(For my approximately eight other readers who didn’t see this in the November issue of Gold River Messenger, here ya go.)
Halloween has come and gone, which means that Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hanukkah, et al., are on their way, which means we have to do our regular everyday stuff, on top of all the happy holiday, fun family stuff, which means we are in pursuit of having everything just-so, at the perfectly appointed time, in the most festive and beautiful of surroundings.
Oh, that’s not how you roll this time of year? Lucky you. Because I do…much to my family’s chagrin.
The holidays are the time of year to relax, reflect and reconnect with our loved ones. I get that. I cherish the “fallidays.” I love the holidays – more than Joe Biden loves his new dentures. But face it: it takes a lot of work and angst to make everything look/seem/be simple and quaint and pretty and special.
Each year, through all the hustle and bustle of November and December, there’s an omnipresent little voice telling me to… just breathe.
Let’s start with Thanksgiving: I mean, should we do the tried-and-true traditional stuffing Grandma used to make, or do we try a nouveau, sustainable(ish) recipe fresh off the pages of Bon Appetite? And when we go around the table telling all for which we are thankful, will I do the obligatory “health, family, friends and Mia dog”…or shall I try something somewhat irreverent and different this year: “I’m thankful for Tobias, my new wonderful hair guy!” Or…”I’m so grateful for the fabby boots I found on sale at Nordy’s last week!” (No?) And what do I need to say — or not say — to my niece’s surely-to-feel-on-display-and-under-intense-scrutiny, first-time-to-meet-the-family boyfriend? Should I trade an extra piece of pumpkin pie for an extra glass of wine, or two? Or say to-heck-with-it, and have extra servings of every single culinary offering?
Breathe. Just breathe.
Then comes Christmas. I love decking my halls. I can’t wait to see, hear and donate to the Salvation Army bell-ringers; to smell all that fresh pine; to feel the warmth of a fire in the fireplace on a chilly winter’s night. The highlight of highlights, for me, is singing Silent Night and lighting the candles in church at the Christmas Eve service, with my family at my side..
But it all comes at the price of self-inflicted stress, expectations and undue pressure.
Like… can I get away with fake garland this year? I mean, it looks, really, really, really real; and then I won’t have to worry about those dreaded dry pine needles. Will we be invited to a Christmas party, or two? (Pleeeease don’t leave us out, ‘cause that’s a whole other kind of ugly stress!) And if we do get an invite or two, will I see the same people at each party, which means I can’t get away with just one new festive frock? Heaven forbid! And which family photo should I choose for our Christmas card this year – oh, that’s right. There are zero family pics taken this year, because we were only together in one place for about seven minutes, which means there will be no Christmas card this year. (Because I truly believe it’s rude and a waste of a stamp to send a Christmas card without a photo accompanying it.) And wait…did I really just spend $43.75 more on one kid than the other?!
Breathe. Just breathe…
And before you know it, Poof, it’s all over. We give our loved ones hugs and kisses good bye, go back to our respective lives and routines, restart our diets, brace ourselves for the over-abundance of Visa charges, try to ward off the Seasonal Affective Disorder from the long, dreary, no-blue-sky days that lie ahead, and gather our W2’s from the past year. Because, before you know it, the Tax Man Cometh.
Breathe. Just breathe…