The most stressful - I mean wonderful time of the year!
Ahh the holidays, that time of year to get together with family you never see during the year and eat yourself until you want to puke. It is the time of year where some people stress about having to see said family and others stress about what they will buy for that person they never see but for some reason drew their name in the family name draw. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we cause ourselves the stress of making sure the holidays are perfect while we just feel like screaming? We do it for the memories others will gain from it. Well at least that is what we tell ourselves.
I used to LOVE the holidays! The tree up November 1st and decorated perfectly with white lights and bows. Nothing handmade by kids because they could have their own tree for that lol I had the nativity sets and the villages. It was magical. I loved it and everything about it! That is until my ex-husband decided to spoil that by ditching the children and I on New Year’s Eve day. Nothing like a good ditching to make the holidays amazing! Those years were super hard for me BUT I made sure that my children got memories, good ones too. I would make sure we baked all the cookies and that they would get the things they wanted (within reason) by starting to shop in the summer. Sometimes as the cheer giver, you look back and wonder how the hell you ever made it happen without jumping off a bridge or going grey at the age of 30. It wasn’t until the kids were almost 12,10, and 8 that I was able to get a new outlook on the holidays. I started to enjoy them a bit more and every year was a bit better.
Fast forward a couple decades, I am remarried and have 5 children with my husband and 3 grandchildren. Christmas is still just as stressful but in different ways. Now it is us who are trying to plan around the families our children have of their own and make sure that everyone still feels loved, wanted and included. I think that is the reason we always do the crazy planning,the impossible organizing and the stressing for the holidays because we don’t want any of our family to ever feel left out. This year because of many different reasons, my husband and I are most likely not going to be able to buy anything for our children. We already bought a few things for the grandkids and that is what really matters. The older kids have all been great about this news. Which makes us happier than anyone could realise because that means we have done a pretty good job (okay maybe an okay job) raising them. They have all shared the same sentiment, we are happy if we can all just hang out on Christmas. That is what is important. I think it hurts our egos more than theirs honestly. I know the holidays are going to be hard for many people this year too though. Prices for everything have increased and wages have stayed the same. I know that we aren’t the only family who is having to make choices like this.
How can you make a difference though for yourself, your family and for others though?
Make memories with your family by doing activities. For us we are having a day of baking! If one of the kids can’t make it that day, them and I will have our own day of baking together. For the kids it will be great, for me it will be stressful and tense BUT I will get through it. (I have never been a hey let’s bake together kind of person because it drives me crazy when they don’t know what they are doing or do it wrong lol I do know this will make them happy so I will do it. I will put a smile on and know that the cookies won’t be perfect and the icing will be - well the cookies will be iced.)
Try to organise a toy or food drive for your community. Our community has a food cupboard for those who need it and they have their own food drive the first weekend in December. I organise craft markets so I always have a food drive with it. This year and last year I also included a toy drive as well. You would be surprised at how many people are willing to help and be a part of it. Speak to your local store, post office, fire station or even church. As long as you are willing to organise it and collect everything for it, the place you host it will most likely be happy to help.
Go on a Christmas light walk. Just get out of the house. You don’t need to go far. Your own neighbourhood most likely has lights up and inflatables. Go walk around and see the holiday cheer that is out there and then go home and have hot cocoa. Watch an old Christmas movie or play games. Our little community started a very small Santa parade during covid. It was awesome! Nice and small. The best part is you just sit on your porch and they drive past. The kids love it!
While the holidays are very stressful for most people, they can also be very memorable (in a good way) too. Try to find some joy in it while you are stressing out trying to make everything perfect. It is the memories the kids will look back on rather than the items they received.