Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Is Simply Surviving Christmas Your Goal?

 The Down Side of Christmas Holidays

When my girls were teens, they worked at a movie theater. One year both of them worked on Christmas Day. I remember they were surprised by the number of people, one by one, that came to the movies that day.

Some folks don't "do" Christmas for valid religious reasons. We know that. But there are a lot of people who might like to celebrate on that day but lack funds, housing, family or friends. There are those whose memories of Christmas aren't great. Or maybe they suffer from depression and lack the spirit that is supposed to come with the season.

For those that find it hard to get into the swing of parties or dinners or sleigh rides, taking a low-key approach may help. Perhaps it is the pressure of finding just the right gifts, or worrying about paying for the gifts that causes stress. Maybe it is undercurrents of tension between family members.

Our family has a simplified set up. All the little ones get gifts. They are fresh to the traditions and love every minute of the holiday. The adults -  not so much. If my kids exchange gifts with their spouses - good on them. For me and my hubby, old memories and stresses sneak into the season. It's great when the grandkids are coming or we go there. But for us alone at home, we are content to NOT exchange gifts, to eat an easy, tasty meal and to kick back with a movie and a glass of vino. And we avoid the stores, except for groceries, during November and December. That's it.

We give each other the gift of NOT having to shop or to create a perfect Turkey dinner.

Bottom line:

 Figure out what you can handle and politely say 'no thanks' to the rest. Find ways to keep the gifts joyful, not necessarily expensive. Make them, give gift cards, hand out certificates for babysitting, house cleaning or some other task that will help someone. Try a less stressful new tradition. Frozen pizza might just do the trick for you and yours. Lower expectations do not mean lesser ones. Just different ones.

Here are some links to sites that list ways to take some of the stress out of Christmas.
Health Newsletters
Psychology Today

As you go into the new year, here are some suggestions to live by.

And a very
 to you and yours.


  1. Well-said, Mahrie. Over-doing gifts leads to stress. We have a grandson this year, so I will enjoy making traditions with him. But I spent many adult years with my family as a non-married person. Glad those days are over. No one ever did or said anything, but I always felt like a 5th wheel after mom was gone.

    Merry Christmas to you from Kansas to Canada!

  2. Thanks, Melodie. We have seven grandchildren ages 3 to 10. They all live far away so don't usually make it here for Christmas. We love them dearly, but are content with just the cat here this year. We will visit through the year if all goes well. Merry Christmas from Alberta to Kansas. Have a great one whatever you decide to do.