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Dec. 13, 2021

Holiday Stress - Time to Simplify

Why does everyone get so stressed out this time of year?  What can be done? Here's a suggestion.




Why does everyone get so stressed out this time of year? Why do we allow ourselves to do that? 

It seems to be a different world from my youth and childhood. It seems Christmas time then everybody was happy and maybe it was naivety of youth. But I don't believe so. I remember walking down the street and people smiling and saying hi and just seeming to enjoy the season.

I think part of it was we weren't quite the gift-giving culture, at least in my middle-class neighborhood, that we are now.

On Christmas morning as a child, I could look forward to one gift, basically one major gift. I would get underwear and socks and a belt. And that was mostly what was in my stocking. A little bit of candy. 

I remember my grandma every year, gave me chocolate covered cherries. I don't know where she got the idea that I loved chocolate covered cherries, but I hated them. I'd have to throw them away one at a time over the pursuing weeks until they were all gone. And I never did tell her that, uh... she was so proud when she gave those to me. I never did tell her how I disliked them. 

Okay. A little aside, I got off track a little bit, but the simple things of Christmas. To me, that's one of the simple memories of Christmas. That's one of the simple memories of the holiday season. It has devolved into this gift-giving frenzy where you have to get, you know, you walk out to the tree and it's just stacked with gifts on Christmas morning.

Well, I don't know if that's necessary. I used to watch my kids. I used to watch my kids and they'd rip open presents, and they didn't really appreciate anything. It was nothing against them. I mean, they were just overwhelmed with the amount of stuff first at our house, then my parents' house, then her parents' house.

And it was just crazy. It was insane. 

I'd watch it. And actually sometimes it would almost depressme. 

So my suggestion for you is, this season, to help with your holiday stress, slow down a little bit, limit things. 

I'm going to tell you a story. 

Peggy and I, 26 years ago, when we got together, both of our families had been the gift giving crazies, just everything, and we overspent and it was insane year after year after year.

So when we first got together, 26 years ago, we made a pact. We were not going to give any gifts. Now, some people may have think that went too far, but we do not open presents on Christmas morning. We don't give each other presents for any holiday. We celebrate every single day we are together. We celebrate every single day we're on this earth.

We still celebrate the holidays. We will take a drive, fix a special meal, do something of celebration without the pressure of gift giving. 

I have to tell you, this would probably not be for most people. But it is so freeing. It is so nice to enjoy the season, the walk down the street, look at the lights, a big smile on my face and not worry about, oh my God, I got to get to the store before it closes cause we've got to find a and B and C and D and E F G H I J K L M a PQRS T V w X, Y, and Z. 

And then I better do it all over again because my gosh, it's not balanced. I got this person more than that person. Oh my god , I remember those days. 

Anyways let me make a suggestion that you back off a little bit, that you don't make it all about gifts.

You make it about love, joy, happiness. 

I'm not saying we never give gifts throughout the year. As people need things we gift.

Throughout the year, we see something that's right for somebody we gift. 

We just don't make it a pressure, pressure cooker to perform at particular times of the year. 

That's today's message.

May you figure out a way to reduce some of that holiday stress and have a great day. Move well and stay healthy.