November 26, 2019

i have thoughts about christmas

Hello my holiday warriors. I didn't really have any photos to accompany this post, so behold the Paris Opera House! One of our absolute favorite places we saw during our recent Paris trip.

I'm writing this post two days before Thanksgiving, which is a holiday that delighted me when I was 5 years old and was watching 'Charlie Brown Thanksgiving', and then it also delighted me in high school when we got pumpkin pie at lunch time at my school. But it honestly hasn't really delighted me since. I have always, always viewed it as an annoying speed bump between Halloween and Christmas. Also, I'll not get too far afield into politics, but I have a really hard time with what Thanksgiving represents for Native Americans.

ANYWAY. I was remarking on Instagram the other day that I had completed most of my Christmas decorating, aside from the tree, and for the first time IN MY ADULT LIFE, I've completed 99.9% of my holiday gift accumulation. A friend asked me, "PLEASE DESCRIBE IN DETAIL how you did this."

I have a few thoughts to pass on, but I'll say right now, I can't really say anything better than what's been said in this post, and also in this one.

In the past few years, it dawned on me more and more that holidays are almost, from what I can see, nearly 100% in the mom figure's wheelhouse/responsibility. Working mom, stay at home working mom, any kind of mom, pretend mom, just a lady person in general -- holiday stress/work/management/making it all happen - happens to the mom person.

I was starting to dread and hate December, and the seemingly impossible workload. Make all the food. Make the regular food AND the holiday food. Do all the normal living tasks AND do all the holiday stuff. Have 25 small children on your holiday list? (yes this happened to us one year) It was me who had to figure all of that out. I felt like Christmas was a cosmic test of endurance at which I was receiving a failing grade each year. Send out holiday cards! Decorate the house! Undecorate the house! Wrap! Clean! Make! Do! Socialize! DO ALL THE THINGS!

My nervous system, which is like a small hummingbird, just couldn't handle it.

Now the thing is, I LOVE Christmas. I like all the Christmassy things. The day I don't have some sort of Christmas tree is the day that I am no longer alive on this earth. But I didn't like all the stress, and I didn't want to mimic what I saw my mother do - she would often make one enormous holiday meal on Christmas Eve, then another on Christmas Day, and then ANOTHER a week later on New Year's Eve. It was insanity.

So each year, I try to streamline and do a little less. Last year we actually did a LOT less, because my daughter was in a professional theater production of 'Annie' in Seattle, and our entire holiday season was spent driving to and from FORTY TWO SHOWS.

This year, I decorated the house the week before Thanksgiving, and my husband made some 'why' noises, and my daughter sort of grumbled, but then they were all very happy when the house began looking festive. And what I wasn't planning on, was the UTTER RELIEF I felt at having that part done.

Because of our trip to Paris, I knew I had to be a BOOK BOX WARRIOR and get the boxes done before December 1, and I just sort of had that mindset about Christmas as well - I began Christmas gift shopping in October, because I had jet lag at 4am, and hung out on Amazon.

The other thing that just magically happened, I wasn't looking for it, was that I just got lucky, and I seriously found some darling things that would work for multiple people, so I bought the same items in triplicate, or quadruplicate, and basically I'm giving people various mixups of tea, socks, soap, chocolate, and candles. That's what I like to give, (funny those things frequently appear in my boxes too lol) and the only people who are getting something different are my kid and my husband. Pharmaca, Trader Joe's, and Cost Plus, are all my go-to holiday shopping arenas, and Trader Joe's in particular really came through for me this year - they had darling felt ball trivets, and I got them for seriously everyone.

I aggressively gave thought to gifts in November, and lo and behold - I'm basically done, and now I can watch holiday movies and bake, which is what I really like doing during holiday time.

Also - I'm not sending holiday cards. I'm just giving myself a pass, and I'm just not doing it.

I have a few more things to order on Cyber Monday (I love Cyber Monday so much), and a trip to the camera store to get some photos printed, and then I'm seriously done with gifts. I'll tell you what to avoid. CALENDARS. Omg, I've done them in the past, and they are the biggest trips to insanity-ville. Several years in a row I made them for the grandparents. NO MORE CALENDARS. Wayyyyyy too much work.

So this was a whole lot of ramble, and I just want to let you all know - give yourself the gift of mental health this holiday season, in whatever healthy and happy form that entails. Life is too short and no one is keeping a score card. You deserve to have a fun time.

Kisses. Hugs.

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