The holidays can get pretty chaotic with all the gift exchanges and family parties to coordinate and attend. If you are not careful, you can easily lose the Christmas spirit by drowning in a pool of financial obligations and forced time commitments. If you only focus on stress and negativity, then that is what you will receive: a Mr. Grinch holiday season for your black heart.
Trust me. I have taken that route in the past and it is not pleasant. For several years, I absolutely dreaded Christmas. I felt obligated to buy presents with money I didn’t have in order to attend a dozen parties in a single day. Not Fun. On top of that, my birthday is December 15, ten days before Christmas. At times, I felt like I was burdening people by “making” them buy me a birthday AND Christmas present. Also, I had to celebrate my birthday on Christmas… opening birthday presents while other people opened Christmas presents. My birthday presents came wrapped in lovely red and green wrapping paper. I LOVE CELEBRATING MY BIRTHDAY ON CHRISTMAS. I love it so much that it makes me homicidal. So, watch out. Spoiled American girl coming through, hating the world for being born around the same time as Christ Jesus, our lord and savior. I should feel blessed… that I wasn’t born on the 25th.
So let me ask you about Christmas stress. IS IT WORTH IT? When I say Christmas stress, I mean EVERYTHING involved with the holiday season…
- Coordinating Thanksgiving potluck dishes
- Scheduling and attending Thanksgiving dinner around work
- Putting up Christmas tree and decorating house with lights, Santa, reindeer, snowmen, gingerbread houses, angels, fairies, walruses, cats…
- Drawing names for secret santa or other games
Figuring out who that person is and why you never knew they existed
- Coordinating Christmas potluck dishes for 500 parties.
- Christmas shopping for children and spouse, parents, siblings, extended family, name picks/games,
- Coordinating Christmas parties so you are able to attend at least half of them.
- Christmas morning with your spouse, children, and cats. Skip this if you are single, childless, and catless.
- Divorced Parents: Party at moms. Party at dads. Party at step mom’s family? Party at step dad’s family?
- In-Laws: You now have at least three more family parties to attend.
- Party for your third cousin’s boyfriend’s mom’s grandma’s side. What?
- Rescheduling my birthday around Jesus’ second birth. If I skipped church, I would only have to squeeze my birthday in between four Easter dinners.
- Making Christmas cookies, pies, candy, and popcorn.
- Visiting Santa Clause… And Santa Paws if you are that person.
- Getting family pictures taken or finding a picture with everyone in it to make Christmas cards.
- Spending hours finding addresses and never sending them
- Cooking potluck dishes for 500 parties and bringing the correct dish to each party.
- Christmas Eve: Going to one party for an hour. Rushing to the next and being two hours late. Skipping the third party altogether. Arriving at the fourth after dinner and after everyone already opened presents.
- Not forgetting to set out milk and cookies for Santa.
- Celebrating Christmas morning in pajamas before rushing to attend a dozen more parties all over the globe in less than two hours.
- Cleaning house and putting away gifts
- RECYCLING so you don’t feel guilty about filling up five thousand garbage cans with wrapping paper and cardboard boxes. Or maybe I’m the only one who feels guilty about being SO DAMN philanthropic to the landfill!
- Celebrating New Year’s Eve
- Celebrating New Year’s Day and my son’s FIRST birthday!
- My son has the “honor” of celebrating his birthday on New Year’s Day. I am taking advantage of this opportunity to spoil him and buy him the things he wanted but did not receive for Christmas. I won’t shop for his birthday until Christmas is over.
Again, is it really worth ALL. THAT. STRESS?
To put it simply, YES. Even after all those rants, Christmas is worth it.
For me, Christmas is about spending quality time with family, being thankful, and gift giving simply for the joy of it. You eat good food, drink good drinks, play some games, open presents, watch little kids’ eyes brighten with joy, and be merry.
However, it is important to set realistic holiday goals and know that you cannot please everyone every single year. Once I learned this and cut back on holiday parties, I was able to enjoy my time more. This year will be my best planned stretch of Christmas parties yet… It should be… I will only be missing three gatherings, while still being able to attend seven, including our own Christmas morning.
The most satisfying part of Christmas occurs directly after arriving at a party. You set the food and gifts down, pour a glass of wine, and relax. Be in the present moment with your family! This is why it is so crucial to minimize the amount of parties you have to attend. Every year, I have parties that I cannot relax at because I know I will have to leave the first party early (awkward) and arrive late at the second party (awkward). Not so much awkward though as it is stressful and uncomfortable.
No matter how organized or prepared you are for the holiday season, you are bound to run into stress. It happens. We have to continue raising children and attending work. Everyday life still goes on, but instead it happens with a rush of holiday pizzazz! All we can do is do our best to get through the madness, while simultaneously enjoying our favorite holiday traditions and spending time with family.
Just a quick reminder. TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY! I am 26 years old today. How cool is that? Sounds like a good number to me.
Good number = Good year
I just now won a book called Christine’s Christmas Countdown to help prepare for Christmas (next year) by planning three months ahead of time! What a strange coincidence seeming how I have NEVER won a rafflecopter giveaway before and I just spent my evening blogging about Christmas stress… So WEIRD but COOL! I love free books! Oh and lucky me, it’s my FIRST birthday present!
Christmas book for my birthday… clever one karma.