Am I the Only One?

Christmas in the post-War United States
Image via Wikipedia

Maybe it’s seeing Thanksgiving decorations at Halloween and Christmas decorations at Thanksgiving that sucks the joy out of the holidays. I know that as a mom, I’m supposed to be super excited about this time of year. Don’t get me wrong – I decorate the house, top to bottom. The tables are topped with fall colors and leaf patterns, pumpkins of various colors, shapes and sizes adorn most of our flat surfaces. Tip towels and hand towels in every bathroom sport cute sayings and embroidered shapes. After Thanksgiving the stockings are hung, the tree is dressed and the banisters are wrapped. My children love seeing our house change with the seasons. They love visiting the pumpkin patch and tree farms. We all enjoy warm cider, hot chocolate and steaming cinnamon donuts. But, underneath all the twinkling lights, I feel empty. The hustle and bustle of figuring out gifts, travel arrangements, vacation schedules and classroom parties drags me down. I love being around family. I love building memories with my children. But I worry too much about whether or not I’ve bought people the right gifts, or spent enough time with them or who I forgot. I just wish I could enjoy the season more, instead of counting down the days until the new year arrives.

Maybe a part of me grieves the loss of the year, focusing too much on all of the unaccomplished things in my life rather than the things I have achieved. Perhaps it is aging, not just me but my parents and my children too. If only I could get back to the feeling I had as a kid – the relief of being out of school for two weeks, the thankfulness of finding unexpected gifts under the tree, the comfort of being surrounded by family, the pride of hand making cards and ornaments as gifts.

This year I pledge to just take one day at a time. My gift to myself is not to put so much pressure on myself to create the perfect holiday.

If only I knew how to make that happen.

5 thoughts on “Am I the Only One?

  1. I love Christmas season. Yet somehow I do get anxious, as well, and for some reason I end up thinking that there’s just not enough time to do everything I need to do before Christmas or before the year ends. As soon as November sets in, the days just seem to fly by.
    Like you, I feel melancholic, too, when I think about the year that is about to end. As much as I try to make myself excited for the new year, I can’t help but feel a certain sense of loss for the year that we are bidding goodbye to. I end up asking myself if I achieved something this year or did I just let the year pass me by.
    When I’m starting to feel sad, though, I just count the blessings that i have been given. I look back at the great moments I’ve experienced, and I remind myself to look forward to greater moments.
    I guess as we age, all the more we realize what is truly important in our lives. Maybe it’s not always about achieving grand things… maybe it’s about the simple joys like togetherness, or experiencing small victories with your loved ones.
    Perhaps it’s also not about finding or giving the perfect gift for Christmas. At the end of the day, you’re still the best gift that you can give to the people you love.
    So don’t fret. Nothing is worth the stress.

    ps. Believe me, I am telling myself the same thing, too. 🙂

  2. I think you’re on the right track! One year I thought I had the PERFECT gift for every.single.person. EVERY ONE. I put so much thought into it. It had been a rough year. I gave those who had helped us a homemade gift cert w/ a heartfelt thank you and something along the lines of: mani w/ your sister in law: $45 pedi w/ your sister in law that you adore $300 hair cut etc etc then put spa day on me, spending the day saying thankyou for all you do and have done: priceless. Emily, nobody took me up on it. NOBODY. So now? They get what I think is cool. 🙂

  3. I used to feel the same, the stress of it all. But I Love Christmas. My husband even says I still believe in Santa. So as for the gifts and travel-if it’s stressing me out? I don’t do it. If my card isn’t perfect? Who cares-its a piece of paper. If the teacher gift isn’t perfect, well, she’s getting gifts from 17 other moms and my intentions were there.

    Hope you get your gift this year!

  4. I know what you’re saying. It sometimes feels like life is rushing by like a freight train out of control, running here and doing that. If you want to slow things down and live your life without regrets try using this filter. “If I only had one month to live would “this” be something I would do”. If we thought this way about the things in our life I think we would be much more intentional about they things we choose to do. I know it sounds a bit morbid but think about all the things we do everyday and for what.

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