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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Holiday Musings

I have a question that begs to be answered. Why are we all so hard on ourselves at this time of year?
Heck. I am hard on myself most of the year but during the holiday rush I become almost frantic. So, this year, I have declared a cease fire. We expect so much of ourselves, often too much, and things that were once joy filled, can now cause us stress and headaches. I think it is time we all treat ourselves as we would others. With more kindness and understanding. I began thinking about this last year and now, at that ripe old age of 50, have decided to make it a reality. I am no longer going to beat myself up if I forget something. I will not bang my head against the wall if the cards do not get mailed this week. I will not have myself blindfolded & shot if we eat out more often that anyone else thinks we should. At least the kids eat! Keeping it all in perspective here folks...there are mothers in many parts of this country and the world that get up each morning wondering IF they can feed their children, not stressing over whether they go out to restaurants a bit too often. I will not knock myself if the tree is lopsided or if some of the decorations are not placed "perfectly". It is the joy in watching your children (and husband) hanging them. Even in seeing your cat or dog UNhanging them. They are part of the family too! I will not allow myself to be put in stocks if the presents are not wrapped like small, elegant works of art. IF they get wrapped at all. Okay, they WILL get wrapped but... I will not spend a week in solitary confinement if more of the cookies we eat were purchased at a bake sale or gifts from neighbors than ones we make ourselves. They still taste great! I will make cookies with my daughter after Daddy returns. It is always nicer to do it as a family. I have the ingredients at the ready. We will make our peppermint bark for the cookie exchange and I will be thrilled to have loads of other tasty treats that I did not have to make myself! And, in a pinch, most groceries have wonderful bakeries... Just remember, as you are buying your gifts, there are so many people who can not do what you are out doing. The stores may be crowded and some of those in the crowd may be surly but be grateful you can BE out among them. I know a woman who would love to be out at the mall fighting the crowds. Surly or otherwise. Don't stress about the amount you have or do not have to spend. Those that truly care about you do not give a fig about that. We would rather have a poem, a picture, something get the idea. It is about the HEART that goes into the gift, not the CASH. Now, take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Feel better? Each year, just about this time, I have the same dream. It is December 24th and I have not purchased a single present. No cards are bought or made. No decorations are out. The house needs a good cleaning. The refrigerator and pantry lack the holiday goodies that we all love. There is more than enough food, just not the traditional goodies. But you know what? Christmas comes anyway. I may start sounding like a favorite Dr. Seuss book at any comes without packages, ribbons and bows. It comes without peppermints, chocolate and snow. It comes without trees, decorations and cards. It comes without tinsel and lights in the yard. The house does not have to be perfect. You have a roof over your head. The cookies are allowed to be burnt on the edges. You have a kitchen, an oven and the money to buy baking goodies. The malls may be crowded but you have some money to shop and the physical ability to be there. Rejoice! Even when your feet and back hurt. Do not stress if your house has only a candle in each window & a small tree and your next door neighbor's home looks like a La Guardia International landing strip. Viva la Difference!

Uh huh. The magic that is theTRUE meaning of Christmas will arrive no matter what we do or do not finish. Relax. It will all come together.


Valerie said...

amen, girlie...amen. it's so hard to remember that, especially when we're stressing ourselves out over if we've bought enough, if we've done enough and feeling like none of it is enough.

Jen said...

I think it's just a higher stressful time of the year, although I too am hard on myself.

Coleen said...

I was getting stressed out after reading that. For me to think of having nothing done at this point would sent me into a state of panic. Then I was thinking on the flip side. Isn't it crazy that many of us are planning and creating as early and October? Just today I marked my master calander with the suggested dates start thinking about my color scheme and layout for next years Christmas card supplies and to begin shopping for them. The date I worte that was June. Then I moved ahead one month and marked to begin the assembly process. Never has that really struck me as odd until now. The lesson I have just learned from your post is that regardless of when or if I even do it, Christmas will still come and the meaning of Christmas is still the most important.

Thanks for that.

Jolene George said...

That is exactly how I feel about the holidays. Thanks for putting it in words.

Andi said...

Beautifully said and so very very true!

I am longing for some of your Peppermint Bark sounds so yummy!!!