When You Dread the Holiday Season

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holidayI hate the last sixty-one days of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the festive spirit as much as the next girl and I’m a sucker for the delicious food that comes with this time of year. But if I’m being honest? Lately, I feel like skipping past the end of the year, all the holidays, and just starting fresh in January. I’ve turned into the Grinch and hate the holiday season.

It wasn’t always this way. There was a time when I looked forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas, celebrating Hanukkah and Kwanzaa with friends-there was this sense of excitement that came with these moments. I wanted to decorate as soon as I could and counted down until big family dinners and trips to visit friends in distant places. I distinctly remember making countdown calendars with paper strips folded into chain loops, only to tear each one when I woke up. Then I became a mom.

It feels wrong to say that becoming a mom changed my perspective of the holidays but it’s the truth. Do I enjoy seeing the moments through my children’s eyes? Yes. Does my heart smile when they get excited over hand turkeys or making sugar cookies? Absolutely. But honestly, the holiday season is nothing more than a never-ending series where I am stressed about everything, coordinating all the things from get-togethers to presents to making sure that Santa stops at our house. It feels like this endless loop of just treading water.

It falls on me, as the mom, to make sure that both sides of the family feel like they get equal time with us, all while keeping in mind both the traditions that each family has and making sure that the ‘traditions’ that aren’t really established are maintained as well. It falls to me to send out wish lists for not only myself but for everyone in our family only to have them ignored or go unread, despite pleas for more experiences instead of big toys that just clutter my home. It is up to me to send texts, to put things into our joint calendar, to remind my husband that we have plans when he could open the calendar just as easily as I can. It is the pressure placed on me to do the things my parents did to make it magical for my children, despite them not caring about it.

It is my job to make sure that Christmas morning is this magical moment without any acknowledgment of the fact that I didn’t sleep the night before, no mention that my stocking is empty because I refuse to fill it myself, and there is no lounging in our pajamas because we have to go, go, go.

Go, go, go and get the diaper bag ready, while convincing the kids to change clothes.
Go, go, go and load the car with gifts wrapped carefully just to have them ripped open.
Go, go, go and have mom follow behind everyone while carrying all the things, locking the house up, and feeling like a pack-mule on what should be a stress-free day.
Go, go, go from one house to the next, never staying long just in an effort to spread time evenly.
Go, go, go packing the car back up, filled to the brim with gifts, while praying the kids don’t nap in the car because late naps are sabotage to bedtimes.

So, yes. I hate the holiday season. I would be much happier if I could go, go, go to my couch and stay home while my family enjoys our quiet mornings without the hustle. It would make my heart soar if there wasn’t this all-consuming pressure to be everywhere for everyone on the same day, with no wiggle room or compromise despite asking for it.

I’m a Grinch and it doesn’t bother me anymore.

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