There has been something lingering in my mind for a few months or so: The thought of Christmas causes me major anxiety.
Last year it didn’t hit full force until I was shopping for Christmas presents for my children. I was abiding by a list and budget when I nearly had a panic attack in the store. This year it’s been slowly building. I’ve tried to be oblivious to holiday decorations that appeared in stores in OCTOBER. I even held my ground when my children pointed out some.
When we walked into Garden Ridge the week of Halloween and the place was flooded with every color and size of Christmas tree, all sorts of inflatable lawn doohickeys and other holly jolly decorations my blatant denial was over. My children oohed, ahhed, pointed and chattered. I.panicked.
My blogging comrades are posting holiday guides, gift ideas, giveaways, Pinterest pages of gifts, coupons for gifts, crafting gifts, scrapping gifts, links to discounted gifts and whatever kind of gift page, idea, link you can think of. It’s everywhere. Deep breathing exercises and trying to slowly get on the bandwagon hasn’t helped.
I cringe at Holiday Gift Guides – it means I need money. I long for more talk about spending time together. Times seemed much simpler, and more family focused, when I was a kid. I looked forward to travelling to my grandmother’s house (one or the other, or an aunt) to enjoy a large spread of all the foods I love as well as spend time with aunts, sometimes uncles (exactly where did they disappear to?), my grandmother, cousins and other relatives coming and going.
Different memories flash through my mind: The frozen coffee pie Aunt Liz made one year, my cousins and I as teenagers eating at three different houses (loved having relatives living so close) and the taste of classic, homemade dishes my oldest daughter Amber continues to prepare. (She’s been making those dinner rolls from scratch all by herself for years… and I remember when she prepared her first turkey.)
This year, I talked to my children about not getting as many gifts, especially toys, and receiving more useful and quality items. My son seemed accepting of the idea. Anna, my youngest, says yes now; however, we all know 5 year olds reserve the right to change their minds 10 times or more if necessary. I definitely want my children to be happy (at Christmas and all year long for that matter) and material possessions are not the key to happiness, but I don’t want to disappoint them.
These pictures are from a few years ago. Anna was about 2 years old. With the help of my best friend and my oldest daughter, the little ones had a wonderful Christmas and got a lot of the things they wanted.
My baby got a baby she wanted, my budding photographer got her camera, and my little man was happy with his big boy robe and all the little gadgets a boy can dream of. They all still use/play with those items today. I think that’s also the year they received bikes.
Right now, about 99 percent of my money is allocated to living expenses and the needs of my children. I’ll figure out a way to get them the couple of things they’ll like, but just thinking about it and the money to do it does not keep the anxiety away.
Well, at least I got that off my chest.