Is Christmas Still Christmas without the Brain-Melting Stress?

18 December 2008

This year, after many years of busting my little Filipino butt for Christmas, I decided to just STOP. Stop and smell the Poinsettias -- and apparently eat them too (thanks, harmzie!) -- and just enjoy the Holidays with my family.

No more taking photos, designing, redesigning, printing, and finally sending out special family greeting cards.
No more writing year-end update letters -- that's what my blog's for, dammit! -- plus I get to save some trees.
No more sending cards to friends who never call/email/send-me-cards or family who only get in touch just to bitch about other family members.
No more putting off setting up the Tree until the other "important" stuff gets done.
No more waiting until last minute sales to finish off Christmas shopping.

Well, so far, so good.

I must admit that, at first, it felt a little weird to be so low-stress about all of this. Where's the insanity? Where's the tension? Where's the drama? It was like I was looking around for the abusive ex-boyfriend. Weird.

Honestly, I'm still freaking out a little because I'm not freaking out! And when I DO freak out, I stop myself and wonder why.

Like when I got sick, I complained "OMG, I can't get sick! Look at all the shopping I still have to do!" Then I remembered that I finished 90% of it before the end of November.

When I check the mailbox and find all the awesome cards from friends and family, I scream "OMG, I still have to get mine out!" Then I remember that, this year, I plan to only send them to those who send us one.

Then "OMG, what about the TREE?!!!" I then remember my promise to Mini to get the living room cleaned up in time for her to set up the tree! See? Here she is putting up the star.


So, yeah, starting to love the low stress, and you know what? It does feel like Christmas -- a different, calmer, less-insane Christmas. A Christmas with the cute, loving, giving hottie instead of the jerk of an abusive ex. Good riddence to him.

I can definitely get used to this.

4 comments - LEAVE YOURS HERE...:

Kari said...

I'm so burnt out at this point it's amazing I'm still standing. Between making all my holiday cards, decorating, making gifts, etc I am ready to sit back and enjoy!

Jen Hill said...

You are so smart Nenette, and love how you panic when you temporarily forget that you are in non-stress Holiday mode. Old habits die hard.

I too am not writing the "brag" letter, not writing to friends and family who never reciprocate, and am keeping our presents and decorations to a minimum, well, kind of. In my neighborhood everyone "hires" others to do their holidays lights. Its hard not to feel like my house doesn't add up, but at least I have the satisfaction that we did it ourselves.

Happily Holidays Life Candy Family!

Albert Bannatyne said...

So surprised to hear you're stressed out by Christmas prep. Sounds like you need to listen to the Vinyl Cafe Xmas CD, especially the story about Mary Turlington's Xmas party. I'm sure the library must have it, but it might be a bit late for this year. If you tune in tomorrow (Sunday the 21, after the noon news) it'll be the annual playing of the "Dave Cooks the Turkey" story.

None of the things you list need be stressful --- but there are other reasons for not doing them if you don't want to. If you really want to do some of those things, I'm sure a control freak like you can figure out how to do it without getting nutso over them. Otherwise, like you say... good riddance.

I've mixed feelings about people sending year-end summary letters. SWMBO and I hate ones that come off as bragging and so we don't bother, but I do often scribble in some personal news in the card for those that we're not in frequent contact with. On the other hand it is nice to know what our friends and family are up to, and I have been the recipient of some pretty awesome year-end letters, but those are the exception.

And the way you gripe about your family makes it sound like they're featured in Less Than Kind --- is it true?

And I'm dying to ask --- cooking a turkey for Xmas dinner? I know a family whose tradition is to order a pizza that day, so maybe if you're stressed about dinner too you need to make your own tradition?

And it's great to hear you're back in the "small butt" category after your butt complaints of last spring! Keep up the good work!

Nenette AM said...

@Kari:
Hang in there, my friend. It's almost over ;)

@Jen Hill:
Thanks, Jen... and a big Happy Holidays to you and your family :)
xo

@Albert:
Every year, we do glazed ham for the 24th and then head over to my rocket scientist BIL's place for turkey on the 25th. All pretty low stress.

You and dear SWMBO always have such a smart and practical approach. We love the cards we get from you every year.

This year's plan to do the very minimum feels like an elimination diet for me. Next year, I'll add a little bit and see if I "react".
Maybe I will eventually find a way to do all the Christmas tasks I want without having a meltdown. :)

The butt's the only thing that's small, my friend... I still need to work on the rest! LOL :)

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