De-Stressing the Holidays
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Below.
This holiday season is going to be wonderful, and I refuse to be stressed. To a large degree, that means doing things a very different way from what most people would expect.
But if it works for me and for my kids, I don’t really care what others think.
At a Thanksgiving luncheon this week, I was asked about whether I’d be cooking on Thanksgiving Day. The women in the room were all talking about how exhaust- ing the work would be, with one or two women announcing happily that they weren’t cooking this year because they were taking turns with other women in the family and they were “off” this year.
For me, I’ll be continuing the tradition I started when I was pregnant with Shannon, the annual tradition I missed only one Thanksgiving Day, back in 1992 when I was in the maternity ward with my brand new baby.
This Thanksgiving, as always, I’ll have lunch with my girls. At the beach. We’ll have the usual ham and cheese croissants, chips, drinks, and cookies for dessert while picnicking on the beach, then we’ll take pictures of us cavorting in the sand so we can send them to friends in colder climates who don’t realize it’s white sand instead of snow that we’re barefoot in!
Last year started some other traditions for us in my effort to stay stress-free over the holidays when everyone else seems intent on making them as stressful as they can. Instead of tons of Christmas shopping for the girls, we took a trip to Disney, and that was our present to each other. Most of my stress came from other people and their expectations.
This year, the girls want gift cards, and after a couple of small pre-planned items, they’ll get gift cards. To me, it’s honoring what they really want and letting them know I trust their judgment in the items they buy with the cards. I don’t care that it’s not a “lasting” gift or not “special” in someone else’s eyes. It’s between the girls and me and as long as all interested parties (as in, every- one else is a disinterested party) are satisfied, we’re good!
No Christmas cards or letters to long-lost friends or relatives. If they’re interested enough to be in my life, they’re in my life and already know what’s going on, both all the joys and the not-so-joys. And for pity’s sakes, no annual holiday news-gram to let people know I haven’t fallen off the face of the planet, to joke about working for the Anti-Christ at the office, to announce gleefully that I finally got over my back injury, or say that things are finally happening in the publishing world after years of waiting. Del Stone at the local Northwest Florida Daily News cured me of sending out yearly holiday letters a decade ago (after he received the aforementioned news) so nobody gets them now.
We’ll decorate the house together and separately so I’m not the only one on a ladder or untangling cords. We’ll make it a fun thing, with some decidedly non- holiday music playing.
On Solstice, we’ll celebrate barefoot in the backyard, under the stars, and maybe sing as we watch the fire. And on Christmas Eve, instead of fretting over cooking a big meal, maybe we’ll do what we did last year: roast turkey franks over the fire pit in the back yard, have wine and hot chocolate, and watch old movies as we lounge on floor pillows.
We’ll keep it simple and as stress-free as possible and concentrate on having a great time. As for anything else that comes up, we’ll just take things as they come.