Friday, December 9, 2011

putting the merry in Christmas

Every year the stress arrives, and every year I retaliate in hopes of keeping my sanity. My husband claims that Christmas has become a women’s holiday. There’s more truth in this statement than I’d like to admit. More often than not it seems to be women who carry out the holiday tasks. We arrange gatherings with family and friends, decorate, bake, shop, exhaust ourselves all in hopes of creating the “perfect” holiday.

cutting down the tree
One of my husband’s holiday tasks is cutting down the Christmas tree for our living room. We pile into the SUV armed with a saw and a thermos full of hot chocolate.

I say this every year... I really need to step back and look at what’s most important. In doing this, I came up with a short list.

Quality over quantity. Less is more. Spending time with family and making memories is more important than spending money on gifts.

Stick with a few simple traditions you’ve already established. Don’t try to create new ones. This can lead to more and more obligations that you won’t be able to keep up with. Don’t give up the traditions you enjoy to make room for other people’s traditions.

Make lists. This could keep you from losing more sleep at night with extra details running through your head, which in turn will make you even more sleep deprived and irritable.

Shop online. If you do need to buy gifts, avoid crowded malls. Make shopping a more pleasant experience. Shop online in your p.j.’s with a cup of hot cocoa.

Don’t go into debt. Pay only cash for any gifts you buy. If you don’t have the cash to buy, don’t buy. There’s nothing worse than having bills arrive in January to start the new year off wrong.

Expectations. If you have them, lower them. Don’t expect that everyone at family gatherings will get along or chip in and help, or even show up for that matter.

Humor. Keep it intact!


Christmas is stressful, but for the most part, it’s self-imposed stress.

Here’s a little holiday humor... (an excerpt from an old Home Improvement episode)

Brad: (Brad wants to go skiing on Christmas Eve) But Mom, it’s perfect. I mean, I don’t have school and I can take your presents with me and open them there.

Jill: The family is always together on Christmas. We hang our stockings together. We talk to relatives on the phone. You have your new saxophone so you can play along while we sing carols and I’m going to make Nana’s special oyster pecan stuffing.

Brad: All I wanted to do was be with my friends. A lot of people I like are going to be down there.

Tim: Christmas is not about being with people you like. It’s about being with your family.


Merry Christmas!


Mary Ann said...

I know we were supposed to laugh at that episode, but I remember when my boys first started spending holidays with their friends (girlfriends) and stopped coming to our family gatherings... it was bittersweet for me.

happygirl said...

your tree is beautiful. I love the simplicity of your Christmas plans. Have a blessed Christmas time. :)

jazgal said...

THe traditions do seem to be shifting now that the kids are grown and out on their own, so we roll with whatever their schedules, and our budget, allow. The cats are very interested in our tree, so I may not do too much with decorations. :)

Good advice.

Cindy said...

Mary Ann, I too will be very sad if (when) my daughter no longer wants to attend our family gatherings. I can only hope the traditions we've established will be carried on in her own family one day.

Cindy said...

happygirl, I can dream about those simple plans... now to practice what I preach huh? I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season!

Cindy said...

jazgal, I'm sure our traditions will change through the years. We often talk about skipping all the hoopla (and stress) and flying to Hawaii or some other sunny spot. I hope your holidays are happy and relaxing!