Musings from Home

Peace

 As you know, I started my Christmas shopping early this year. I thought that if I finished everything early, I would relax and enjoy the season. Christmas is my favorite time of the year, but in recent years, I have been so busy and stressed. The last couple of years, the season has passed by me in such a rushed, stressful blur that I haven’t really had (or taken) the chance to really enjoy it.

I was sure this year was going to be different. I no longer have a work schedule that takes up all my time when I’m not actively engaged with the kids (which seemed to always get busier over the holidays). I started (and finished) shopping early. I started wrapping gifts early (and storing them on — you guessed it — the dining room table). Sapphire and I bought our tree (our prettiest yet) the other day. We are all set to decorate it and the entire house this weekend. The gifts for out-of-town relatives who won’t make it to our house this year are wrapped and boxed up to be mailed today — a full week before I normally do it.

It’s only December 7th, 18 full days before Christmas. I am in great shape. So why do I feel like I’m running out of time? There’s still the decorating to do. I still have wrapping to finish. I haven’t planned out our holiday meal or reserved the cut of meat. I haven’t had the kids make their crafts for their teachers (which have to go to school next week in Sapphire’s case and the week after in Emerald’s). I haven’t sent out Christmas cards (although I do have them. All I have to do is print out labels, put stamps on them, and mail them — another thing for this weekend). And the list goes on.

Today I started reflecting on why I’m so stressed and starting to feel grumpy. [Yes, I said grumpy at this time of the year. Shameful! This is the time of the year that I’m usually my most cheerful.] As I  thought about it, I started to wonder if part of my problem is that I did start so early. I started before the Christmas season really began, before the spirit could envelop me as I shopped. I also ordered most of the gifts online (as I have for the last several years) so I’ve missed out on the holiday decor and music as I perused the aisles. I also hadn’t yet turned on the Christmas music in my house (until yesterday). I always wrap presents and trim the tree with Christmas carols blaring in the background.

As I tried to figure all this out and talk myself into being more in the spirit, a friend of mine posted this video on Facebook and on her blog.

That did the trick. I definitely needed a Silent Night/Holy Night and to remember what the season is all about. I could feel the tension seep out of me as I watched this. Thanks, Ali! My plan is now to watch it every day until Christmas.

I’d love to hear what you do to keep yourself in the mood of the season at this time of year and all the year through.

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Comments on: "Peace" (2)

  1. I’m with you, AM. When you try to take away the reason for the season (however that manifests for you) there will always be a nagging feeling that something is not right, that something is missing. Gratitude and a few moments of silent contemplation usually do the trick to bring one back to a state of wholeness and grace. Earlier this year I became aware that I had begun complaining whenever I had to go grocery shopping or leave the sanctity of my nest/home to run some other mundane errand. This despite the fact that I am well aware of all the hungry and homeless and lonely people around the world, as well as in my own neighborhood. Now whenever I am driving down the lane that leads to the country road that eventually leads to the small town nearby, I say aloud “Thank you God that I am able to leave my home and obtain products and services for my family.” I remembered all the miracles that are inherent in such a simple action that I had been so callously taking for granted. I am mobile. I have a car that works. I have money for food, for medicine, for vet care, for a gym membership, etc. Most importantly, I have a loving spouse to eat that food with.

  2. Like you, I work in advance — usually starting my shopping in September and having the bulk of it done by Thanksgiving.

    I ordered our cards a month ago and, while I’m still working on mailing them out, I know I’ll have them done soon enough.

    We decorated everything except the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving and the girls are old enough that they contribute greatly to this project. We got our tree last weekend and, again, the girls did much of the decorating.

    I don’t do much baking this time of year because I don’t enjoy it, so spending days slaving away in the kitchen would stress me out and make me grumpy. I figure that I do enough with other aspects of the holiday that I can slide on this one.

    I also make a point to take care of myself this time of year — healthy foods, lots of exercise, and enough sleep.

    So far, I’m not feeling overly stressed about anything, so I’m happy.

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