Substance is the stuff of something. It’s the opposite of shallowness or superficiality. And Christmas is no time to be shallow or superficial. So go for substance. Choose to be heartfelt and to do things meaningfully. This doesn’t mean that everything will go the way we hope or plan, but we can still hope and plan. And then if and when there are bumps in the road, we can navigate as needed. With children in the mix, we might not have all of our preferences fulfilled (things break, spill, get messy, and require oversight—so as much as we like “nice,” it might not be practical right now). But we can still enjoy the season, and we can still communicate all the specialness of the holidays through our words and demeanor.
The stuff of Christmas is love—and we can show our family love by the way we smile when we are around them, the way we do thoughtful things for them, the way we model healthy and constructive habits, and in our willingness to do it all over again day after day. The holiday season is no exception—but if anything, it’s a time when we do this all the more. And by the time we add in the extra baking and cooking and preparations and traditions we do, we have met that objective! By having a can-do attitude, we qualify for being people who value substance over show—and sometimes the “show” part happens wonderfully as a natural result of going for substance from the beginning.