Moms aren't supposed to be Scrooges, are they?
Yet, if you ask my family, I'm not exactly Suzy Snowflake when it comes to the Christmas season.
Some of my friends love the holiday season so much that they decorate their homes early in November and play Christmas music for a full two months.
I do my best to tolerate it between Thanksgiving and New Year's, but if it were up to me, the classic 12 Days of Christmas would be more than enough. I'm not sure why I feel this way, but I know I'm not alone.
When Christmas Hurts
Many people struggle to find the Christmas cheer that others thrive on. There are so many reasons:
- not having family to celebrate with
- being far away from family
- impossible decisions about family gatherings because of Covid-19
- strained family relationships
- the first Christmas without a deceased loved one
- reminders of past painful holidays
I've talked to homeschool moms who are overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy. Maybe you can relate. Christmas is upon us, and we haven't completed enough school yet. We don't feel we've earned a break from school, but if we don't, when we will get all the baking and shopping done and all the presents wrapped?
- scheduling conflicts
- unplanned illnesses (who ever plans for illness?)
- our perception of other people's expectations
- the layers of disappointment that 2020 has been for all of us
... and really, we'd just as soon skip the holidays altogether.
Choosing Joy at Christmas
Each year when I find these feelings and frustrations creeping in on me, I have to deliberately choose joy—a simple Christmas joy that works for me. I like to quiet my heart and count my blessings. It's how I find my own subdued version of Christmas cheer.
My tiny personal celebrations include:
- drinking coffee from a special Christmas mug
- admiring the Christmas lights in my neighborhood during the dark evening hours
- remembering far away friends as the mail brings Christmas cards throughout the month
- reading again the old, old story from the Gospel of Luke
- taking time to watch my favorite holiday movie, It's a Wonderful Life
- setting aside time to spend with my husband and kids
- humming to favorite Christmas hymns and carols
These are some of the things that warm my heart. The other stuff? That, too, will pass.