This time of year is a blur of preparations for a holiday that has become so stressful for so many people that it almost isn’t a holiday any longer. It isn’t just because of the constant message to buy, buy, buy. It’s in the fighting, it’s in the simultaneous call to be inclusive (Happy Holidays) and to “keep Christ in Christmas”. It’s in the call to reject the consumerism and DO, DO, DO. It’s the Mommy Wars, the thousands of crafts, and cookies, and parties, and lights. The pull to do more, bigger, less, smaller, traditional, modern, and glitzy has become so damn chaotic that we’ve lost any meaning at all of what the ‘holidays’ are, whatever your particular belief or holiday.
If I didn’t love Christmas trees and the light in the kidlins’ eyes so much, I might just cancel the whole month. The chaos began months ago. We decided to go ‘home’ to the Northwest for Christmas this year. That meant taking time off work, doing a lot of work to the car in order to prep it for such a long drive, packing, and yes, shopping. (I happen to love giving gifts and since we buy virtually nothing any other time of year, this is when they get a LOT of their clothes and such). Yet I STILL felt the need to put up the tree at our house, which is currently 1300 miles away. I STILL felt the need to string popcorn and cranberries for the tree that no one is enjoying (and that I spent two weeks redirecting littles away from). I STILL felt the need to do all the crafts and baking we could so that we could get in those damn memories that honestly, I will look back on and smile but also still feel the stress that went along. It’s a long drive and I had a lot of time to think, and breathe.
Now that we are ‘on vacation’, I am feeling the pressure to see everyone we have ever spent time with in our entire lives. You remember John’s other uncle’s wife’s sister’s cat right? You should really spend some time with it, since you’re here and all.
No. No I shouldn’t. And I don’t need decorations, and I don’t need to push things that no one actually enjoys. I decided on our way that I wouldn’t feel guilty. Not this year. Not any other year, again.
I will say Happy Holidays AND Merry Christmas. Happy Solstice, Hannukah, Kwaanza and Snowflake Day too. I will buy gifts and not PLAN crafts. I will let them come naturally. I will enjoy them. I will breathe. I don’t need more days, or more time in the ones I have. I will take time out to do what I enjoy. Writing, spending time with my littles, enjoying my family. I will stop sacrificing my time to write for the petty things. I will say f it, and I will LIVE.
And look what happens:
They had fun. And so did I.