I think it must be impossible to pass through the holiday season emotionally unscathed. If you know someone who stays 100% happy, excited, and serene, let me know who that is. I demand an in-depth interview and want to know all of their secrets. For the rest of us, the pressure is pretty intense. People get pissed off about shopping. People get pissed off about the traffic surrounding the shopping, ensuring that “normal” errands become that much more difficult to navigate. People get panicked about money. People feel pressured to send cards, to connect. People feel lonely, missing those that aren’t around for whatever reason. People want to experience as much as possible.
That last one is my biggest one, although I must agree the others strike occasionally.
I’ve been focusing a whole lot on what we haven’t been able to do or the places we haven’t been able to go: the zoo, riding around at night to see lights, parades, other random local holiday happenings. The thing is, I AM MAKING MYSELF CRAZY. My kids are fine. They’re having a ball. They’re enjoying the Xmas tree in the house. Felix has enjoyed noshing on wrapping paper he manages to snag when I’m trying to wrap presents. Stella is “fancy” in her different Xmas dresses, dreaming about the Cinderella doll she thinks Santa might bring (don’t ask me WTF that’s about. That one is kind of out of left field.). Even the cats are festive, chewing the ribbons off the packages and then giving them back as these sparkling bundles of cat puke filled with ribbon concretions.
It’s not me so much that wants to go to the parade. I hate crowds. And while I enjoy looking at Xmas lights and decorations, I hate driving around at night. The old lady in me comes out, I suppose. I guess I just want to see my kids see this stuff.
Is every gift I got going to be “perfect” and appreciated? Probably not. Will my kids even remember what Santa brings this Xmas morning? Probably not. Will my holiday table be full of gourmet fare, worthy of HGTV or Food Network? Absolutely not. Does that mean that it’s not going to be a good, memorable Xmas? Probably not. Definitely not.
So it’s time to check my holiday vision and put new lenses in my holiday goggles. Xmas morning will be a blast, one way or another. We will bake Xmas cookies on Xmas eve day. They will be splendidly ugly. Maybe even uglier than last year. Now THAT is a worthy aspiration.
My kids will feel loved and hopefully begin to knit their own holiday memories – the primordial ooze of their own future Xmas nostalgia. I guess at the end of the season, that’s what it’s all about for me.