The holidays bring about different sides of people. For some it is a happy time, where Christmas music, lights, parties, and family all fill their free time. For others the holidays can be a time of obligations, shopping, crowds, and absolute craziness a.ka. stress. On top of all that there could be added stress from work, expectations from family, and even the reality of making sure those in your life have a memorable holiday. I wonder though, is it all worth it?
What expectations have we put on ourselves that are unrealistic? Is it fun to feel so stressed for a holiday? Between finding the right gifts, to wrapping and mailing them, to Christmas cards, parties, food, and keeping up with traditions it is a lot of pressure to do it all and make it all happen. Why do we do it? Is it wanting to give and ensure your family has an amazing holiday? Would they care if you dropped off a few responsibilities?
My stress level has definitely risen these last few weeks. There is a lot going on at work, and our home to-do list seems to be never-ending. Whether it is something for the holidays, or the yard, or something needs to be fixed, or we are trying to get all our year-end eye and dentist appointments complete before December 31. I am ready to get off the 2014 roller coaster and breathe.
In between all the stress and to-do’s on your list, be sure to take time for yourself. Get a massage (I mean it)! Take a bath, put your feet up. I am going to do all those things over the holiday. While it is an important time to be with family, indulge in amazing holiday treats, and give, give, give, make sure you give to yourself. Rest, recharge, and be ready for 2015. I have a hunch it will start with a bang and you will be ready if you have taken some time to refuel.
If you celebrate Christmas, do you have a tradition of hanging a stocking? Chris and I have not done it at all during our marriage, but growing up it was part of our tradition. We did not have a fireplace, or mantle to hang our stockings, but instead my dad hammered nails into this makeshift bookcase. It was about my height at the time, so maybe four feet high, and we each had our own stocking. Even our dog, who always received dog bones of different varieties — from rawhide to Milkbone, and if our dog was lucky maybe a new toy. Probably to distract them from all the sounds, lights, and interesting happenings in the house.
Everyone’s stocking was different. My grandma knit my sister’s, brother’s, and mine. I have no idea how she did it, but she knit our names into the stocking so we always knew if it was ours. She was an impressive knitter, and I still have my childhood stocking today. While we never received much at Christmas, for some reason my stocking always intrigued me. What did my stocking usually contain? At the bottom (and I think to weigh it down) there was usually an apple or orange. Followed by a pair of socks, a handful of candy, and maybe a tiny toy. Every once in a while there was a coloring book or some sort of object that did not fit into the stocking itself. Any items that did not fit were laid on the floor just below the stocking.
The tradition was that we were not allowed to leave our rooms on Christmas morning until we were given the approval from our parents. We would scurry out to the living room to scope out the Christmas tree and whether Santa had made it to our house that year. Were the milk and cookies gone? Then we were allowed to go to our stockings and dump out the contents. We could do whatever we wanted, play with anything included, and even have our own candy. We were not allowed to touch any gifts. Then we had breakfast together (my mom’s coffee cake). Once everyone finished their breakfast (my parents made us stay at the table for what felt like forever) we would make it back to the living room and our Christmas tree to open the presents that were under the tree.
I have not had a traditional Christmas since I was twelve, and so that was probably the last time I had a stocking too. These days I am such a minimalist. I do not want “stuff” just to give/get. Thus, we have not continued the tradition. Maybe someday I will knit a new stocking for a little one and start our version of stocking traditions on Christmas morning.