May the stress begin! It’s the holiday season!
Mostly I love Christmas (the LIGHTS! the LOVE! the JOY!) [the cookies! the booze!], but I really don’t enjoy the events leading up to and surrounding the holidays.
Despite the fact that I stopped hosting holiday parties several years ago; despite the fact that I ceased holiday cookie baking; despite the fact that I stopped sending out holiday cards; and despite the fact that I no longer decorate my home.
But there’s still stress:
Figuring out what to give to each recipient, and then finding that item. Family usually isn’t too hard – every year each person sends out a “wish list” and the others coordinate to make sure there are no duplicate gifts. But what about a gift for someone who has been unusually helpful during the year, but whom you really don’t know all that well? What to give, and in what price range? (too little makes you look cheap and ungrateful, too much implies you’ll expect some further courtesy).
Once the gift decisions have been made, there’s stress involved in obtaining those gifts. Do you brave the holiday traffic/crowds and actually go shopping? [shudder] Do you order online and hope what you ordered is what actually arrives? (Already this year, I’ve made the mistake of clicking on a wrong, but very similar item, and now will have to return and replace it before Christmas. Ugh.)
If you order online, how do you obtain delivery? Do you assume porch pirates don’t live in your area, and have those packages delivered to your home – knowing they will certainly arrive on a day you’re not there and will mostly likely be placed in the absolutely most visible spot on your front porch or steps?
If you opt for home delivery, do you try to track the packages and monitor their arrival? Some security systems allow for remote monitoring through a smartphone. Even if you have a security system in place, if you see someone steal the package from your front steps, will you be able to do anything about it? Suppose you’re at work and home is 10 miles away – there’s no way to get there fast enough to stop a thief, and local police probably won’t consider your frantic call a priority. Even if they do, by the time they’d get to your house, that thief would be long gone, along with all your packages.
Do you assume porch pirates do live in your area, and arrange for pick up at the store(s) – thereby encountering the very holiday traffic/crowds you had hoped to avoid? Or do you arrange for delivery to a “lock box” location – which is bound to be even busier than the local mall, and with much less parking?
I won’t even go into the whole how-to-wrap-the-perfect-gift issue; nor will I go into the how-to-choose-the-perfect-accompanying-card issue.
Of course, the season does have its humorous aspects. Sure, those “buy this now!” ads and “give me money!” campaigns are annoying, but some of them can be quite amusing (or unsettling, depending on your viewpoint).
A couple of for instances:
♦ A current online article touting new, improved cars, indicating how the most popular sedans have been improved for the 2018 model year. I would hope vehicles have also been improved for this year’s 2020 models.
♦ The TV ad that’s currently running, in which a cartoon rat host accidentally serves her little rat guests poison-laced food. Does anyone else find that ad obnoxious and gruesome, instead of amusing? Does the Grinch work for that advertiser?
♦ A radio announcement for a Christmas festival at a local religious shrine, with the slogan “Come Meet Jesus!” – thanks, but I’m not quite ready, no matter how stressed out I might have become over the last few weeks. Stress will end eventually; “meeting Jesus” is likely to be permanent.
If you celebrate the holidays, may your journey to “the day” be as worry-free as possible. Holiday stress is the one thing on which we can pretty much all commiserate, no matter our income level, geographic location, race, or gender.
Let’s be kind to each other.
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Image by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalie Studio