The lyrics to “Deck the Halls” may say ‘Tis the season to be jolly – but to me, it’s more like ‘Tis the season to be stressed! I don’t know why, but I always feel so rushed this time of year, like everyone is on some mad dash to get to thru the holiday and onto the New Year.
For me it all started with Thanksgiving, which happened to fall late this year which meant that there was one less weekend for holiday shopping. The Hubs and I watched the insanity on TV of all the crowds of people who went out shopping for presents that holiday night. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bargain and I’m not one to pass up a sale, but there is no way I would ever push back from a tasty Thanksgiving meal to battle an unruly mob in order to be the first person to get an Xbox One, iPad Mini, slippers/PJs or a Furby at my local big box store.
The day after Thanksgiving in our neighborhood there was an unofficial race to see who would be the first house to get all their holiday lights hung, decorations out on the lawn and their Christmas trees trimmed. While some have tastefully decked the halls, others look like a fully lighted landing strips filled with LED peacocks and giraffes along with inflatable reindeer, Grinches or Santas on motorcycles, helicopters and tractors. I think we come somewhere in the middle – we hung some icicle lights off our front porch and just a few select lighted lawn decorations.
The kidlets made their holiday list and checked it twice in order to add-on a few more things they think that Santa should bring them. In fact, yesterday my son discovered a new toy circular that arrived in the mail and wanted to add one more item to his list. I told him that Santa’s deadline for lists was last week! The kidlets don’t get everything on their list – just a few things that they really want and have been talking about for months. I’m always amazed at how expensive a little plastic toy or doll can be and how hard they can be to find in stock!
I’m checking my list – but it’s only to make sure that I’ve got everyone else taken care of – family, nanny, teachers, boss, co-workers, friends, Secret Santas, mailman, tutors, dog walker, activities instructors/coaches, etc. There are so many people that we appreciate and want to show our great thanks. Every year the list gets longer and longer. It apparently doesn’t take a village to raise a family & have a career these days, it takes a whole darn army!
It’s also been holiday luncheons and parties galore. There’s been one just about everyday for me this past week. Food and drink are my favorite ways to celebrate, but one more festive meal and I’m going have a bowl full of jelly for a belly just like Santa Claus and burst out of my clothes. I’m also afraid that even just one more aperitif will give me a permanent hangover!
I still need to get our house ready for all the visitors we’ll have with us this holiday. I truly love having family spend time and stay with us, but I hate all the preparation that goes in beforehand. Where will they sleep? Do we still have an air mattress? It’s been a year since we’ve used it, so we better blow it up and make sure it still works. Where did I store those sheets for the bed? What about pillows and blankets? Are my bath towels presentable or do I need to go out and buy new ones? I wonder what they’ll want for breakfast and what I should stock in the fridge? The list of questions in my head are innumerable and for every one question I answer or task I take care of, I find myself with four new ones!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sad or depressed about the holiday season, which I know happens to some people this time of year. I’m sincerely grateful for this holiday season and all the blessings I have in my life. If these are my “problems,” then life is pretty good.
It’s just a struggle sometimes to manage all the holiday commitments along with the usual balancing act of work and family life. I’m sure I’m not alone in putting undue stress on themselves between all the shopping, time, financial concerns, social demands and overindulgence and the quest for everything to be perfect this holiday season.
So I determined myself this holiday to focus less on the stress and more on the festive fun and the true meaning of the season. That meant a trip to our local police station with the kidlets to drop off a bunch of new toys that they picked out for others and taking part in some food drives at the local food pantry this past weekend. That’s what this season is all about giving the gift of joy, happiness and hope to others, not about the stress the season!
Now it’s your turn to share. What’s your favorite part of the holidays?
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