I refuse to get stressed out this holiday season.

You know what?  I am so over being stressed out from November to January.  The minute (and usually before) the Halloween decorations come down, retailers begin bombarding us with holiday advertising.  Before I’ve even bought a turkey for Thanksgiving, stores have Christmas decorations up.

The pressure is on…holiday flyers arriving weekly in the mail.  TV is a straight up onslaught of things your kid has to have for Christmas or they’ll shrivel up and die. Is your shopping done yet?  Who are you forgetting?  Will one kid be mad if her sister gets a phone and she doesn’t?  How much money can you squeeze out of your budget for more presents between now and Christmas and still feed the kids?  Don’t even get me started on Black Friday…ugh.

And speaking of food, did you get the turkey yet? Olives?  Chicken broth?  Better make one last run to the store (I do this at least once a day leading up to any holiday dinner).  Every magazine that arrives in your mailbox will showcase dozens of simple (they lie) recipes that you simply have to serve to your loved ones this year.   Martha’s Simple 32 step brining process!

All of this usually has me a stressed out, anxiety-ridden, crabby-as-hell, running all over town hot mess.  But this year?  I’m saying no.  No to running around like a wild woman.  No to freaking out about mismatched serving bowls.  No to worrying about enough presents under the tree.   I’m actually going to try to remember the reason for the season.  Family.  Togetherness.  Thankfulness.  Friends.

I’m not cooking for the Queen of England and Prince Philip…no one is going to die if someone has to use a plastic bowl for dessert.  Wolfgang Puck isn’t going to be standing over my shoulder checking to make sure I’m not using gravy from a jar.  (I totally am)  It’s family.  People who see you in your pajamas on a regular basis.  People who have to deal with you pre-coffee every morning and love you anyway.  Having company over?  Make sure they know it’s casual.  Changing out of pajamas is optional.  Sweatpants and wool socks are encouraged.

I want a day of food, movies and naps.  And because it’s my daughter’s 13th birthday, it will also include birthday cake.  Birthday cake makes everything better.

And Christmas?  I’ve had really, really poor Christmases as a single mom when my girls were small and I’ve also had not so poor Christmases with my girls.  And do you know what the difference was?  Not much.  We had a tree.  They got gifts and we were together.  We laughed and loved and made memories.  I wish now that I hadn’t worried so much about how much the presents cost or how many each girl had under the tree.

So I’m taking a step back this year.  Sure, there will be presents, I’m not a monster.  But instead of quantity, I’m going for quality.  A few things each that they really want, a few things each that they really need and whatever my family who spoil them rotten sends them.  We’re not a particularly religious family, but we do practice kindness and giving to others, so we’ll make sure that someone else who might be going without will have what they need on Christmas, too.

And most of all I’m going to relax.  I’m going to listen to my kids fighting laughing, eat until I’m fit to bust, watch the people that I love being together under one roof & taking pictures.  Lots and lots of pictures.  Because the time goes by so fast and before we know it another year will be gone, no matter how much I try to slow it down.

Hal & Maddy

Stop growing, already.  And also move out from underneath the branches so your mother can get a decent picture.



Allyson Sorenson

About Allyson Sorenson

Bangor mom. BDN blogger. Volvo lover. Coffee drinker.