As a child, I remember Christmas being such an enchanting time of year that something as ordinary as snow seemed to sparkle. I fondly remember seeing Santa at our family Christmas party before he went to deliver the toys to the entire world. On Christmas morning, the presents just magically appeared under the gloriously lit tree. And I loved eating Christmas cookies before breakfast and playing with our new toys while visiting our cousins.
Everything seemed magical and effortless.
Now being a mom of two, Christmas can feel like an extra laborious time of year. It takes an extreme amount of planning to make the Christmas season appear to happen effortlessly. I liken it to being a producer. I make sure everyone has his/her wardrobe for each event. I make sure that the scenes are set with decorations, music, and food. I buy and wrap the presents. Not to mention, I tend to the emotional-driven task of coordinating dates for the various family parties.
It’s enough to suck the whimsy and fun out of the most wonderful time of the year.
This makes me feel sad, which is why this is the year I am reclaiming my Christmas joy. This year, I succumb to the fact that I cannot do everything I do as a mother/housekeeper/cook/taxi driver and find happiness during the Christmas season. This year I am taking some shortcuts so I don’t fall asleep a quarter of the way through my favorite Christmas movie of all time, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
If that means I buy the precooked grilled chicken strips to put in my pasta instead of baking it myself, so be it. Maybe we have soup and sandwiches for dinner instead making a huge meal (and cleaning it up) so we have time to make Christmas cookies together as a family. I am also giving myself permission to quick clean the bathrooms with disinfectant wipes and some Windex so I can, I don’t know, take a breath and do nothing.
And if that doesn’t work, then it’s time to play my Christmas tunes a little louder because as Buddy the Elf wisely claims, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”
True, these shortcuts don’t take away the stress of family get-togethers (possible topic for my next post?), but I am trying to keep the Christmas twinkle in my eye and hold tight to the magic of the season — with one shortcut and Christmas carol at a time.
How do you handle holiday stress?