Let me guess…You’re finding the holidays stressful?! Either your kid(s) are driving you nuts, you’re trying to buy gifts that you can’t afford or don’t know what to get, you forgot to pick up something for your neighbour/coworker/boss/niece/cousin/dog, or you feel like everyone’s invited to all of these fab holiday parties except for you.
Me? My kids are getting older and would rather hang out with their friends for the most part. That, coupled with the +9 Celsius weather (!) today, makes the holidays feel rather “meh” at the moment. In my family, we celebrate Hanukkah and, if I’m honest, I am just not in the latke-frying/menorah-lighting mood unfortunately.
I remember when our kiddos were little and everything seemed new and exciting. We celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas and, although that meant extra work and wrapping, travelling, and buying and baking, etc., it was still a lot of fun. This year I haven’t done a darn thing so far except buy some holiday gifts and also birthday gifts for the great many people I know whose birthdays fall in late December.
No matter what you celebrate, there is a lot of pressure on people at this time of year i.e. “What are you doing for Christmas? Have all your shopping done?!” (Um… if you’re not Christian/don’t celebrate Christmas/don’t have a big budget this can be an awkward question to answer!)
What else can feel awkward this time of year…?
- Kids are happy to have two weeks off school but that may mean finding childcare alternatives or taking time off work
- Your partner (if you have one) may have a different (or no!) holiday schedule then your own
- Your kids may have big expectations for foods or gifts or outings that you’re not prepared for
- Your own mental health issues may prevent you from doing what you feel you should do (or what you feel everyone else is doing)
- Your children’s mental health may mean not attending certain parties (or not being invited to parties!) or leaving early before they get upset or too tired or too hyper
- The weather may prevent you from doing what you planned – for instance, here the snow is melting rapidly so no tobogganing or skiing or snowshoeing will work at this point
- Perhaps you or your kids want to invite someone over or get together over the holidays but you’re worried that the parent has heard something negative about your child and doesn’t want them to play together or be friends
Although intentions are usually good, this can be an arduous time for many people. So, feel free to take a break and just go for a walk or go out for a cheap & cheerful dinner or head to the movies.
I know one woman who, though she has two weeks off of work, is still sending her toddler to daycare every day. I don’t necessarily agree with her decision but perhaps that’s what she needs to do in order to feel rejuvenated, rested and refreshed. It can be hard to parent at this time of year – especially if you don’t have family around to assist you or your child experiences any form of mental health challenge.
I wish for all of us a peaceful and zen–filled holiday season – full of minimal family fighting, decent gift exchanges, a few walks in the woods and one or two nights of restful sleep.
Yours in good holiday spirits,