Holiday Stress

2 Dec
Image Source: Carolyn Anderson, MD

It’s no secret that the holidays are one of the most stressful times of the year. And as much as I love them, the stress can be a bit much for me.

There are two areas I’ve been finding especially stressful thinking about…

First, figuring out how to deal with gift giving. I love my entire family to death and I love giving and receiving presents, but as I’ve gotten older, I really would like a more structured way to exchange presents (i.e. single gift exchange, spending limit, etc.)  I know a lot of large large families do this already, but since ours isn’t super large nothing like that has been implemented yet. One family only gives a couple of gifts per family member, typically under $100 in total gift spending each (Family Size = 4 not including us). The other family goes all out and gives TONS of gifts. This makes The Hubs and I feel like we need to get an equivalent amount of gifts for them as well, typically at least $100 in spending each (Family Size = 3). I guess when you bring family size into the equation it all somewhat equals out, but the feeling that we aren’t treating everyone equally is still there. The second family requires the making of Christmas Lists as well. That’s fine as it makes it easier to buy gifts, but its intimidating when you see all the things that each person wants. My list was relatively short, as I try to only ask for things that I REALLY need. I still don’t want anyone to feel obligated to give me any of these things since really I feel like the stress placed on giving gifts to adults is overrated. If we had kids it would be a totally different story as the focus would be on them and not us. My friends and I have already decided that now that everyone is starting to have kids, we would forgo presents for each other (for b-days and X-mas) and focus on the kids. Make things so much easier!  I know I’ve talked about this issue before, but it was really bothering me again this holiday season so I had to get it off my chest!

The second area is the planning of activities (holiday or not). For whatever reason, that responsibility has fallen squarely on my shoulders. I need to coordinate with everyone to figure out who wants to go, figure out all of the details of getting there/dinner/snacks, buy the tickets, get reimbursed and make sure that in the end everyone is happy. Typically everyone helps out once I give instructions on what we should do, but coming up with all of the details all the time is exhausting. Lately it has gotten even more complicated as both my family and The Hubs’s family want to be involved, but within that some want to participate and some don’t, parents want kids who don’t want to come to come, etc. Ahhh! It get’s SOO complicated! It’s a lot to take on, especially when I feel like I’m trying to please everyone. These activities are supposed to be fun, but they end up being so much work! I wish for once I could just attend an activity and not have to think about one single thing except showing up at a designated time and place and not worry about pleasing anyone…

Do you have similar holiday stresses?
How do you deal with them?

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