Ever since I became a mom, Christmas time has become so much more stressful than it ever had been. Before, I just had the usual stress of finding the perfect gift for everyone on my list, finding time to shop, fighting the crowds, etc. And just to be clear, that's the biggest stress for me. But when Aidan was born, the stress somehow morphed and all of a sudden, the pressure was ON to create the perfect, magical Christmas experience, on top of everything else (see also: my last post).
I'd like to say it's gotten better over the years as I've become a more experienced (ha!) mom, but that would be a big, fat lie. I think it's actually gotten more stressful now that I have more kids, all at different ages of understanding about this whole Christmas thing.
But all this stress means that the holidays pass by without me fully enjoying them. It's a race to get to the finish, and at the end, I'm just exhausted and mad that I didn't appreciate the scenery along the way. Short of getting Santa to pull more weight on this whole Christmas thing (seriously, would it kill the guy to haul a few more presents to my house for all of the rest of my loved ones? ☺), I've got to do something to simplify.
Paring down the presents for the kids is as start. But to be honest, this alone will not reduce my holiday stresses because my kids are the easiest to shop for there's still SO many other gifts to get and/or make.
So I've also decided that I'm not ordering and mailing out Christmas cards this year. I didn't get to it last year because I just didn't have time, and while I kind of felt bad about it, it was a huge load off my plate and that was nice. Plus, it saves me money--stamps are expensive! So instead of using the cute Christmas address labels St. Jude sent, I just tucked them away and wrote a them check instead. I'll probably end up photoshopping something for the blog, but that's about it. Sorry family.
And as much as it originally upset me, we've also done away with getting a real tree. No need to carve out time to go pick out a tree, and I can decorate earlier without having to worry that the tree will dry out and become a fire hazard. That's like 3 stresses eliminated right there! (You like how I justify a fake tree to myself, lol!).
I don't know if this is enough, but I hope it's a start to reduce my holiday stresses. Hey, it's better than nothing. And if this weekend was any indication, I think it's working (knock on wood). After I got back from Christmas shopping with the boys, I actually said to Adam that I hardly feel stressed at all right now (and then I had to pick his jaw up off the floor).
The tree went up on Dec 1, teacher gifts are done, cousins presents are almost all done, Adam's presents are bought. Overall, I think I'm about halfway done with shopping, which may be unheard of for me this early in December.
If I can wrap a present or two every night (which I hate) and find some time this weekend to do even more shopping (and/or crafting), dare I say I might have time to relax before Christmas? We'll see, there's still plenty of time for the ish to hit the fan and my own personal stress monster to rear its ugly head, so I'm not holding my breath. ☺
Things could get cray. Like this silly girl who apparently likes to eat our decorations.
Any other tips for reducing holiday stresses (aside from the obvious spiked eggnog, of course ☺)?