Back to traditions. Despite all the chaos and hectic activities surrounding holidays--especially, Christmas--one of the things I love are the traditions. The things we "always" do over the holidays are a source of comfort. I know what to do. I don't have to flounder around trying to figure out what to do next. My problem is procrastination. Rather the sense that I have lots of time to get things done. Things like decorating the tree and the house, writing our Christmas letter and sending out cards, buying and wrapping gifts, baking cookies. Suddenly I realize time is running short and I'm frantic.
When I was younger, I worked myself into a frenzy to get "everything" done. I made my family, and myself, miserable. While Hubs wrapped the kids' gifts, there were some Christmas Eves I was baking cookies because we HAD to have cookies. Eventually, that was one of the traditions I let go to save myself some stress. The years we visited our daughter & her family when they lived in Indianapolis, I barely decorated, letting go more stress. Even though it took time and expense, we always got out Christmas cards. Some years, people received them after Christmas. Oh well, I rationalized, our family & friends were more relaxed then and could enjoy our messages.
In my stress and frenzy, I often forgot why I was doing all the things that I did. We went to church, but that was just one more thing to check off the list. I know better. Instead of celebrating what Christmas is all about, I let myself get trapped by "traditions" that had nothing to do with the true meaning. Maybe as we get older, we sort out our priorities. We realize what's important and take time to enjoy the process instead of practically killing ourselves to achieve the results.
This year, I baked cookies with my grandchildren. We did it to have fun. They didn't care that I hadn't made the dough by hand and bought the refrigerated kind that you pull apart. They had fun and so did I. Yesterday, they came over to celebrate daughter's birthday. Some decorations were up, most not, and it didn't bother me. I loved watching the six-year-old taking apart the nesting dolls and spreading them out and the almost-four-year-old captivation by a toy train that played music. The kids didn't care that the tree only had lights and neither did their parents. My daughter learned a lot sooner than I did to not stress over what wasn't done.
How do you handle the stress of the holidays?