I’ve been getting up early and going to bed late, rushing here and there, trying to finish everything necessary to make this a great Christmas. I overextended myself in November, so I’m a month behind on everything including making crafts, baking cookies, decorating the tree and the house, and shipping off packages still waiting to be filled with gifts. Not to mention the Christmas cards that need personalized notes (plus addressing and mailing out). I even had to cancel my volunteer day this week – just no time. I am, in fact, doing exactly what I promised myself I would not do again this year.
I wanted this Christmastime to be less stressful and more joy-filled than previous years. To follow a plan, check things off lists, and put my feet up the week before the red-suited plump guy slides down the chimney, and sigh contentedly that life is good.
Today, in the middle of all this craziness – and my broken dream of a perfectly planned and executed holiday – I remembered why I like Christmas. It’s not dragging out the decorations and the lights, or the annual five-pound weight gain, or the hours of shopping and stressing over the right gift. But I love the twinkling lights that make the world glow like a fairyland. I love sharing and eating holiday goodies. And I love giving gifts and celebrating the reason for the season: the birth of Jesus. All these things, plus the feeling that everyone seems jollier this time of year, add up to why I like Christmas so much.
There’s one more thing I remembered today. Life is good. Very good, despite the self-imposed craziness. I’m blessed beyond measure. I have a loving husband and children, friends who care about me, a soft bed and a warm house, and plenty to eat. And too many more blessings to count.
And so this blog post is getting out late as I’ve attempted to uncrazify my day. Christmas isn’t what makes me rush around trying to get things done – it’s my own expectations and what I think others expect from me.
I can still enjoy Christmas if I let go of a few things on my unfinished to-do list. If I slow down and focus on what I want the next twelve days of December to be like, I will have the best gifts anyone could ask for, or give – joy and peace, and time spent with friends and family.
How are you handling holiday stress?