I love Christmas, I love the decorations, lights, happiness, caring, and all around cheer that most people have during this time of year. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a part of me that doesn’t dread it. This is also the time of year that can send people into a bit of a funk. Bills start piling up, family and friend commitments (or lack of) can make any person crazy. The weather change in our part of the country doesn’t help either. There are so many reasons why this time of year is hard on families and on those without equally.
Seasonal affective disorder AKA Winter Blues is a real diagnosis; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/definition/con-20021047 It can effect a lot of people and most people go about their business and do not even know that they are effected. Most people think that they are having a couple bad days, a couple sad days. There is a reason that depression and suicide sky rocket during the last couple months of the year. For some people “getting away” helps, vacationing in a warm climate is always nice. Others enjoy the company of their friends and family, or ignoring the demand of always being around friends and family. Figuring out why you are feeling angry, anxious, or sad is always step one. Not telling yourself to “just get over it” is a hard second step, people act like you always have to be happy, and joyful during this time of year is a load of crap. Finding an outlet for the feelings you’re having is a very hard thing to do. No one can help you, everyone is different. The gym, cooking, taking a kickboxing class, or a painting class, all these things are options but at the end of the day you need to figure out how to best get to the next day. Finding peace of mind, finding a light during “winter blues” is difficult but for those facing their problems I want you to know, there is a way out, it isn’t always going to feel like this, and there is always someone out there waiting to talk to you and be there for you while you figure out how to deal with the problems. Everyone at some point in time deals with these issues, you will make it through. It isn’t always easy but you can find a different outlet, mine is shopping(Which can be tricky on a budget) or Christmas movie marathons(Thanks ABCFamily and their 25 days of Christmas).
For many years, I used Christmas as my way of making sure our kids got what they wanted and you can chalk it up to my childhood if you would like. I definitely went overboard way too often, but I used what was available to me. Lay away programs through certain stores allowed me to not only buy early but pay off from home while everyone else was rushing around malls and crowds. I also use Amazon Prime like it’s going out of style. Amazon gave me a chance to price shop AND it had the best quality of all, shipped all items straight to my door or whoever’s door I needed it shipped to.
This year I am doing something new to us, it’s a post I saw on Pinterest and I appreciated what they were trying to get across. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/43558321373139009/ 4 presents, keep it simple. I believe that you can create more memories and also give yourself less JUNK to deal with when you implement this action. The teenager and baby are easy. Chloe (13) basically only wants cash and Starbucks gift cards anyways, and Alexandria (16 months) still has pretty much no idea what’s going on. Its Brianna (8) that is tough. Much to my husband’s dismay I believe in letting the girls believe in Christmas, I go all out with Santa and even started the Elf on the Shelf thing (Not my choice) this year. I want Brianna to love Christmas I want her to feel the magic of Christmas eve and opening presents with family. On the plus side, Brianna isn’t picky she has a list but she knows she won’t get everything on it although of course this year she is hoping for a Hatchimal (Impossible, but hoping for a miracle through friends and scattered family). All our kids are great about expectations, and not acting bratty or throwing a temper tantrum if they don’t get everything they asked for.
Another bonus to this new process is the budget end of it. 4 presents times 3 kids is still a lot of presents and then add in the couple that Santa brings and it still adds up. Luckily, I shop all year round, I still use Amazon and coupons wherever I can get them. I am apart of most stores reward programs and I use friends and family to make sure I am getting the best deals. I do a lot of research as well, we have been bitten by the “rush to buy” bug way too many times. Let’s not forget that the girls will also be receiving gifts from family as well.
I am trying this year to stay under a budget I have set in my head. Each girl gets basically the same amount. One BIG ticket item, a couple pieces of winter clothing, a book that is slightly above their reading level so that they are challenged by it, and one item that they need but don’t always know to ask for it. Maybe this system will work for us, it’s worth a shot. When we have so much going on in our lives I would rather focus on the fun stuff rather than stressing over the stuff that I cannot control.
The schedule that we have for December is a little crazy as well, which is another reason why I am okay with not going crazy with gifts this year. Every weekend in December the girls have plans, which means I will be their taxi service. Between sleep overs, birthday parties, holiday get togethers, family time, and trips to the east coast, I will only see the girls during the week. That is CRAZY! It’s also part of our lives, having family in state makes it easy to stay in touch, but when everyone wants a piece of the girls I have to get selective, and creative. I also have to come to terms with the fact that not everyone will be happy with the choices made. Someone isn’t going to get enough time, someone won’t get any time, and I am sure I’ll forget that I promised to do something with someone else and that won’t go over well either. A giant plus to always running around is that I have a 24/7 Christmas radio station where we live and it basically fuels my fire all of December.
At the end of December all I can do is sit back and hope that a moment, just one moment became a memory for my family. That one thing we did, an outing together, a gift opened, or a joke told during dinner will remain with them for a long time. That is more important to me than the running around like crazy, the tears I am sure to shed as I am wrapping the gifts, the countdown in my head for how soon holiday vacation will be over and I can send them back to school, and the stress that comes along with the holidays no matter what I try and do to avoid it. If my family had a good time and a couple beautiful moments, then I am happy and you can pass me the eggnog!