Confessions of a Christmas Cranky-pants

I love Christmas! I love Christmas Eve too. Watching my family give and receive gifts, over -eating delicious food and enjoying all this warmth and festivity in my beautifully decorated home is the best! But the doing it part… not so much, actually… not at all. I don’t like shopping or wrapping, I don’t like the decorating, and I’m not too crazy about cooking and baking anymore either. I especially don’t like the pressure of having it all done on time.

Forgive my crankiness… I wasn’t always like this, quite the opposite really. Stories of my Black Friday maneuvers are legendary. I moved with battle- planned precision from the “5 a.m. Opening” to the

“6 a.m. Opening” and continued on until every early-bird special on my carefully detailed list was purchased. Food preparation and decorating garnered the same focused intensity.

The To Do lists were lengthy. I baked and froze everyone’s favorites, I wrapped and kept all gift piles “even” in volume and cost, and I decorated the house with greens and lights and bows until it sparkled and shined. I was a lean, mean, Christmas- making machine and everyone enjoyed and appreciated the result of my efforts.

The more efficient I became at preparing for Christmas, the more I added to do. I didn’t gain anything by starting early. I just did more, spent more and complained more. I locked myself in the routine in the name of tradition. How could Christmas go on without bacon and brown sugar wrapped breadsticks?

See where this is going? At some point the solution became the problem…oops. Getting Christmas Done became a project that required physical, emotional and financial stress.  Focusing on the process rather than the goal eventually led to exhaustion and resentment (particularly unfair since it’s what I chose.)

Cranky became part of the process. It was woven into holiday preparations with the tinsel and greeting cards… until I noticed. Instead of intensifying my efforts to do “a better job of Christmas”, I realized it was time for a goal change (just dodging Einstein’s definition of insanity.)

Terry’s Christmas Makeover:

  • Stay in bed after Thanksgiving. Save money by purchasing less stuff. After sleeping in, find some deals online.
  • Buy poinsettias early and often…I love poinsettias!
  • Delegate my least favorites- Christmas cards, some baking and shopping, and hanging outdoor Christmas lights (must give up quality control.)
  • Multitask- combine tasking with fun by shopping with a friend
  • Don’t do what I don’t want to do: putting out all of the decorations, rolling almond crescents, hanging tinsel.
  • Recite-“If it’s delicious, what’s the difference who makes it?
  • Incorporate liberal use of reusable gift bags.

I will always love Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. By examining mistakes made over the years I’m recovering my enjoyment of the preparations, as well.  I’ve tweaked my goals and am de-cluttering what doesn’t belong, keeping what supports them and eliminating what does not.  They best way to enjoy the season is to know when to stop. Let done be done, unless you’re having fun.