We Wish You a Stress-Free Christmas!

It may be too late to bitch about Christmas, but if I can save even one person holiday heartache now or next year, it’ll be worth it.

You either love the holiday season or you hate it, but one thing transcends your opinion. No matter your view of the holidays, you’re always busy – too busy if you ask me. You think it’s necessary but it’s not. It’s really not necessary to make yourself crazy stressed just because Christmas is coming, or Chanukah or Kwanzaa, but mostly Christmas. Let’s face it, the other holidays don’t demand half as much as Christmas does. So here’s my plan to streamline your holiday season.

Trim the fat. So many things you do during the Christmas season are unnecessary. Take Christmas cards. Do you really have to take on the task of writing and addressing cards to 52 of the friends you see daily on Facebook anyway? And it’s one thing if you write personal messages. I know someone who still does this and I admire the shit out of her – not enough that I would want to do it, but I do admire her. All but one of the cards we’ve received are addressed to us and signed by hand. That’s it. Do I really need a card to tell me that we’re still friends or family? And don’t tell me you’re thinking of me during the holidays. I know you’re really thinking, Dammit, I’ve got to get these F-ing cards out! And it’s worse for people who send holiday pictures. It’s nice to see how they’re aging and their kids are growing, but they went that extra step to get their family portrait taken. Again, I admire them but wouldn’t want to be them.

My solution for Christmas cards? Don’t bother. I know you’re thinking of me when you’re reading my Facebook status, and whenever something reminds you of me. That’s enough for me. If you really feel the need to reach out and touch someone, send an email , but not an e-card because no one trusts those anymore. It’s totally cool if you want to contact me after the holidays, when things calm down. I almost feel guilty receiving your cards because I know you worked hard on them and I’m going to throw them away after Christmas. Don’t make yourself crazy.

Another thing you don’t need to do is take Santa pictures. I expect some controversy for saying it, but do we need them? I recently found eight Santa pictures from two years ago in a desk drawer. We never sent them to anyone. Nobody ever saw them. This year we didn’t take them. I know I run the risk of hearing “Why didn’t we ever take Santa pictures?” from my kids, but unless you get in before Thanksgiving, you’re going to wait an hour or more and your kids will be cranky and you’ll buy expensive pictures that you’ll never see again. I may rethink that next year if I get in line in time but for now, who needs ‘em?

Christmas cookies. That’s right. I said it. I have heard so many people talk about the stressors of getting the cookies done in time that I’ve deemed cookies unnecessary. Buy them. They make perfectly adequate Christmas cookies and you can get them at any store. If they must be “homemade,” get the refrigerated cookie dough with the snowman and tree insets that you could never have made yourself. That cuts your time down from hours to minutes. Totally worth skipping.

Christmas events. These, in my opinion, are the fun parts of the holidays, but to some, they’re not. Simple rule. If going to holiday office parties, special concerts, or Christmas villages stresses you out, don’t do it. If you do, pick and choose, and skip the ones that happen during the last week of the Christmas rush.

There you have it. Hereditary Insanity’s stress reduction plan for the holiday season. I know it’s last-minute, but now you have all year to rethink your Christmas activities. I hope that the culmination of your holiday season brings you something – whether it’s joy or relief.

Happy Holidays!