I love Christmas as much as the next gal. OK, maybe I really don’t. It’s not that I don’t like Christmas. It’s just that I like other holidays more. Am I the only one that doesn’t feel like Christmas is the End All-Be All holiday? Just saying it makes me feel like I’m blaspheming.
Thanksgiving is a much better holiday in my opinion. The focus of Thanksgiving is on loved ones and food, period. What else matters?
Maybe Christmas is like Thanksgiving on steroids and with a different theme. It’s family and food, but it’s also religion/spirituality, decorations, gifts, Christmas movies, dancing reindeer, plus-sized men with white beards. With each of these additions, potentially comes time, effort, expense and worst of all, stress.
As a recovering perfectionist, in the past I had to do all of these things in spades. My perfectionist tendencies were peaking around the time our kids were pretty young and career-building was in full swing. The end result was adding one more straw to the proverbial Wise Men’s camel’s back.
In post-Perfectionland, I still love Christmas decorations and parties. Other people’s. I love the music, the embellished sweaters. Ditto.
Don’t get me wrong, I do still participate in Christmas, but in a very scaled down way. I don’t spend as much money on gifts as I used to, shopping may happen by mail. The tree is smaller and simpler, so is the décor and gift wrap. There aren’t as many parties to go to because of the economy, but if there were, I would say No to all except those involving the people I care most about. Christmas cards? What Christmas cards?
I don’t think our neighbors appreciate our minimalistic approach to exterior holiday decorating, which has pretty much been boiled down to a door wreath. We found some covertly-added holiday-themed ornaments in our yard a couple of years that I suspect was the work of a mischievous neighbor. They’ve either gotten used to the minimalism, they decided we’re hopeless, or the home baked cookies assuaged their need to supplement.
The end result of Christmas down-sizing: I can actually relax during December and enjoy the spirit, the décor, the music, the craziness without getting caught up in it. I look forward to the Salvation Army lady at the grocery store (where are they this year?). I can enjoy the time with my family because I’ve had my work-out, some sleep, and time to write. I don’t feel guilty, resentful or stressed. Does that make me Scrooge or Sane?