Holiday Induced Anxiety 

I want to cherish the holidays.   I want to create an experience and tradition for my family that they will cherish through their adult lives.  I am so focused on manufacturing their experience, that I am missing it. I am allowing my anxiety to steal my holiday experience. 

I grew up away from immediate family.   I had limited access to big family traditions and celebrations. This limited experience exacerbates my desire to establish traditions for my own children.  

I find myself spending money that I shouldn’t, making plans that do not matter, and over-extending myself to the point of exhaustion.   All of this is a function of my anxiety.   I anticipate the consequences of not performing specific holiday rituals and I find myself panicked that my children may not remember a “perfect” Christmas. 

But what does that even mean?   What does a “perfect Christmas” look like?   I can guarantee it does not involve an overly stressed mom yelling and/or in tears over a holiday plan that fell apart. 

For example, my family’s Christmas tree disaster.   My 5-year old son was in a mood.   The kind of mood where you seriously consider shoving the kid back up your vagina and trying again.  Every part of the Christmas tree process was a fight.   Every aspect of the experience was stressful.   He lost control of his behaviors and emotions leading my husband and I to lose our tempers multiple times.   You don’t expect tears to be shed over Christmas ornaments, but here we were. 

The night ended and I needed a drink.   I reflected on the failure that was my Christmas tree plan and analyzed what had happened.   I wondered what my son’s memory of the day will be like.   Will he remember the holiday fun, or will he remember a stressed out mom at her breaking point? Sadly, I am fully aware of the likely answer. 

I am forcibly taking a step back.   I am working towards modifying the holiday so that I can truly be a part of it.   For me, that looks like store bought cookie dough, carefully selected but minimal decorations, Amazon Prime, and gift bags. My hope is that I can let go of what I want Christmas to look like and soak in what Christmas actually is.  

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