“Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” — Sylvia Plath
This time of year always sneaks up on me. Although my family celebrates Christmas with gifts, I like to pretend that I maintain a bit of separation from some of the crazed consumerism that takes over around the holidays. (I may also pretend it’s because I have lofty ideals about the real spirit of the holidays, but mostly I’d just rather be doing other things [like catching up on editing these photos from November] and I really don’t like to shop. 🙂 )
However, about three weeks before Christmas, something happens. Whether it’s the holiday music playing when I write out our cards (I do send cards, at least), the festive commercials between segments of Love Actually (my favorite!), or even the glittering displays at Target (which I finally start to acknowledge after Thanksgiving), a mild panic starts creeping in. I realize that I can’t check out of Christmas altogether after all and that I do actually want to give thoughtful gifts to my family. Then panic really sets in as I realize that the number of shipping days before Christmas is dwindling fast.
And here’s where I start vacillating. Being overwhelmed by the list of gifts and things to do before Christmas day inevitably puts me close to checking out altogether. And some days I do just that. Forget about it all and focus on something else entirely. Usually after that, I come to some compromise with my to-do list and make peace with the fact that I won’t be making that personalized video montage of my son’s first year for his grandparents (at least before Christmas anyway), but the shorter video I did manage to get done will be just as appreciated. And I remind myself that spending quality time with my family is more important and in keeping with my vision of holiday spirit than trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on my list. Plus, laissez-faire me is much more pleasant to be around than perfectionist me.
However, it’s possible I’m delusional and just distorting reality for my own convenience. 🙂 What about you? How to you handle holiday expectations?
This post was inspired by the Daily Post’s prompt “All or Nothing?” I’m catching up on processing photos from November, so these were taken on a hike at Mason Neck State Park in Virginia in early November.