Overwhelming: Hiding the Stress of the Holidays

stressI’ve always been a huge fan of Christmas. Before Casey made a rule about Christmas music, I would begin listening to Christmas music right after Halloween. For me, the Christmas music just added to the Thanksgiving season and kicked off the holiday season right away.

Getting a tree up in our house needs to happen as early as possible, and I will never be upset if my house ends up with two Christmas trees. Decorations need to be hung the same day that the tree is acquired and Christmas lights need to be put up in the yard a few days after OR ELSE.

Our yearly tradition of watching Christmas movies each Sunday evening as a family begins the first Sunday after Thanksgiving, and tree scented soaps and candles are spread throughout our house around that time as well.

I love Christmas because it reminds me of spending time with my family, when all of our stresses were tucked away for the day. The only stress I had to worry about as a kid on Christmas day was not stepping on my new toys and wondering how long our visit to my cousin’s house would last.

As I’ve gotten older and had kids of my own, Christmas still brings that same excitement as when I was a kid and I fully expect all of my stresses to be stuck in the corner for the day. But I’ve learned with age that declaring the stress will disappear is easier said than done and I’ve begun to wonder if my parents enjoyed Christmas all those many years ago as much as I enjoyed Christmas, or if the stress of the holidays was overwhelming for them too on occasion.

Concerns about money are always sure to pop up around this time. For us, it is the most expensive month of the year thanks to Addie’s birthday falling right in the middle of December. December is also the month where I am supposed to find out if I get a bonus or a raise and worrying about whether those things will happen or not adds to the overall stress of the holidays.

I also worry about whether we have done what we needed to for our kids. Did we get the kids the right presents? Did we get the kids enough presents? Did we keep the whole Santa thing secret enough so we didn’t give it away? Those are all thoughts that run through my mind on Christmas morning. There are also lots of thoughts about others who aren’t as fortunate as we have been. I wonder if those kids are doing alright on Christmas and if we have done enough to help them as best as our circumstances allow.

I hope there comes a time in parenthood where I can sit back and let all my stresses melt away just as I did as a kid. For now, I’ll just have to do my best to focus on my kids and my wife and hope that worries and fears stay hidden under the happiness those girls bring me.

Read more about my family on Moosh in Indy or follow me on Twitter!

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