This time of year is crazy busy. I don’t think I’m alone in this. But here’s the kicker, I create my own stress and chaos. Now before you are quick to justify your crazy busy life, let’s be honest with ourselves. We all make our lives way more chaotic than they really need to be. I’ve compiled a list of things that make my Christmas season stressful.
- Christmas Cards–They take an a lot of time and energy finding matching outfits for the family, getting the picture taken, choosing the card, and of course hand writing addresses because I’m old school and like to personalize the envelopes and use the same address book I’ve had for 15 years. However, I worry and plan and stress and spend hours getting them done and sent out…on time.
- Christmas Parties–I love parties. I’m an extrovert and I love entertaining, so this should make total sense. However, I have lost my mind this year. We have a work party, a church party, and even at least 2 birthday parties at our house. My Saturday Dec. 10th looks like this–11-1 Family party at our house; 2-3:30 kid party at the bowling alley; 5:30-10ish Church Christmas party at our house. Not to mention the staff party the night before…at our house. Are these parties necessary? Only the family birthday party for my daughter whose birthday is on the 15th–everything else is optional. But I’m planning and cooking and decorating for them all!
- Christmas Decorations–It’s the most wonderful time of year, so these decorations are necessary…right?! Don’t tell my husband, but no, they aren’t. I’m still a Christian who celebrates Jesus’ birth whether or not I have a tree, lights, decorations, an OSU tree, and a stupid Elf on the Shelf. But I have these things, to excess. It takes time and energy to get them out and put up and maintained for each party.
- Christmas activities–School parties, assemblies, chapel, Polar Express, Christmas Train, Church sing-a-longs–they are all fun and exhausting. Wear matching pajamas, wear a cute Christmas shirt, bring a teacher gift, bring a pair of socks to donate, bring food items for the class party…the list is endless. Again, none of these are mandatory. My kids will survive if we don’t attend one. In fact, I didn’t sign up to bring a food item for the class party this year, and guess what…the party will go on. So many activities and extra things to remember to buy and bring and do….
- Christmas Elf–I want to punch the creator of this toy. I bought the super expensive yet cheaply made elf a few years ago, and now I have to remember to move this thing EVERY night? As if I don’t have enough going on, I have to try to think of 30ish places to move this guy? Thankfully, I’m not creative enough for Elvis the elf to do anything crazy. This guy is not necessary and actually quite annoying.
- Christmas Shopping–To be honest, I can’t really say that this is stressing me out because I haven’t even started yet. I have my list and I know what I need. I’ll hit my favorite stores and get what I can the Saturday before Christmas, and I’ll shop the internet for the rest. We don’t have to shop for that perfect gift, but we do. We could buy less for our children and family, but isn’t that proof of our love–the amount of money spent=amount of love? Let’s be honest, consumerism really isn’t part of the actual Christmas celebration.
It’s easy to sit back and point fingers at all of the things stressing me out this season, but if I’m being honest, it’s my fault. I place high expectations on myself that aren’t even needed. Maybe I feel these expectations because of those around me or social media or peer pressure, but I’m very reluctant to rid myself of the chaos. In fact, because of these stressers, life is too chaotic to spend time focusing on what we should really be doing–spending our time and thoughts to Advent and preparing ourselves to celebrate the birth of Christ. I don’t mean through the list above. I mean prepare our hands to serve, our hearts to worship, our ears to listen quietly, our minds to read and meditate on the true meaning of Christmas.
So yet again, I’m in the middle. I send out my cards; I shop for too much; I move the elf; I plan the parties, yet I want my family to serve and worship and listen and read and meditate. I’m still working to find the happy middle-ground.
Hoping you find the middle-ground in the chaos of Christmas,