Monday, December 13, 2010

I Admit I Freaked Out About Christmas a Bit

My living room, halfway through my gift wrapping marathon, destroyed and totally disorganized.

Last night I broke down and cried over Christmas stress. I'd vowed to not let myself get stressed about the holidays. I usually am really good about that.

But this year, my kids happened to be coming home on short notice, two weeks early. They're in college and live far away, and will be spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with some other of our family members.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably know that "my kids" are a set of cousins I've informally adopted. They came from a really bad home situation, and lived here for years before leaving for college. Since their past family Christmases weren't all that joyful or happy, I end up putting pressure on myself to make our Christmases really special. But the kids don't ask me to do this.

I panicked last night since I'd bought their gifts but not wrapped anything. I'd cleaned and decorated the house, but needed to put the finishing touches on the little Christmas tree I have set up on our dining table. (It's up where my puppies can't reach it. Maybe next year the puppies will be mature dogs and won't be tempted to chew ornaments, so we can have a real big tree again).

My living room was covered in wrapping paper, tape, bows, supplies, tags, pens, and gifts. There wasn't really any better way to do it - I needed all those items nearby at hand.

At midnight I started crying because I knew I had carpet cleaners coming at 11am, and still a lot of wrapping ahead of me. Not only would I have to clean up my gift wrap mess, but I'd also need to move most of the furniture out of the room. I was sick and not feeling well, too.

Finally I just had to yell at myself to stop crying and get back to work. I was only prolonging my stress. After snapping the above picture, I got back to wrapping. I put on a fun Christmas movie, wrapped quickly, cleaned up my mess as I went, and prioritized tasks. Gifts I didn't need to mail out for a couple more days went into storage in another room to get them out of my way. The prioritization and letting some things go is what finally made me stop stressing out.

Finally I could go to sleep in my restful bed. The little tree was up, and the table full of gaily wrapped presents for the kids.

This morning after getting up a bit early to move furniture, I took the dogs to the dog park while we waited for our carpets to dry.

The park has flooded badly from the heavy rains we had all weekend. They loved splashing about in the "swamp." It was easy enough to dry them off when we got back to the car, launder the blanket they rode home on, and wash my sneakers and the clothes I'd worn to the park. Worth it to see their happy doggie faces as they played, and their peaceful hours-long nap after we got home.


Holiday Stress: 12 Ways to Beat It (Huffington Post)

How to Overcome the Overwhelm of the Holiday Season (All Things Frugal)

Sanity Saving Tips for a Lovely Christmas (This Lovely Place)

25 Secret Weapons to Lower Holiday Stress (Shine)

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