Man oh man. This time of year is absolutely nuts. Everyone has their holiday gathering. All the stresses of dirty Santa, ornament swap, secret Santa, draw names, buy everyone a gift, include a gift receipt, stress about whether they will like it, host gifts, potlucks, sales, will Amazon deliver in time, is this the year the kids ask about Santa, travel to 10 different gatherings and on and on and on. And why? So we can spend a couple of hours with people we don’t see much of any other time of year. We make it so important and put so much strain on ourselves and our kids and spouses. I am one of the worst. There are, on any given day for about 6 weeks, at least 1 if not 2 or 3 or 4 things I could attend. And worse, I feel guilty if I miss something. But I also feel guilty dragging my wife and/or kids to things they absolutely don’t want to come to. Further, I convince myself that dragging them along is quality time. Like somehow their misery doesn’t count.
I often forget that each of my family members is different. I thrive on gatherings and meeting new people and hanging out with groups. It drains my wife. My kids withdraw and hide as best they can. I come away from some gathering energized and raving about things and they come away wanting to go into the closet and hide. So what do we do? I feel obligated to go to things. My wife feels obligated to go with me and has her own things she wants to go to. How do we make it through this time of year and not be completely exhausted? I honestly don’t have the answer. I know that one piece of it is that I just have to say no sometimes. I can’t do, and shouldn’t try to do, everything. I need to pick and choose. I need, for my loved ones’ sanity, to be judicious about my time. It is so hard.
So, in summary, be careful about over-holidaying or else you will end up over the holidays.