Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Season of Our Discontent

I love- LOVE- this holiday season we're in.  You may have gleaned this before due to the fact I have casually mentioned it a time or two thousand.  I'm aware that there are people who harbor more Scroogely feelings than my own, but by and large those people are to be pitied and/or fed gingerbread cookies until they crack and admit that Yes, this IS the most wonderful time of the year.  (Singing optional.  Well, singing encouraged.  Preferably in a stagey, karoake-type voice.)

But then, last month, I began to have the strangest feelings.  Feelings entirely foreign to me this time of year.  (Nobody panic- I'm not about to go all Judy Blume on you.)  Instead of joyful and shivery and just this side of manic, December 1st found me unsettled and discontent and out of sorts.

I wallowed for the space of a morning, then took action.  My weapon:  An imaginary red pen.  My victim:  The calendar.

Most of the year, I have little problem saying No Thank You Very Much to requests and snares of my time.  I am very protective of our family time and my own mental health and know that for me, that means not overbooking, and our children are still at an age where I wield most of the control of our family's schedule.

But at Christmas time?  Everything is fun and festive and worthy so why not do everything? Cookie-Exchange-Christmas-Cards-Tour-Of-Homes-Clothing-Pantry-Advent-Bible-Study-Caroling-Favorite-Things-Party-This-Kid-Needs-A-Donation-To-The-Animal-Shelter-This-One-Needs-A-Girl-Gift-This-One-Needs-My-Spare-Liver-ARE WE FEELING JOYFUL YET?

So I decided a bunch of it needed to go.  I could either do all of it in a way that made me an absolute jewel to be around and made everyone around me speed-dial Kevorkian for a good old-fashioned mercy killing, or I could hop off the crazy train, because the only one keeping me on there is me.  So I said NO THANK YOU VERY MUCH to myself a bunch of other people, and it felt incredible.

Then I found the Christmas lights I lost and couldn't find for THREE DAYS (because I'd put them where I always put them, SO CONFUSING), which is probably what really started the whole holiday identity crisis in the first place- a sad, unlit Christmas tree- and everything got a lot better, because Christmas lights are LIFE-GIVING.  I'm pretty sure Kierkegaard said that.
But I'm not putting down my mental red pen.  Slashing through wide swaths of our schedule while cackling (in a festive, Christmas-y way, of course) is pretty much the best thing since the holiday sugar cookies that I will not be making this year, because this December I'm channeling Nancy Reagan and Just Saying No.  I'll use the resulting salt from my children's tears to flavor the Christmas ham, because my gosh, something has to sacred.


  1. An excellent idea. I would imagine with 3 kids, there are enough school activities/parties/holiday-concerts to keep you running even if you said no to everything else! I remember one horrible year when Emma was in band and choir, I thought I might go insane if I had to go out on one more cold snowy evening to hear kids performing various things badly :-)

  2. How about this? I'll make the sugar cookies and bring them when we come. The kids can help me make the frosting and we'll decorate the cookies together. I'll bring all the food color and the fun sprinkles. Mark thought this was a great idea, as he knows this means he gets sugar cookies.

  3. Good job, it's smart to say no. I'm practicing, but you might be better at it than I am. Could you make a phone call for me?


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