Thursday, December 1, 2011

Avoiding the annual Grinch

I'm back in my holiday rut of feeling grumpy and stressed out around the holidays.  Barley's birthday and Thanksgiving behind us, Teddy's birthday, Christmas, and our annual New Year's Eve gala loom ahead.  Throw in extreme work stress, and DH recovering from knee surgery, and it's a hot mess all right.

In an effort to evade my annual grumpiness, I am trying to get out ahead of the holiday obligations.  Every assumption is up for debate:
  1. Do I have to send out greeting cards?  This is 6 out of  16 of the holiday to-do list, and one of the biggest stressers.  I briefly considered ditching it, or replacing it with electronic greetings, but then decided against.  I LOVE getting real Christmas cards in the mail, so I have to send them to get them (that's only fair).  I have duly noted which of my friends have switched to electronic cards, and respecting their preferences, I will send them a cheery digital note as well by the end of the season.  I am relieved to say that I am DONE with this onerous task, having settled for a nice summer picture which most of my friends have already seen.  Don't hate me for being an early bird--just trying to reduce my holiday guilt!
  2. What about the New Year's Eve party?  DH and I debated moving it out to mid-January, but decided the circle of friends who attends this would be even less likely to make the effort to join us.  For some, it is the only time each year we might see them.  We floated the idea of a New Year's Day party, removing the requirement to stay until midnight, but one of the 4 families cannot make that day.  So, party on!
  3. Christmas tree?  I had the boys prioritize some of the things we do over the holidays that is a lot of work: Party, Tree, outside lights, inside decor.  Tree was in the top 2 on everyone's list.  So, we re-affirmed that one, but reminded the boys that they will be expected to help decorate the tree, and reviewed the schedule.
  4. Indoor decor did better than I expected: 3rd instead of last.  It's one of my favorite things, so I'll get the creche set up and hang the garlands on the bannisters after all.
  5. The outdoor lights were mostly last, but DH seems to like those, so they may get out after all.  Just no hurry since it seems to be lower priority for most of us.
Things we are ditching this year:
  • My office holiday party.  It's a big event, held someplace posh in San Francisco.  Always fun and memorable, but the babysitter who can stay until 1 in the morning gets pretty expensive, and it's a long drive in from where we live.  I also have to leave for a business trip the morning after, so we decided to skip it this year.  Feeling a bit less happy with my job lately anyway, so better not to add "forced socializing" to that side of the ledger.
  • The Christmas Cookie exchange with some girlfriends.  It's fun, but we're all feeling a bit stressed out.  I'll try to make cookies sometime, but not under a deadline to make 4 dozen presentable ones for trading.
  • I didn't write a Christmas letter to go with the cards.  Most of our friends are on FB now anyway, and those that aren't can write me back to get more personalized news.  I may feel the urge to summarize the year, and if I do, I'll just post it here for you all.
 So as the annual holiday marathon begins, my wish for all of you is to have a happy and RELAXED holiday, to whatever extent circumstances allow. 

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