I have loved Christmas since I was a child.
As an adult, though, I’m experiencing Christmas overload. I am overwhelmed with all things Christmas. I want to enjoy the season and create some magical memories for my children. However, the month of December is filled with stress and an impossibly packed schedule. My kids expect so much more than I did as a child. I’m sick of all the holiday commercialization. I wish we could get back to simpler traditions.
This year, the Christmas overload started at the stores.
In October, my family went to a store to pick up some Halloween decorations and there was already an assortment of Christmas decorations on display. It was October! No wonder my kids have a hard time waiting for things. They expect everything to come early, and the stores eagerly oblige. I get more excited about things when I have to wait a while for them. Anticipation adds to the excitement. While I can’t change what the stores do, I will make my children wait until the day after Thanksgiving to put up our Christmas tree. It gives them something to look forward to after stuffing themselves with turkey.
Then there are the endless Christmas movies.
They also started appearing in October. If you want to experience Christmas overload, just flip through your television channels. I hate these movies and refuse to watch them. They are all slight variations on the same theme of a woman falling in love with a man from a small town. Boring! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate all Christmas movies. Just the forgettable ones based on romance. I always watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and my kids always watch Home Alone. Give me humor over romance any day!
For more Christmas overload, I simply turn on the radio.
One of my favorite radio stations switched to playing all Christmas music before Thanksgiving. I cannot immerse myself completely in Christmas music for that long without losing my mind. I love Christmas music, but only when I feel like it. For example, I will play Christmas music while putting up my Christmas decorations. I get to play Christmas hymns at church and sing Christmas songs at choir rehearsal. However, there are only so many Christmas carols out there and they are repeated so often that I get tired of them quickly. Thank goodness I don’t work in retail anymore because the repetition of Christmas songs nonstop was incredibly annoying.
Even traditions that I enjoyed as a child have grown out of control.
For example, advent calendars are not just simple little chocolates anymore. This year, one of my kids requested a Lego advent calendar and the other one requested an LOL dolls one. Kids expect all these expensive things nowadays. Another one of my favorite Christmas traditions was making gingerbread houses. Now the stores sell expensive, complicated kits to make elaborate gingerbread creations. Overkill! My dog ate my daughter’s entire gingerbread house last year anyway, so the expensive kits are not worth it in my house.
Don’t even get me started on the Elf on the Shelf.
Where did this annoying elf even come from? He is so much work for parents. All December, I am bombarded with Facebook posts of the elaborate elf tableaus created by parents who apparently have way more energy than I do. I’m lucky if I even remember to move the blasted elf at night. And my kids expect the elf to bring them even more gifts. WTF? My kids have way more stuff than they need, but they talk to other kids at school. Then they expect their elf to be the same way. For a couple years, I just told my kids that our elf must be really good at hiding since no one could find him. (Yes, I lied. We didn’t have a stupid elf.) Now my kids still expect the elf to move around even though they know it’s me. I’m thinking about letting the kids take turns moving the elfin idiot so that I don’t have to.
This year, I will be actively avoiding Christmas until I am wholeheartedly ready for it.
So no, I won’t be seeing you at all the Christmas events that are crammed into December. I will pick out just a couple of my favorites and leave plenty of time for my family to rest and relax. I will also be avoiding the Hallmark and Lifetime channels like the plague. My kids and I will make simple gingerbread houses that my dog may very well eat again this year. By keeping things simple, we can truly enjoy ourselves and as a nice bonus, we won’t feel a huge letdown when January arrives and the festivities end.