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.