Even though it was something I loved doing, there were years it was stressful. In fact, if I am honest, most years it was stressful. Lack of money, lack of time, trying to make everything “perfect.” Would the turkey be too dry? Would I get the house clean enough? Would everybody like their gifts? Would everything get done on time?
There were years I stayed up late wrapping gifts and got up early to get food started. Some years I even had to work the afternoon of Christmas Eve, which meant I was even crazier than usual. Yes, there were years I even broke down in tears at some point during the holiday season, feeling overwhelmed by trying to get it all “perfect.”
This year has been different. Yes, I started a little earlier than usual (Thanksgiving came a little earlier this year, which helped) but I think I am going to have a perfect holiday season.
How do I know? Because even though my artificial tree has lost more needles than a real one, Aja has already broken a couple of ornaments and my quest for excellent gifts has resulted in a lot of gift cards, I am planning to spend time with people I care about. We will laugh, reminisce about the past and talk about what we are hoping for in the future.
The best thing about growing older, is you start to believe things that you have been saying for years. Like that it isn’t about the food or the presents. The holidays are about the people you get to spend it with.
You also realize that Christmas is not forever. If the pandemic taught us anything, it was that life the way we always knew it could change just like that. There were holidays we couldn’t be with the people we wanted to be with and some people we could never be with again.
So this year, if the cookies I bake get burned or the potatoes don’t get done before everyone shows up, I won’t be crying. If I have the people I love around me, I will be fine.
Wishing you the perfect holiday season.