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How to Enjoy the Holiday Season | Because Christmas is Stressful

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Christmas is stressful, wouldn’t you agree?

Here’s what’s going on in my head once the pumpkin pie has been passed as we give thanks in November.

“Pssssst, hey you. Yes, YOU.

It’s me, that little voice inside your head….

I’m the voice of Christmas guilt and stress.  My job is to keep you awake at night when you should be catching your beauty sleep. I give you all these thoughts in an effort to overwhelm and stress you out.

There’s so much to do…How can I possibly sleep when the holiday menu hasn’t been finalized?
Christmas is stressful…

Hmmm, did I scrub the tile around the guest bathroom toilet? You know how the boys in the house are….
Christmas is stressful…

What should I buy my nieces and nephews? Will they love their gifts? Or am I gonna be the dud auntie? They’re still mad about the time I reprimanded them…
Christmas is stressful…

Oh shoot, I forgot to make the reindeer antlers for the school Christmas program. Do you think Target has those??
Christmas is stressful…

My family is crazy…Well maybe that’s true, let’s be honest. But heck, I’M crazy!
Christmas is stressful….

And so it goes….

We carry this burden, this thought in the back of our minds that we have to do ALLLLLL the things to make it a “merry” Christmas”. And not just to them, but do them with perfection and wrapped with a shiny, appropriate sized bow.

We haul our kids to the nearest park/mall/church to have the obligatory photo taken with Santa. Do they want their picture taken? Possibly not, but we feel like that’s one of the items we should check off the list.

Our kids make it to the front of the line, finally. Except instead of running to high five Santa, they are kicking and screaming and have suddenly morphed into my legs like they’ve been coated in Gorilla Glue. They are clearly distressed about this random man wearing an obviously fake beard and a pillow insert. The kids are wondering, why is everyone trying to force us to sit on his lap?? What the heck happened to stranger danger?”

Parents, you know how this goes. We are officially breaking a sweat now. We beg, we plead with promises of M&M’s and ice cream, thinking “for the love of God, please look at the camera and smile for half a second!!!”

Isn’t this fun? It. Is. Not. Fun.

But at the same time, we assure  ourselves it’s worth it – because they aren’t going to remember this, so at least we have a photo.


In other holiday matters, we MUST visit Starbucks to grab the Christmas tree frappachino because you CANNOT get this any other time of year, so get the frappachino!  420 calories and 50 grams of sugar later, we know we’re gonna need a diet plan, Weight Watchers, or a gym membership come January 1st.

Okay, let’s be real, we’ll make it the 2nd…..

Parties are frequent and kids stay up waaaaay past their bedtimes to visit with friends and family we may only see once or twice a year.

We buy toys are kids don’t really need (100% guilty here – mine would rather play with a cardboard box and a spatula). But we do what we feel we SHOULD do!

Sometimes (okay, frequently) family conflicts or tension arise over the holidays.

Or sometimes, gatherings just feel awkward; well – just because. My Dad used to tell me, “Deanne, you can pick your nose, you can pick your seat, but you can’t pick your family”. As a teenager, my first reaction was to be grossed out by the thought of family and nose picking in the same reference. But honestly, over the years I’ve come to jokingly repeat that phrase. Cause y’all, let’s just be completely honest for a second – we know it’s true!

We observe the opening of Christmas presents with extended family. We pray our child won’t be the one to say something totally inappropriate when they open a gift.

Because it has happened for as long as I can remember.

I remember the year my younger cousin opened a gift and sarcastically said, “Gee, Grandma, socks….How would I ever have known.???? It’s not like we get them every year….” while rolling her eyes.

An audible gasp was heard from my 18 or so aunts and uncles. The room was suddenly contaiminated with that awkward how do we move on from here pause. Let’s just say she was quickly removed from the scene of her crime. But as fellow cousins we were like – wow, she’s got some balls to say that out loud!

(Btw, Grandma, we always loved your practical sock gifts. Really!)

All of this craziness is totally normal and wonderful but still, let’s all recognize Christmas is stressful.

We could look at it this way – We are celebrating a holiday that causes debt, family fights, stress, too much clutter, weight gain and more. Okay, bad idea, that’s clearly not a fun way to look at things.

Let’s put it into a positive perspective, shall we??

No matter our beliefs, we celebrate in spite of all the craziness because we crave special moments in our lives, like the ones that happen only once a year. Like the 2.2 seconds with our children sitting on Santa’s lap.

We want a reason to pull us closer to the ones we love, and this season most certainly radiates warmth and love like a big, hand-knit cozy scarf .

We have to force ourselves to sift through the things that DON’T matter and instead, focus on the things that DO matter this time of year.

If you need a cue, take a look at a child admiring the neighborhood lights, or a simple package wrapped under the tree. (Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Please don’t let them unwrap the presents while I’m in the bathroom some random Tuesday morning. I get it.).

Let’s spend the next few weeks and days finding the little things to celebrate as we approach Christmas. Let the packaged sparkle and glitz of the things that really don’t matter so much operate quietly in the background.

They’ll carry on without us, I promise.

But in the meantime, we can eliminate some of the stress by living in the little moments, the ones that specifically matter to US.

Let’s enjoy Christmas. Catch some of the childlike wonder of the season. Breathe. Smile. Enjoy. SLEEP.

Before the chaos really get’s rolling, let’s figure out what it is about this time of year that is most special to us. And we can make THAT our focus in the coming weeks. The shopping and meal planning – well, those always end up happening in the end, anyway.

I extend a heartfelt (early) Merry Christmas season to you and hope you spend the next weeks in happy, joyful chaos.

And remember, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has a cousin Eddie.

Made with love,


P.S. And because every little bit helps in keeping your sanity during December, I also have 12 Make Ahead Holiday Appetizers and a Holiday Dinner Menu for you!

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Jennifer Fadler

Sunday 15th of November 2020

Love this! TY

Deanne Frieders

Sunday 15th of November 2020

So glad you like it, Jennifer!

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