Sometimes holidays are just hard.
You might be wound up so tight from stress that the smallest setback will snap you. Or you’re so overwhelmed with the the stuff you have to do that the days go by in a blur. Or you feel sad and lonely. Perhaps, this year, Christmas leaves you cold. In spite of the festive air, the cheery music, those perfect, smiling T.V. commercial families, it’s not a merry, calm, or joyful season for you at all.
Maybe you’re worried about money: your job hours have been cut or you just can’t make the dollars stretch as far as they used to. Maybe family conflict is stressing you out.
Or perhaps it’s because it’s so dark so early in the day. Or it’s too cold, or not cold enough. All you see outside the window is brown dreariness with no hope of magical, wonderful snow. Perhaps you moved after spending more than a decade in one place, and you’ve lost the rituals you’d built around where you lived.
Maybe it’s because you picked out the perfect gift for your child, only to have your order canceled because of a ‘technical difficulty’–and then find the item is out of stock everywhere else. And then you’re angry at yourself for getting all worked up over one stupid toy, and maybe you should go spend time with said child instead of being so wrapped up (ha! pun intended) in the finding of presents.
Maybe it’s because you’re not doing enough. You feel you *should* be decorating, instead of only thinking about dusting off the Nativity Set you got as a gift eons ago. And then you go look at decorating sites for ideas, only to get depressed again because you have neither the skill nor the inclination to do any of that–but still feel you ought to, for appearance’s sake. You feel you *should* bake holiday cookies even though you hate it or buy presents for your children’s teachers and the mailman and the guy who changes the oil in your car, because it’s expected.
Or you’re determined to focus on the “meaning of Christmas” but you forgot to get/make the Advent calendar and haven’t cracked the Christmas songbook yet this year. You’re determined to be content and cheerful, to pray and reflect, but that falls by the wayside ten minutes later when you’re confronted once again with the awesome Lego set you’d love to get your child but can’t afford, or the toddler breaks yet another ornament.
We try so hard to make Christmas perfect. And often all that does is make us tired, stressed, angry and sad.
When I get the Christmas blues, I know it’s time for me to slow down and step away, and keep things simple. To reflect on the gifts and blessings I already have, instead of focusing on my To-Do list. And learn to enjoy my imperfect Christmas.