Merry freaking Christmas…

28 Dec

I joked last year that I wanted to cancel Christmas but somehow with minimal effort, I survived it.  This year, I wanted to cancel it again and I was putting in a lot of effort.  We hosted Christmas Eve dinner for my in-law’s and then drove to my parents’ house for Christmas Day.  It was a lot to deal with and a lot of stress and in typical, type-A, Anna fashion, I put even more stress on myself to make it perfect and therefore by Christmas Eve was ready to explode.  I was a ticking time bomb.  Before any guests had already arrived, I had already cried twice.   And then the guests started to arrive…

My father-in-law came in and almost immediately had an argument with my husband and was asked to leave kicked out of the house by both of us.  The rest of his family did not care and seemed to feel we were in the right and probably better off without him. (My sister-in-law said that he’d been ruining Christmases for the past thirty years.)  But I cared.  Christmas was hard enough and now this additional pall had been cast over it.  I didn’t like that I had ruined his Christmas by asking him to leave.  And I didn’t like that he had ruined my Christmas by coming in and starting a fight first thing.  He was unwilling to accept or offer an apology though so I just had to deal with what was happening.  As my friend put it, it is what it is and you can’t change it.  I hate “it is what it is” and I hate unchangeable things.

The next day we went to my parents’ house and while there was no drama and it was a little less anxiety-inducing, it was still stressful.  I just didn’t want to deal with my mother’s stress levels and constant criticism.  I was wishing we had decided to fly to the Caribbean for Christmas instead of spending time with family.  It would have been far less stressful.

The problem is that I put so much pressure on myself to create a perfect Christmas.  Then, it didn’t go perfectly and it sent me into a downward spiral.  It has been a while since I’ve cried so many times in two days.  I was already dreading this Christmas.  The Christmas that should have been my baby’s first.  There was no way this could be a perfect Christmas and yet in my crazy brain, I still thought it could be.

On the bright side, these past two days post-Christmas have been very peaceful.  Being at home and not having to work.  No guests in sight.  Meeting friends for lunch.  Meeting another friend for coffee.  Going to the mall to make some exchanges. Going out to a nice dinner with my husband. These little things have made me feel more normal and less stressed.  They have made the anxiety from Christmas go back down to a manageable level.  I hope this peace lasts.

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3 Responses to “Merry freaking Christmas…”

  1. Alicia December 28, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    Letting go of the ideal that Christmas is magical has been the first step for me in being able to relax and enjoy the holiday season, in spite of my family’s internal issues. I watched the movie Mixed Nuts on Christmas Eve and found a lot of truth in one of the quotes by Steve Martin – Christmas is the time of year when wrong things just seem wronger and sad things just seem sadder.

    Glad to hear that things are more manageable right now – keep enjoying the little things and let the rest of the crap go, as much as you can. 🙂

    • Anna December 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

      That is a great quote. And so very true. It feels like all feelings are amplified at Christmas-time in the quest to make this picture perfect holiday from my imagination. Trying to focus on the little things now. Like watching Big Bang Theory reruns and snuggling with the dog. 🙂

      • Alicia December 28, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

        It’s a pretty funny movie, and for those of us who come from situations that are less than ideal and have to deal with some funny business over the holiday season, it helps to put things in perspective. I think it’s my “go to” pre-Christmas movie from here on in!

        I hope you enjoy the rest of your holidays! The worst part is over – let the celebrations begin! A new year with renewed hope and new horizons is just around the corner. 🙂

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