Its the most wonderful time of the year…..well, it can be, I guess….
Honestly, this is a tough time of year for me, and for a lot of people. We get caught up in the traditions, the busyness and the expectations and it can be stressful. Each year I feel like I need to take in as much air as possible and hold on to it through till the end of the year. First there is planning, then decorating, shopping online and in person, next is baking for little gifts and just in case someone comes over for a visit, wrapping said gifts so they look extra special and then there is cooking – sometimes for more people than any other time of the year. All of this is extra – over and above the usual cooking and cleaning and errands. Oh, and the concerts and the Christmas cards and all the money that every single thing costs.
Suddenly the most wonderful time of the year is the most stressful, expensive, time consuming time of the year.
And what about your marriage? What if one of you came from a family that considered Christmas as a time of extravagance, and the others’ family saw it as a time of religious reflection? So often it seems that one family expects to have everyone re-create their annual Christmas morning traditions while the other struggles to remember ever having any traditions. Then when you add children in to the mix it can get really confusing; is Santa bringing gifts? Where does Jesus fit into this? How much is too much? How much is too little? Combining two households and their traditions and viewpoints can make Christmas difficult in the strongest of marriages. You can find yourselves falling into bed way too late on Christmas Eve, feeling exhausted and distant from the one you love most.
We aren’t great at all of this, we’ve had years to sort it out and come up with our own traditions….just in time to start bringing more people into the family in the future, and make all kinds of changes again. For years I did all of the extra work the holidays demanded, and would just end up resentful and tired. Now I share the burden more and my guy is happy to take it, we try to work as a team whenever we can. I would love to look back on the holiday season just once and agree that it was the most wonderful time of the year!
Don’t forget you can say ‘no’, even when they are family.