Monday, December 14, 2009

Sleigh Bells Ring....Are You Listening?

I sometimes wonder how Christmas, a one day celebration, has now become a month long event? Or, was it always this way?

Don't get me wrong, I love me some Christmas. Yet, it's always crazy stressful too. By the time Christmas day itself actually rolls around, I'm exhausted. My husband works long hours during this season, and that means that while he's bone tired and his legs are killing him and he's lost weight from "no time" to eat, I'm the one scrambling around doing EVERYTHING to make this one day "special." For everyone near and far.

I'm the one doing Christmas cards and shopping for gifts for family, friends, teachers, bus drivers, and who knows who else. I'm doing all of the wrapping. I'm making sure they have what they need for parties and school events. I'm mailing things out on time. It starts to feel less "fun" and "magical" and a little more like one more item on my To Do List that needs checking off, STAT.

On top of that, it's usually the wrap up for swimming and dance lessons and visiting and general running around. I try to stay cheerful and "merry and bright" but I have to admit-sometimes the pressure is high.

I talk to friends that are also feeling the crunch. It's not just the schedules and the baking and the shopping, it's the demand that we be happy and cheerful and joyous while doing it all. The reality is, the Christmas season can be burdensome for many. Parents want to make the day wonderful for their children, but often the stress of financial worries and family issues and the fact that we just can't do it ALL comes creeping in to mar that splendour.

I know I've been literally counting down the days that I'm finished "such and such" and can have one more demand off of my plate. That's horrible, isn't it? Real life, however, doesn't stop because Santa is coming.

This year, I've decided to enjoy the time even if it kills me. I'm sending cards, but I'm not crafting them or doing anything fancy. In fact, if you get one a little late, enjoy the fact that your cards are continuing into the New Year. (I have a friend that actually DOES send her cards, on purpose, in the New Year as opposed to Christmas cards! Oh, the horror! She said it removes that pressure, and she can really put more into them, and people enjoy getting a card into the New Year. She just might have something, there.) I'm not doing a ton of baking this year. I bought two huge buckets of cookie dough from the school, and I've made a few dozen cookies. I'm buying some, and I'm also going to enjoy the loaves my Mom made me, at my special request. (almond/dried apricot. To. Die.For) I'm not feeling pressured to give "so and so" a gift, or a card, because they gave me one. I'm not going crazy on spending for gifts either. I bought a few things as the months led up to this, and I'll add a few traditional gifts, and a few things the girls really wanted.

Even Christmas dinner this year is going to be laid back. We're joining our neighbours and their family-which means we'll only have to contribute to a meal as opposed to making the whole thing from scratch. We'll do a traditional tortiere dinner on Christmas Eve, and I think we'll have a special family dinner on the 27th, but again-the theme this year is low key.

I'm tired of the hustle and bustle. I want to enjoy my time, my family and my friends. The season is meant to be savoured and it's meant to bring peace and joy. It's not about commitments and time constraints and money and gifts. I've taken many things for granted over the years, and I have learned hard lessons. Life can change in a moment. What was, can be gone. I intend on slowing down a bit, and soaking in what IS, right now, at present.

In the quiet lights of the Christmas tree, with my family around me, I'm starting to focus on the real reason for the season and the meaning behind it all. I'll be capturing the moment in my head, to save for the days when things catch me off guard once again, and I'll be wearing a knowing smile.

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh...good to hear of somebody else not going full-force this Christmas. We've cut back on a lot of the "material things". Time to focus on family & enjoying time together. Now, if only the weather will cooperate for us to get to our family!! Enjoy your celebrations!