Learning to Let Go of My Holiday Expectations

The holidays are here, and while I’m excited about spending Christmas with my family, I can’t help but worry about all the stuff that needs to be done. Did you catch that part about all the stuff that needs to be done? I sometimes wonder if I put too much stock into what I think I should be doing to ensure a magical Christmas, instead of just letting the magic happen on its own.

So as I sit here pondering all the last minute shopping that has to be done, all the presents that must be wrapped, and all the baking and meal making I have to do, the more I don’t want to do anything at all.

I think back to the Christmases of my childhood and I remember how frazzled my mother was as she peeled 10,000 spuds to make her famous scalloped potato dish. She was always shrieking at my siblings and me, trying to get us to help her wrap gifts and decorate cards. And when all her tasks were completed, she was still so worried about whether or not her family was enjoying the holiday that she never had the chance to sit down and relax. The woman could make a cup of coffee nervous.

Now that I’m a wife and mother, I understand how nerve-wracking the holidays can be. The stress of finding the perfect gift and the perfect wrapping paper can drive even the most sane person over the edge. And as the mother of a preschooler, who wants every single toy advertised on Nickelodeon, my sanity is long gone.

"I want a walking dinosaur! I want a talking Lightning McQueen Car! I want a Pokemon video game! I want a magic moon sand deserted island adventure toy!"

Mommy wants a million dollars and a nanny. Seriously. Santa Claus, can you hook me up?

To distract myself from the hustle and bustle, I try to focus on my work. Being productive makes me feel better. Then I worry about my work schedule and whether or not it will be flexible around the holidays. And then I realize I’m adding unnecessary stress to my already crazy day.

My husband is dealing with the Christmas Crazies, too. He works as a grocery store manager and the holidays make for chaotic days. Each night he comes home from work and tells me about the little old ladies who chase him around the store, asking for jars of pimentos (only pimentos, not the olives) or special cherries for their Christmas pies. Poor guy. He works too hard this time of year. He’s stressed out, too.

So I’ve decided to make this Christmas as carefree as possible. I’m not going to worry about finding the prettiest wrapping paper, completed pages from Dawson’s coloring book will work just fine. I’m not going to worry about those cookies I made that aren’t perfectly frosted with multi-colored icing. If any one asks I’ll say Dawson did the decorating.

So what if the Christmas cards don’t go out until Saturday — at least they’ll get to the intended recipients before the New Year. Who cares if our Christmas tree is leaning to the right a little. I’ll just hang more ornaments on the other side to even things out.

I’m ditching the stress and telling the guilt to get lost. It’s Christmas! Time to celebrate the season. Happy Holidays!