I work hard to avoid Holiday Madness. Since the holiday season in upon us, and because I’ve moved, I no longer drive past the home of the woman who puts out her holiday countdown Santa after Halloween. I’ve been left to my own devices to start all things magical to make the Christmas season a warm and happy success.
A heavy burden, I know, but women everywhere know who Santa really is. Some of us are lucky enough to have elves, but I am not one of them. No, I tend to be one who goes it alone. Except for the traditional decorating of the tree, and cookie baking, I am Santa and Santa is me.
All the planning, thinking and doing, especially early in the process, can be stressful for me. Did I purchase the same great gift for mom last year? Is my boyfriend going to like the sweater I’ve spent the last six months knitting? I worry about the money, whether I am going to be able to get it all done in time, and whether I have forgotten anyone.
To counter all the angst, I’ve come up with a few tricks to inject a bit of order and joy to all of this, the first being giving myself permission not to go all out. It’s ok not to have the house decked to the nines, so the business of setting out elaborate tableaus on every flat surface of the house, and having every Christmas item I own out on display is off the table. Just a favorite item here or there is fine. This not only eliminates my immediate drive to create a complete holiday wonderland in my home, it also takes away the pressure of thinking about cleaning it all up and putting it all away after the holiday.
We put up our tree the day after Thanksgiving. I make it a point enjoy it both in the morning, with a quiet cup of coffee, and in the evening before going to bed. We dim the lights, turn on the tree and admire. Throwing in a few old Christmas movies and that warm, loving, holiday feeling starts to peek through.
I do the shopping early, and set aside a couple of small gifts for unexpected circumstances, like the person who stops by unannounced and unexpectedly to share a bit of cheer. I am not ruffled, for under the tree at the back are a few special gifts for just such a situation. Awkwardness averted.
Every so often, I stop and leaf through an inspirational holiday book or listen to some Christmas music. I think of past holidays and how fun they have been and remind myself how much I love my little family and friends. Santas everywhere know that no matter how things go, taking the time to love our families and friends is what it is really all about anyway.