The holiday season always starts on the same high for me, I’m starry eyed and optimistic.
Even as the season ramps up right before Thanksgiving, I feel in control and capable. Our calendar booking up well into the new year gives me a rush of adrenaline and excitement at seeing so many people and engaging in ALL the holiday merriment. I’m also all about the decorations and gift lists (I have a spreadsheet!). I am filled with all the glorious anticipation of the new holiday season.
But shortly after Thanksgiving, I start to decline as the holiday anxiety. Followed by the holiday exhaustion of decorating and managing schedules and expectations. Then comes my monetary fear that I’m spending too much, too little, or incorrectly. Down I spiral.
But wait! Then come the momentary highs of the snow quietly falling as I wrap Christmas gifts, watching my children decorate the tree, and Hallmark holiday movies. Plus, those pine scented candles seem to really bring me to my happy place (aka back in time when I was not the commander of the holiday ship, when I could wake up on Christmas morning to presents and sweets and smiles and snuggles no grey hair or under-eye gags in sight.)
This year, I’m trying to find my happy or at least even out the emotional roller-coaster that is my holiday.
I’m setting more boundaries. For example, I’m not mailing out a holiday card. I used to take great pride and joy in this activity. It gave me a thrill to have my card in the mail on December 1st. But over the years, it became harder to find photos that seemed appropriate to use, the cost and volume went up, and the very thought of editing my address list made me sweat. So, I’ll post a holiday photo of the kids on social media, declare I’m not sending a physical card, and leave it at that. (To be honest, this is truly a personal victory for me!)
Because stuff makes me anxious, I’m also limiting the number of gifts I’m giving and weeding out what we currently have before the holiday windfall hits. I either donate or sell the items I weed out which makes me feel good and the funds I receive help to off-set my holiday spending fears.