Several of us have been lamenting on our GeekMom writers’ discussion board about how much more hassled many of us seem to be this holiday season. We each have unique stories, which we’re courageously sharing with the web world this week, and I was glad to know I wasn’t the only one who was feeling more hassled than usual this year.
Our family has several traditions — some of which are from my family, some from my husband’s family, some we’ve made up since our sons came along. For for past decade or so, many of our traditions just fall into place every season. Even with military deployments (1997, 2003, 2008) making things a little more stressful than usual, somehow everything got done: the decorations, the cookies, the cards, the shopping! In 2010, our family moved from Nebraska to Florida over Thanksgiving, and we STILL got everything done!
We didn’t even think too hard about it — it was a pleasure to do it all, we looked forward to each tradition.
This year we have no deployments impeding our family, but my husband is still recovering from back surgery from late October. Yet, for some reason I seem to be missing the boat on the spirit of the holiday season and I’m getting all stressed out over “having to do” the traditions.
What’s wrong with me this year?
Instead of holiday giving and sharing that usually motivates our family, this year the motivation seems to be more like “it’s what we’ve always done, so we need to do it.”
For the first time in my memory, I had to come up with a holiday traditions “to do” list. I won’t present the whole list in detail, but it includes:
- making cards (sometimes homemade, sometimes photo cards, meaning we have to take a holiday photo)
- holiday newsletter
- visiting Santa
- gift shopping
- gift wrapping
- gift mailing
- kids’ Christmas pageant
- my husband’s office party (adult)
- my husband’s office party (for the kids)
- kids’ classroom Christmas parties
- viewing the lights in our neighborhood
- and going to church on Christmas Eve
For the first time in my memory, I’m really procrastinating, fitting in little bits of addressing cards, baking cookies and doing holiday crafts with the kids.
For the first time in my memory, I’ve been dreadful about the shopping. I used to try to be very creative. This year many folks are receiving the same gifts we had sent last year.
Does this mean it’s time for me to “load shed” a bit? Go back to basics?
Does this mean I’m a bad person for thinking this way? I’m feeling like many of these tasks are chores. Gift giving should be a pleasure, not a chore.
In part I certainly blame the media blitz that now starts right after Halloween! I’m very disappointed at how autumnal traditions were sort of swept under the rug, perhaps regarded by the retail industry as not lucrative enough. So let’s bypass November altogether, right?
Early Black Friday sales? Black Friday “preview” sales? Stores open on Thanksgiving Day? Consider how many families had to cut short spending time together because Dad/Mom/teenaged kids had to go to work Thursday night?
I wish I could just stand back and do a mental “reset” of our holiday traditions. I feel like too many people would wonder if I was terminally ill for not doing those usual things.
But in reality, I think most folks in my life would understand.