I had my first bout of pre-holiday panic when the pumpkins arrived at SuperTarget.
Fresh off the victory of getting my kids ready for school, I was still recovering from Back to School shopping. And sharpening fifty #2 pencils had left me feeling very stabby (and very well equipped to do so).
As such, it took me a moment to regain my bearings and point my cart towards the “Happy Halloween!” sign that made me feel anything but.
Just as I was tossing 20-pound bags of candy and pumpkins into my grocery cart, I remembered that it was still September. Which meant the candy would be long gone and the pumpkins mushy and rotten by the time Halloween actually rolled around six weeks later.
So I put everything back, and while I didn’t succumb to the pressure in that moment, I felt the pressure nonetheless. And it’s a pressure that doesn’t relent until we get through Christmas, which debuts before we’ve even survived the gauntlet that is Thanksgiving.
Speaking of which, the reason I didn’t post last week?
This is a photo of me before the big day. I’d collapsed over the December issue of Real Simple magazine with its “32 Simple Holiday Shortcuts: Check Everything Off Your List.”
The months of September through December are such a blurring barrage of holiday cheer that half the time, I don’t know what holiday we’re actually celebrating.
Which makes me not want to celebrate any of them and instead hide out in my basement behind the boxes of decorations like they’re some sort of makeshift bomb shelter.
But I can’t. Because I have children.
And children love any reason to celebrate, which makes it especially tricky to go out in public at all during this time of year.
Halloween candy and princess costumes lurk around every corner. And as soon as they’re pulled off the shelves, Christmas arrives with toys, toys, and more toys.
Entering any store is like accidentally wandering into Disneyland and having to tell your kid, “I’m sorry honey, but we don’t have time to ride the roller coaster or take 5,000 pictures with Cinderella.”
Whining and sobbing become commonplace. And it’s usually me, not the kids, who are doing it.
Which is why I want out.
I want out of buying stuff that we don’t need. I want out of trying to make my house beautiful and festive and perfect. I want out of cooking and baking and cleaning dishes.
Because when I get that out, I have more space for love and family and magic. Which is what the holidays are all about.
This year, I’m hosting my biggest Christmas ever. My in-laws and sister-in-law (with her two kids plus their foreign exchange student) are all rolling in.
I barely cook for my family of four, so someone is going to have to feed them. And that someone will be a combination of Costco and whomever is the hungriest.
I don’t do dishes, so that will be delegated as well. Or we will eat off paper plates.
And as for decorating, we will either learn to live with the boxes that have resided in my living room since the day after Thanksgiving or my children and the hubs will handle it.
As for me, I’ll be reconnecting with my family and friends. Working on my webinar series and writing. And enjoying the holiday, rather than being a slave to it.
The lion’s share of the holiday tradition falls upon the shoulders of women. Because traditionally, women were/are the ones who decorate, cook, clean, and host.
So what “traditions” can we let go of? Or conveniently forget?
(We always bake Christmas cookies? That’s weird. I don’t remember that.)
This is my New Year’s resolution for 2018. To let go of traditions and the pressure and stress they bring.
While it may seem a bit premature to announce my New Year’s resolution, it’s not.
Because today is December 1st.
Happy New Year!
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