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Commentary: All I want for Christmas? Less stress!

Are you feeling stressed about the holidays? You are not alone.
Have the holidays got you feeling the pressure? Welcome to my world!

Ahh, the holidays. That time of year where everything should be joyous and magical, but it is anything but for many. As a kid, I never felt the stress of the holidays and I give thanks to my parents for never showing the struggles of the holidays. There have been years where money was a little tight, but we still got some great gifts, ate an amazing supper and got to visit with the cousins we saw only a few times a year.

Now as an adult, I am finding the holidays more stressful than before. When my children were younger, shopping for them was so much easier. Books and toys were the main go-to and they absolutely loved everything they got. One year, they asked for pyjamas and towels, how easy was that? Yet, as they have grown into young men, so has their taste in their “toys.” They want electronic things, that come with some heavy price tags. I often must remind them, “Yes, I can get you that expensive item, but we just won’t eat this month.” With three teenage boys, food is not one item they want to give up freely.

It's not just about the money either. I try not to be one of those who keep up with the Joneses, but I do like to go all out for the holidays. Decorations get broken, lights burn out and the extra mess of all the stuff that is stored in the basement is now brought out. If the house can only stay clean long enough to put the Christmas decorations out and stay that way until it is time to put it all back. Oh, how I wish. But it doesn’t, even with how hard I try and how many times I beg my kids to help, I never feel caught up.

Now, once the shopping is done, everything needs to be wrapped up, neat and tidy. In my household, you would be lucky if the gift bag didn’t have a tear in it. That’s right, I am a re-user of gift bags. The extra cost of new gift bags adds up quickly. Not to mention having to dig out the flimsy wrapping paper that rips worse than cheap toilet paper. Now there are bits of paper everywhere and if you are the lucky one, your gift will be wrapped in at least two different kinds of wrapping paper, because I was down to the last of the wrapping paper and didn’t have enough on either roll.

There is also the stress of family. I consider myself fortunate that we all get along for the most part. We may have our differences of opinions and the odd spat here and there throughout the year, just like most families, yet the holidays seem to put that all to the side and we enjoy each other’s company. Or maybe it’s the “Christmas cheer” we are sipping on? Regardless, we pull together to put on a great meal, exchange our heartfelt gifts and share in the laughter, or at least until the dishes need to be done.

I understand why some of us feel like we need a holiday from the holidays, but just remember, these are the moments we remember. When we laugh, all that stress seems to melt away to a point where we can finally relax and find just a moment of peace during all of the hustle and bustle of the season. Or until it’s time to put it all away

Happy holidays from one stressed momma.

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