In less than a week, the holiday madness will begin. In my last post, I talked about how I was reclaiming my joy for Christmas. I’m trying really hard to stay present, but it’s a challenge. After much pondering, I have concluded that most of my holiday stress is derived from overbooking ourselves with holiday events.
It’s a challenge to fit in the Christmas Eve party hosted by my Dad’s big side of the family, seeing my husband’s dad and his sister’s family, my Mom’s side, and my husband’s mom and his sister’s family. Wait, I’m forgetting something. Oh, yes. That’s right – my own family!
After fitting in every single event, someone ends up crying. That someone is usually me. (As Donkey says in “Shrek the Halls,” “Mama always said, ‘Christmas ain’t Christmas until someone cried. Usually that someone was me.’”) I feel emotionally drained, and the kids become overtired which is frustrating when I worked so hard to create warm and fuzzy memories.
So I’ve had to make some difficult decisions in order to protect the space we’ve created for our own family traditions. I am opting out of some events this year and modifying others to make sure we enjoy ourselves.
This breaks my heart because I feel very strongly about the importance of honoring family traditions, but keeping the same rigorous schedule I had as a child and adding my husband’s family commitments is unrealistic.
And change is inevitable. People get married and have kids. Some people get divorced. Some people pass away. Others move away. When there is so much change occurs, I feel it is best to be flexible about rituals and put a priority on spending time together. Maybe it’s on the actual Christmas Day or maybe it’s a few days after. Maybe it’s over a big meal or perhaps it’s over Christmas cookies and coffee.
I really wish I could be everywhere and make everyone happy, but since that would be a Christmas miracle just short of the original one, I am going to focus on making sure I am creating happy memories for my kids.
How do you handle all of your holiday events? Do you run around like a chicken without its head? Have you had to say the forbidden word — “no?” I would love to hear how you manage your commitments.