Is it even possible to not be stressed around the holidays? Ever year I vow to do less and less, but it never seems to happen. I’m not sure how I get through it every year, but somehow I do. I always expected it to get easier when my kids got older. Now that they’re older, I realize that it’s just as difficult. It seems like everything happens during these last three weeks in December:
Employees want time off from work, making everyone else’s job more difficult.
People need to travel – lots of people. So let’s add some more stress to the holidays by traveling.
Semesters are ending in school and finals are approaching.
Gifts need to be purchased and wrapped. (Let’s not forget trying to come up with the “right” gift for everyone.)
Cookies need to be baked and special meals/food need to be made.
Family gatherings need to be planned.
Snow will likely fall and complicate everything, especially travel.
On top of all of this, we still have to go about our normal routines – work, school, after school activities, housework, prior commitments, etc. Sure, there are magical holiday moments that make it all worth it. Why else would we do it? But there comes a point when enough is enough. The holiday season is meant to be a time when loved ones get together and celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. The chaos of the shopping and the baking and putting up outside lights is just extra. And that’s all it is.
Part of it too is learning how to say no and/or lower your own expectations on how your holiday will be. Your holidays don’t have to have immaculate displays of decorations, perfectly baked cookies, or crisply wrapped gifts. To be fair, I think I need to slow down and accept the fact that my holiday doesn’t have to be perfect. What I should do is enjoy the anticipation of the gatherings, find out the parts of the routine that I want to do and do those instead. Why not create new traditions? Every year doesn’t have to be the same. Do as little as you want and focus on its meaning.
I have a magnet on my refrigerator that says “As long as we have wine, the holidays will be fine.” That just kind of sums up how my holidays are. That’s why I need to change my expectations and learn to say “enough.”
How hectic are your holidays? Let me know in the comments.
Happy (stress-free) Travels!