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.