Christmas is in eight days and the rush is on. I am so not ready! We have developed a lot of Christmas “traditions” over the years. Things that we’ve done once and everyone liked so much that we started doing them every year. Here is the short list: homemade cookies and candy, hand painted chocolate suckers, making gingerbread houses, treat plates for friends, secret santa, caroling, hand-made gifts, Christmas jammies and outfits, crafts, etc. Don’t forget to add school Christmas parties and programs and all the other activities our children participate in. Just thinking about it all can cause stress induced anxiety and an overwhelming desire to cancel Christmas. There is an additional factor this year that makes it even more stressful for us, I’ve been out of work for 17 months. I earned more money babysitting when I was 11 than I did this year.
Though I must admit I am farther ahead this year than I’ve been in the past. I would have to do nothing else for the next week to almost have the perfect Christmas. The question is, what would I have to give up? I decided that what I would give up is the holiday rush and the stress that comes with the “perfect Christmas”. Looking back on my life I have realized that my favorite Christmases where the ones where we were broke and the holiday was, of necessity, simple. Presents were sparse but carefully thought out and meaningful. Imagination, creativity, laughter and togetherness were the main focus in those lean years. Things that often get lost during prosperous years.
Christmas is not about things or how much we can cram into our already busy schedules. Christmas is about love, laughter, sharing, giving and remembering. While cannot realistically take all the stress out of the holiday, there are many things that we can NOT do that will increase our enjoyment. If a “tradition” causes more stress than enjoyment we have decided to retire it. Less is more as they say.
What do you do to destress your holidays? Please share. Maybe something you do can help someone else have a week be filled with the Christmas spirit.