When I was a kid I loved December. It meant pretty lights and good cheer, presents… and more presents because it also meant my birthday. I kinda hated that my birthday always had to get lost in the Christmas celebrations, but I still really enjoyed the season.
When I became a Mom that all changed and I can’t help but dread December these days. It’s just too much damn mandated celebration at once. We start the month… right after Thanksgiving mind you… with our Anniversary. I have to admit that this is usually very nice. It did take several days of schedule rearranging to carve out some time for us, but we did it. By then I’m already worrying about how I’m gonna get what we need for Hanukkah and Christmas and birthdays though. As if two holidays aren’t enough, I married a man who also has a birthday in December. The stress starts mounting, and it’s hard to relax and enjoy the day.
Hanukkah isn’t too bad and can happen while normal life continues, but there are presents and candles and gelt and sometimes a party or two. Christmas is a tradition I decided I couldn’t not celebrate when we got married. I’m not a believer, but I couldn’t give up the tree and everything that went with it. Now I wish I had never started with the whole crazy thing. I mean, each little thing is no big deal (stocking stuffers, personal presents, Santa presents, etc.), but I spend most of December worrying if I have enough gifts, if we are going to get the tree up, if I filled the Advent calendar, and if I can get my baking done in time for the extra parties and celebrations we need to go too. Also, the house needs to be cleaned before our Christmas/New Years guests arrive (still not done). Cards… forget it.
I get to do all of this while also continuing to shuffle the kids around to their classes and getting them to do their schoolwork, and shopping and cooking as usual. Birthday!? Bah humbug. Don’t make me celebrate any more please. I haven’t exercised in days and I’ve had way too many sweets and the scale shows it. Also, I’m supposed to be happy about being a year older?! Somewhere around 35 another year became a cause for mourning, not a celebration in my head. Again…Bah Humbug.
I should be counting my blessings though, right? Now that I got all of that complaining out of my system I think I can do that. Here goes…
I get to see my extended family, people I love but don’t see most of the year. They all come to see me and I don’t have to go anywhere. Pretty cool, right? I’m sick of driving.
Right now my immediate family is downstairs making me a birthday breakfast. I’m often so frustrated with my daughter, but I love her so, and I love that she wants to do so many things for me, even if I don’t really want a cake or a yarn bracelet and I’m always cleaning up her creative messes.
I’ll get a big hug from my son, which will be worth 50 gifts. I’ll also probably get a lovely dinner out from my husband.
I’m thankful that I don’t have to worry about how we are going to buy gifts. My husband has a good job and for that I am very thankful.
Everyone in our house is mostly healthy, and for that I am particularly thankful.
If I could hire another me to do all of that holiday froohaahaa I would. Then I could really enjoy the season again. Maybe after today I’ll have some time to catch up on things and not feel so stressed. It’s the particular curse of the Mom (or other responsible adult) in America to be caught in this holiday tradition treadmill. It’s just particularly bad for me with all of the extra stuff thrown in.
I need to rant every now and then, but I know I am blessed.
How do you survive this season? Are there things you do to save time? Are you so good that you get your shopping done in November? I’d be interested in hearing your ideas.