When my kids were little, it seemed that every year we added a new Christmas tradition or party. My family and my DH's also upped the ante on gifts every year. And of course the kids made friends, I made friends with the moms, and then there were daycare-givers and teachers and goodies to be taken to school parties and special holiday fund-raisers for the marching band.
That was bad enough. Then my new job included a practically mandatory holiday potluck party. Then it was decided that we would exchange joke presents at said party. Then someone added that our kids would each exchange with another kid there. ENOUGH! When I griped about the additional workload (assigned in the middle of grading finals, no less) I was seen as quite the Scrooge. Others pointedly said that they did it so THEIR kids would learn the spirit of giving.
Well. That was the year I swore off the escalation. Every year since then, I've cut out one or more traditions, attended one less party, spent less time at the DH's folks' house. And pleaded with both sides of the family to stop gift-giving among us adults and reduce it for the kids. I'm trying to innoculate my kids against Affluenza.
This year it's been a -- dare I say it? -- Perfect Storm --- NOOO, don't use a cliche that was awkward from the first --- oh, what the heck, get on with the freakin' sentence -- a Perfect Storm of Christmas Simplification. Both sets of grandparents called an end to the gift-giving except for little kids. So there was very little shopping to do.
And what a good thing because between my waves of exhaustion, my depression, and the amount of time I'm spending getting tested, the house isn't clean, and forget about sending Christmas cards!
I felt terrible about this for a few weeks. Then I noticed that the important stuff, the traditions my young son really cares about, happened without my hyperplanning. HE wrapped the few gifts we're giving (with red electrical tape instead of ribbon; they'll be charmed). HE made most of the gingerbread cookies. I got my husband to order and pick up the dinner for Christmas Eve.
Today it occurred to me that I'm the only one who cares about the clean house. And with my feet up and a mug of egg nog in front of my face, I can't see any dust bunnies.
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