You can just feel it coming, can't you? The holiday crazies. The stress and the striving and the baking and the buying that come around Christmas, no matter how solemnly you vow you're not going to give in to all that this year.
Just today I felt myself freaking out about Christmas cards. Oh my god! We don't have any good recent family pictures! We forgot to stage some stupid cheesy one over Thanksgiving! I should have ordered cards online by now! EVERYTHING IS RUUUUUUINED!
Once I calmed myself down from that (a little), I looked at the calendar and realized we're having guests every single weekend this month, and some on weekdays, too, and OMG the house is a mess and I need to rake the leaves and when are we going to get the tree up and, and, and.
No wonder I end up walking around muttering "I friggin' hate Christmas" every Christmas. But while I still have some sanity left this year, I'm using it to concede that of course it's not Christmas's fault. It's mine.
You know what HAS to happen to make Christmas Christmas? Not much, really, especially since I'm not religious. The sun has to come up, I guess, and I'd like to be with family, with a present or two exchanged under a decorated (no need to be Pinterest-worthy) tree … and that's about it. If I get cards mailed out? Great. Maybe bake a thing or too? Bonus. Clean the house so the guests aren't grossed out? Good, but they're friends and family, so I have a feeling they'll overlook a stray dust bunny or too and be much more appreciative of a sane hostess instead.
So my holiday mantra this year -- instead of "bah humbug," as it inevitably ends up being -- will be "do your best." Meet those minimum requirements, and everything else is icing on the cake. Which can be store bought, if needed. Sometimes at this time of year, my "best" is simply not snarling at people in stores, or remembering where the Christmas decorations are in the attic and making a good-faith vow to get them down tomorrow. I'm setting small goals, and I bet I'll reap big rewards if I actually manage to relax and enjoy the Christmas season. Who's with me?