I always loved the Christmas season. I grew up in the South but our weather was always seasonal enough that we could enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas appropriately.
Then, I grew up and had children and suddenly Christmas became really stressful. Why? I don't know. I think there was always so much to do that I became overwhelmed easily. That happens to me a lot. But, instead of dialing back and repacing myself I forged ahead and suffered a huge burnout.
Then there were the years with sick and failing parents. There were years that they were either sickly or hospitalized or not with us anymore and I would be lying if I said that didn't impact our holidays. We were a small family and when things started happening, huge holes were left -- we didn't have a ton of brothers and sisters and kids to fill the void. And the void just got bigger and I didn't care anymore.
Grandchildren came along and that helped but there were issues there as well and sometimes the holidays weren't nearly as much fun as I had hoped.
Last year we moved to a new house, promptly got the flu and bam, Christmas was on top of us and I was done. I didn't even send cards. I had a really bad case of the bah-humbugs. I was actually glad when it was over and I could just sit down and try to get well -- that little bout of flu, while not severe, seemed to hang on a long time.
Fast forward to this year. After last year I decided to rethink the whole thing and re-evaluate my expectations. I think I have come to terms with decorating and shopping and over-doing. I have two children, two in-law children and four grandchildren. They are all difficult to buy for. For a long time I gave my son and son in law socks as a gag gift. That's how bad it is. The girls are picky. That's ok. The children -- well, I don't like to compete with parents and Santa. So, I just decided, without apology, that I am gifting them with money. Problem solved. Do I feel bad about it? Absolutely not. The kids are all big enough to want to shop and maybe they don't want to shop right then, maybe they will want something later. Maybe they will hate it but for me, it works.
My decorating is done and the gifts are decided. Food will be what the food always is so I feel, for the first time in a LONG time that I have a handle on it.
So, I went grocery shopping today. It isn't my favorite chore (I don't have a favorite chore-- they are all chores). But, I realized that I was singing to the music (Jingle Bell Rock) and I was looking at all the things that my mother used to buy (cordial cherries, specifically) and I felt like it was 1965 again, I was in HEB and I was in my happy place. It was major deja vu and I felt so good and free and happy. It was like the Christmas's of my youth. I can still feel it.
So, if I get all down again, I guess all I have to do is go to the grocery store!