Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Holiday Stress... Alas, I'm NOT Martha Stewart

Okay, so I promised myself that this week I was going to make an effort to get real on this ole' blog. Not that I haven't been "real" but I wanted to blog so that I could write down what I'm thinking about and my opinions. This is my tiny place to get real in a world so caught up in being politically correct and outwardly inclusive of everyone that I get overwhelmed. If this doesn't interest you, then don't read it thankyouverymuch.

Today, I want to write a little bit about the terrible, ulcer inducing stress that I personally feel around the holidays each year. This is in an attempt to find ways to be more at peace around the holidays and not pass the internal pressures I've felt for so many years on to my sweet daughter. I haven't felt real enjoyment during the holidays since I was school-aged. :( There has to be a better way.

I've grown up with the giving of holiday gifts being thought of as an overwhelmingly super important expression of love. That is a lot of pressure. If you haven't put enough prep and thought into each of your gifts, it can seriously cause disappointment and bad feelings with other family members through the next year. I would love to de-emphasize the importance of gifting family and find better ways to show each other how much we CARE AND LOVE THEM. It's not worth five months of shopping (stress and stomach aches) to find the illusive "perfect" gifts. Maybe Dr. Suess had it right and we all just need a little resfresher.... "And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?"  -- How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 1957

I'm pledging to family that I will simplify shopping this year AND learn to make a list of what we actually will give each person/couple then STICK TO IT. I will not (for the first time in years) spend weeks second guessing each choice. I will shop no later than the after Thanksgiving day sales and then we will wrap everything up and be done DONE. That will help reduce the "pressure to be perfect." By just not second guessing everything this year, it will be a huge improvement. I will still spend time wrapping and embellishing the gifts, channeling Martha Stewart herself, but I won't get too crazy and over the top like I have in the past.

My sweet friend C came by yesterday to chat about this subject and she did an amazing job of making me feel less like an island in terms of my personal holiday stress. She opened my eyes to the fact that there are many different things that people feel stress about related to the holidays that I luckily haven't had issues with but I'm so not alone and that's nice to know. You may feel stress about hosting a large group each year or you may have a difficult time dealing with the family interactions that come with the holidays. If you've dealt with serious stress about the holidays and found great methods to cope, please take a few moments to email me. I would love to compile some (anonymous) real life scenarios on how to cope and improve your holiday cheer quotient through stress reduction in a future post to help anyone who may be looking for better ways to deal.

I'm thinking that it might be nice to have some holiday yoga sessions with friends or family beginning at Thanksgiving and going through the holidays. Is it wrong to give a gift like that to myself? In my mind, it would be amazing to have a spa treatment and yoga session with special people instead of exchanging presents. I could certainly use the opportunity to relax and slow down mentally. If that sounds interesting, please let me know. ;)

IN THE END. We want Hadley to really love giving gifts to each family member without stressing/feeling overwhelmed/not enjoying actually getting to be with everyone. I don't think that we can do that until I can break the cycle of stress and pressure that I've felt for so long. Thank goodness I have Jim because for real, the guy is so thoughtful year round with everyone that he will be a huge part of making things better. I actually was thinking that maybe we could do some homemade/D.I.Y. gifts this year with Hadley's help in order to "up" the personalized and thoughtful quotient in our favor... Pinterest ideas are already being pinned!

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