It used to be standard fare. Every year I would start stressing about Christmas in the middle of November reaching an apocalyptic peak around 11 pm on Christmas eve. Give or take. I come from a family where the holidays were very very important. Tradition, is important. My mom baked and wrapped immaculate presents, and had people over, and loved every minute of it. Or so I thought. I realize now that she was likely hiding her Christmas meltdowns from me so that the magic of the holidays remained.
My husband and I, when we made our two families one, came from very different experiences surrounding the holidays. I am not sure if that is because of gender differences or because of the differences in how we are raised. But regardless we still needed to map our own way, make our own traditions.
For many years I struggled with this. Where do you spend the holidays, and how do you avoid hurt feelings? Even still these are difficult questions to face at the holiday time. But what I have learned and I think finally embraced is that the holiday will come, no matter if I am ready, and it will always be special. It doesn’t matter if I think that I still need 4 more things for my sons socking, or if I didn’t find the right book for my daughter, or if I didn’t make gingerbread men this year. We can have two Christmases if that is what we need to make everyone happy, and they each will be special and it is okay.
This gift, that I have given myself, to let go and accept my own human limitations, has made this holiday season almost pleasant. I am looking forward to going to my in-laws, I am looking forward to the tree. I don’t care if I don’t get all the cookies done, or my baseboards cleaned. Christmas will come either way, and just like when I was younger, I am sure that my kids don’t miss those things. The joy, and peace come not from fancy wrapping or baking. It does not come from an overflowing stocking or home-made pjs.
And so I pass this gift along. Forgive yourself, leave your baseboards, and have another eggnog. The holidays will come with store-bought cookies or home-made, and it doesn’t matter. Take the time to enjoy.