Sorry to be a downer, but I find the holiday season to be the most stressful and unpleasant time of the year. Each year at this time, I find myself daydreaming of far away beaches, mountains, deserts, plains – anywhere that would provide an escape from the stressors of the holidays at home.
Many folks have very good reason to find the holiday season difficult: the death of a loved one, the break-up of a marriage, the loss of a job. These painful events can make the holidays excruciating for people, and I don’t want to discount the real-ness of their pain. But their are also other – albeit less tragic – aspects of the holidays that can make them a struggle for people as well.
Our families don’t change. Very few of us have “perfect” families. Awkward blended families, alcoholic uncles, inappropriate in-laws – we all have at least one family member that drives us crazy – or worse. But for some reason, many of us expect that our families will be magically transformed after Halloween and become the happy, smiling, super-functional families we see on cookie tins and Christmas cards. Well, hope all you want folks but the family you started the year with is the same one you’re stuck with now – maybe even worse.
There’s only one Martha Stewart. Ms. Stewart started a wave of domestic arts that seems to be reaching a fever pitch with the growing use of Pinterest, Etsy and similar sites. I have to admit, I do love crafts and all things Martha, but the pressure to look perfect while serving the perfect meal in the perfect house while your perfect children are doing a perfect craft is overwhelming, and quite frankly impossible to achieve. There’s is only one Martha Stewart people – and you are not her.
A lot of traditions are dumb. <—– OK, that wasn’t a very mature sentence, but it’s true. Roasting a turkey on Thanksgiving because it’s “tradition?” Ick. I can be just as thankful (and a whole lot more gastronomically satisfied) with a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs. So why do I stress out about making a bird every year? Beats me. Sure, there are a few, very meaningful traditions in my family which I love – but what I would really love is to ditch the dumb ones that drag me down and make the holidays drudgery.
They’re so darn long. Why, oh why do we need to start celebrating one holiday after another with no break whatsoever starting on October 15th? Seriously, two and a half months of anything will get old. And the holidays are no different. The retail chains and box stores may be a lost cause when it comes to shortening the holiday season, but at least I can resist celebrating Christmas until at least December. Better yet, December 24th.
Click here for more tips for managing holiday stress.
Click here for more about why the holidays are tough.
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