounds, smells, etc. bring the mood I am going for?

If this weekly essay resonated with you, please share it with a friend. I am trying to grow Sustainable Sue and spread the ideas of Sustainable Productivity. The best way to do that is for you to share with someone you know. I am ever grateful.

By |2022-11-29T07:27:08-05:00November 29th, 2022|Sustainable Productivity|0 Comments

Mother’s Day

As a childless step-mother, this day can be wrapped up in all kinds of emotion for me. For all kinds of reasons, all kind of women and girls have all kinds of feelings about this day. This is a day that Congress set up and Hallmark ran with to inflate our expectations and their profit margin.

Mother’s Day can be a reminder of difficult relationships with our mothers. Mother’s Day can be a reminder of moms who have died. If we have children who have died, that is another layer of pain to sort through.

Like many women, I buy into the expectations that society and culture have set up. Ours is a blended family and we share time with the kids so I usually will see the kids on Mother’s Day. This is where my expectations run off with the day. Flowers? Cards? Handmade gifts? A grunted, “Hey” as they head straight to their room from the car? Oh, a girl can dream.

But here is the thing about expectations. An expectation is a pre-meditated resentment. If we expect something, it needs to be communicated. Then if the other party agrees, we have an agreement. Someone breaking an agreement is very different from someone not meeting our expectation. If we do not ever communicate that expectation, it is on us.

We cannot resent someone for not giving us what we never told them we wanted.

So let’s forget other people for a second. If we cannot ignore this dumb thing Congress has done and just make the second Sunday in May another day, my suggestion is for us to focus on the place inside of us that is nurturing and needs to be nurtured. Let’s mother ourselves and celebrate the mother that we are.

A friend of mine posted to Facebook that someone wished her happy Mother’s Day when she had no kids with her, asking her Facebook followers if she looked that bad. Girl, stop talking bad about yourself, first of all. Second, I would like to suggest that you received these well wishes because that person recognized every woman is a mother.

But even if we did not give birth, even if we married into having children, even if our children have gills, fur, or 4 legs – even if we are responsible to no one but ourselves – we are still mothering. We mother our friends. We nurture siblings. We care take at work. It is time we acknowledge those expectations we gave voice to. Acknowledge them to ourselves. We want to be seen so open your eyes and listen to what your heart and gut are asking of you. Forget other people. Take this day to give yourself what you need – is it a nap in the hammock in the woods? Is it a day in bed with a book or Netflix and your furry 4-legged friends? Is it time with your kids? Is it time not with your kids?

Check in with your gut and if you cannot make it happen today, write it down to start planning next March so you can make Mother’s Day what you need, not what we are told we need. Be gentle with yourself and each other today, friends.

By |2019-05-12T08:53:49-04:00May 12th, 2019|Mental Well-being|1 Comment


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