De-Stressing the Holidays
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Below.
This holiday season is going to be wonderful, Â 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 donâ€™t really care what others think.
At a Thanksgiving Â luncheon this week, I was asked about whether Iâ€™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 werenâ€™t cooking Â this year because they were taking turns with other women in the family and they were â€œoffâ€ this year.
For me, Iâ€™ll be continuing the tradition I started when I Â was Â pregnant Â with Â Shannon, Â the Â annual Â tradition Â I missed only one ThanksgivingÂ Day, back in 1992 when I was in the maternity ward with my brand new baby.
This Thanksgiving, as always, Iâ€™ll have lunch with my girls. At the beach. Weâ€™ll have the usual ham and cheese croissants, chips, Â drinks, Â and cookies Â for Â dessert Â while picnicking on the beach, then weâ€™ll take pictures of us cavorting in the sand so we can send them to friends in colder climates who donâ€™t realize itâ€™s white sand instead of snow that weâ€™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 Â Disney, and that was our present to each other. Most of my stress came Â from Â other people and their expectations.
This year, the girls want gift cards, and after a couple of small pre-planned items, theyâ€™ll get gift cards. To me, itâ€™s honoring what they really want and letting them know I Â trust Â their Â judgment Â in Â the Â items Â they Â buy Â with Â the cards. I donâ€™t Â care Â that Â itâ€™s not Â a â€œlastingâ€ gift Â or Â not â€œspecialâ€ in someone Â elseâ€™s Â eyes. Â Itâ€™s between Â the girls and me and as long as all interested parties (as in, every- one else is a disinterested party) are satisfied, weâ€™re good!
No Christmas cards or letters to long-lost friends or relatives. If theyâ€™re Â interested Â enough Â to be in my life, theyâ€™re in my life and already know whatâ€™s going on, both all the joys and the not-so-joys. Â And for pityâ€™s sakes, no annual holiday news-gram to let Â people know I havenâ€™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 Â happening Â in Â the Â publishing Â world Â after Â years Â of waiting. Del Stone at the local Â Northwest Florida Daily News cured Â me of sending Â out yearly Â holiday Â letters Â a decade ago (after he received the aforementioned Â news) so nobody gets them now.
Weâ€™ll decorate Â the house together and separately Â so Iâ€™m not the Â only one on a ladder or untangling Â cords. Weâ€™ll Â make Â it Â a Â fun Â thing, Â with Â some Â decidedly Â non- holiday music playing.
On Solstice, weâ€™ll celebrate Â 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 weâ€™ll do what we did last year: roast turkey franks over the fire pit in the back yard, have Â wine and hot chocolate, Â and watch Â old movies Â as we lounge Â on floor pillows.
Weâ€™ll keep it simple and as stress-free as possible and concentrate on having a great time. As for anything else that comes up, weâ€™ll just take things as they come.