I know I have written about Multiple Sclerosis fatigue in the past, but with the holiday season bearing down on us like a hungry bear in stream full of salmon, yeah that's how I think of the holidays sometimes, it might be good to revisit the subject. The holidays can bring out the best and worst in all of us. Add bone weary fatigue to the mix of gift shopping, feast making, and cookie baking, can make for a very stressful and disappointing time of the year. I know for myself I never feel like I am doing enough to make magical memories for my family. Every year I have visions of turning my home into a Christmas explosion of merriment and sparkle. I imagine baking loads and loads of cookies to give to our neighbors and friends in sweetly decorated boxes.
When I do venture down to the basement, just looking at the boxes of decorations makes me run/limp/crawl to the couch for a nap. Then the thought of baking cookies rears its ugly head as a reality and no longer a confection fantasy. I get overwhelmed with the amount of ingredients I need and don't have to make traditional Kolachke, Polish cookies, or Barazek, Lebanese Sesame cookies, and I have to have Anise cookies in the mix too. I have a very culturally diverse family. Speaking of overwhelmed, trying to find gifts for everyone is crazy hard for a person who hates to drive. I also have crowd anxiety. The whole shop til you drop experience is tiring and a little depressing. The holidays become especially disheartening when visiting with relatives who like to use the get togethers as a drunkfest- free- for- all.
This year I plan to do things a little differently. Well, actually a lot differently. My girls love the holidays. I plan to let them have free reign with the decorating this year. I have faith that they will make the house look great. Why not let them show off what they think Christmas decorations should look like to them? We will do it one room at a time so no one gets overwhelmed and cranky. Do you know that teen girls can be a little (a lot) snarky when they are cranky? Surprising, I know.
Cookies will be the pre-made sugar cookies I can get at our local GFC. GFC is a wholesale food store that is open to the public. The Husband uses them for work all the time. The cookies are pre-cut into holiday shapes and taste great. All we have to do is bake and decorate. They even have pre-cut gingerbread men!
Gifts are always tough for me because I agonize over choosing the perfect one for everybody. I love to make things, but not everyone appreciates the homemade Christmas gifts. There are certain family members who only see the dollar signs and have to compare what they spent to what you gave. Those people will be cut off. Husband and I decided we were going to limit spending to our daughters and our parents this years. It was becoming too much to buy for all the nieces, nephews, and the their kids. We have never received a thank you from any of them and honestly when we see them only a handful of times throughout the year It feels like we are only handing them money for reason.
We normally to go to my parents house to visit with my brother and his kids for a couple quiet hours on Christmas Eve and then we visit the entire day of Christmas at Husband's mom's house. It's crowded, uncomfortable and don't even think of eating until the entire clan arrives, which is never even close to being at the same time. So what do people do when they can't eat? They drink. A lot. Then when someone shows up with a pie and no whipped cream (us) well then those people (us) ruined the entire day and everyone (us) can just "Fuck off" according to the hostess (Husbands Mom). Classy right? Oh and did I mention the alcohol soaked political lectures from Step-dad #4? He gets all his information from hours in front of the TV watching nothing but Fox News. Are you jealous yet? This year Mom-in-law gets 2 hrs max and we are out of there.
I'm also not going to make my self crazy about what I can't do and just do what I can. Spending time with my girls and husband is what matters most to me. All the other stuff is just noise. Even though my daughters are 17 and 15 years old they can still find the magic in the simple Christmas lights we put on the house. They can find the joy in reliving memories as they pull out our old Christmas tree decorations. They feel excitement wrapping gifts for each other that they know will be loved. Through them I can love this season and let myself appreciate the little things.