I wasn’t planning on writing a Christmas post. I was more so looking forward to the inspirational New Years 2018 version.
But then I thought,
“Sheeeaaaatttt. Christmas stress is intense. Even if we do try to stifle the legitimacy of its existence by filing it in the shame-laden “first-world-issues” folder, it still causes a lot of damage.”
So it’s worth talking about in my mind.
It’s not all Christmases fault. It’s just that the festive season provides for an excellent span of time for us to shame ourselves for not being good enough.
From speaking with friends and family and digging into my own vault, here’s some examples of what that looks and sounds like:
- “I’m a terrible mother because I’m too f***ing exhausted to be excited about making cookies with my kids.”
- “My partner got me too many presents and I don’t deserve them because I’m been struggling with my health lately and haven’t been kind/loving/patient/generous with him/her.”
- “If I had made more money this year and saved more cash, I’d be able to buy more presents for friends and family. Because the more I spend on others the more I prove my worthiness as a human being.”
- “How can I tap into any form of gratitude, let alone Christmas spirit when the world is going to shit?!”
- “I am the worst person that ever walked the earth because I don’t want to spend Christmas with my family. I don’t relate to them and I’m not comfortable around them.”
- “F*** everyone and everything – I’m buying myself new jeans. And a new lipstick. Everyone else can suck it!”
Now if any one of these gems sound familiar, soak in this truth with me for a minute:
A perfect Christmas won’t fix everything. So don’t put so much stock into it, OK?
Listen to some festive tunes if you’re into it; put up some lights if it suits your fancy; bake some cookies if you’ve got the energy and inclination.
But if you don’t feel like doing any of those things, don’t do them. Christmas will not be ruined if you pass on them this year.
Feeling like a little Rage Against the Machine and head banging in lieu of Christmas jingles? Have at it (just mind your neck, OK?)
No desire for baking? Zero shame required in the solid runner-up decision to support a local bakery instead. (And if someone asks you if you baked them, a simple “Heck no. I don’t have the time or the desire for that this year” will suffice.)
Worried about the kids? Release the reigns on the must-be-organic lifestyle for a spell and give yourself the gift of easily entertained children: get a decorate-it-yo-self gingerbread something or other.
(Side note: Not everyone needs to want to make artfully crafted shortbread or sugar cookies at Christmas. And for what it’s worth, it’s a good business move to buy them locally: spruce up the local economy, reduce your electricity bill and save yourself a lot of time and energy. Win-win-win.)
So what am I getting at?
It’s way OK to not have the wherewithal to do Christmas the way you’ve always done it.
Mix things up. Cook something different this year (if at all.) No one is holding a gun to your head, screaming “Cook a f***ing turkey or I’m doing you in broad!!”
Order a pizza, or bake a frozen meal from a local shop. Heck, do what I’m doing: get a half-priced turkey after Christmas, and make a turkey dinner in (gasp!) January. (I know – I’m wild!!)
If that simply won’t do, ask for help. No harm ever came to a human who admitted they cannot do it all on their own. Just the opposite in fact.
And if you can’t get the help you need, then be strategic with what you choose to take on.
You can’t do it all and expect not to suffer from exhaustion/annoyance/resentment.
Because guess what happens after Christmas?
Life goes on. And you don’t get a recovery period after all the Christmas chaos is over. You just have to keep on keepin’ on.
So don’t wear yourself out for two weeks for just one day of the entire year.
I fear for the emotional wellbeing of those that do put so much stock into the festive season. It’s gotta be a major f***ing bummer when it ends – a recipe for serious depression.
And I say that because that used to be me: I used to get super depressed after every Christmas season.
But I’m not doing that anymore. Why?
Because If I’m going to get depressed it’s going to be over something legit, like seasonal depression or thyroid issues damn it – not Christmas!
And just to add some sauce to all that…
What makes us think there is one time of year that we simply must be happy anyways?
How insane is this logic:
You must do all the things that make you unhappy (pretend, overspend, overextend) and be happy about it.
I mean WTF right? Can you see how ridiculous all that is?
Good. Now don’t forget how ridiculous it is as you continue on the countdown to Armageddon Christmas.
JK about the Armageddon part, but it does showcase just how serious we take the holiday season, right?
We put so much darn stock in one single day. And we turn ourselves (and the people around us) into ragey little greed monsters in the process.
So let’s all just chill the F out on all this must-make-it-all-perfect craziness and extend a little love our own direction, OK?
Before you start losing sleep, wondering how to make everything just right this Christmas on the outside, consider how you feel on the inside.
And if it’s all proving to be way too much, dial it back.
Do what you need to do to be OK. That might entail letting go of the beliefs that tell you Christmas needs to be a certain way in order for it to be successful.
Now, someone come and get these damn Lindor chocolate balls would ya? Things aren’t looking good for my new jeans.
(And now you know I’m the one that had a bit of a spazz, said f*** everyone and everything and went shopping. Zero. Shame. )