Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Funk – When Did The Grinch Steal My Christmas Spirit?

I have always looooved Christmas.  I love the music, decorations, giving, receiving, family/friends, feeling of hope, cookies/baking, tradition, weather, Santa, Rudolph, elves, wrapping paper, movies, Christmas cards, spontaneously shedding tears of joy when I watch Christmas related shows on TV where everyone comes together for the greater good, and most of all I love what Christmas MEANS religiously.  I love it. ALL.  This time of the year holds such a special place in my heart and tends to restore that feeling of compassion, love, and giving that may get lost throughout the year. 

So please, my friends, tell me why right now I am in a Christmas Funk? (P.S. I have heard a rather large number of friends/family the past few weeks say this exact thing….and that makes me very sad.)  It seems like the older I get the harder it is for me to avoid this Christmas Funk, and it is not for lack of trying. I try SO hard to stay in the Christmas spirit.  I get excited about listening to Christmas music even when I hear people tease me and say they hate Christmas music.  I say please, thank you, hold doors for people, smile as much as I can, and take extra time to be kind & patient to those around me even when those same people are being Scrooges and only thinking of themselves.  I try not to take it personally when I want to do some fun and creative gifts for people when instead they tell me not to do that and all they want is money.  I continue with my day and try to keep my cool even when a person takes the spot I was waiting for or cuts in front of me in line.  I ignore that we JUST (meaning Sunday night 12/19/10 at 7pm) put up our tree and decorations and for the last 3 weeks have had 8 boxes stacked in the living room that our cats have happily been using as a jungle gym and place to hide.  I try to disregard all the negativity during this time of year and focus on the good.

Through all the pessimism and ciaos I try sooooo hard to keep the Christmas spirit.

But I will be honest.  The older I get the harder it becomes to keep the spirit and the more it wears me out trying. 

I remember this time of year, even just 5 years ago, being a very carefree time.  Sure it was busy and there were nutters out shopping (And I may or may not have been one of them), but I don’t remember so many people losing their Christmas Spirit and just feeling rushed and crazy.  I don’t remember completely losing track of nearly a month and being this crazy just days before Christmas.  I don’t remember feeling in the funk that I am in now.  I don’t ever remember feeling that internal conflict of being excited for Christmas while part of me just wanting to get this time of year over with.  And the worst part is, I am not alone.

So what happened?  Is it simply just due to the economy and the hardships we are going through as a society that is bring us down or is it more than that? When did it get so hard to be in a good mood around the holidays?  When did it become just a nuisance and job to celebrate this time of year instead of a time of reflection, hope, and giving?  When did we lose track and run out of time to do everything we felt we needed to do?  And when did we begin to think that we needed to do all this stuff during the holidays?  When did the feeling of appreciation become something other than that?  When did watching a simple and light-hearted holiday show fill me with such emotion that I burst into tears while watching it (and am doing this ALL the time the last 3 weeks)? When did I start asking so many questions about the Holiday and time of the year I love so very much?

Is this part of getting older or is it just the times we live in?  A time of economic hardships and frustration.  A time when it is all about the superficial and instant gratification and not about the spiritual and slowing down for those special moments.  We live in a fast pace society constantly filling our heads with all these images of what we should be doing, who we should be, and what we should be buying (which I hate so much) that we become programmed to just “go go go” and become too overloaded with everything that we lose track of what is important.  We think we need to do it all and do it all NOW and that if we don’t everything is ruined.  It is tiring thinking of everything I need to be doing for the holidays and I get frustrated when I don’t accomplish the things I want to do.  But why?  What happens if I don’t get Christmas cards out, bake cookies, buy the perfect gift, get all our decorations up, have a huge party, cook tons of food, perfectly wrap all my gifts, or just do all those things that in my mind I HAVE to do to make everyone happy?  The holidays are not ruined if I don’t do those things.  I still have and am grateful to have a roof over my head, loving husband, good job, wonderful family, amazing friends, and all the real gifts in life. I still wake up Christmas morning filled with joy and excitement and at that moment nothing else matters except being with the people I care about and spending time together while we reflect on what this time of year is really about. 

NONE of those things that I stress about really matter.  Sure, I do enjoy doing many of those things.  It makes me feel happy to bake cookies and share them with family & friends.  BUT, if it is at the expense of feeling frustrated or like I am resenting the holidays because I feel I should bake 18 different kinds then is it really worth it?  Wouldn't just baking 6 different kinds still be enough as it is the thought and gesture that is important.

I am at fault….oh how I am soooooo at fault to falling into all that I am talking about.  I have a huge list (3 pages to be exact) of things that I feel I NEED to do BEFORE Christmas or of lists to keep track of.  I love this holiday SO VERY MUCH that I want it to be perfect and want everyone to enjoy every moment of the holidays but I think that it is back-firing on me.  I think I am focusing so much on making things “perfect” for everyone so that THEY will be happy and love the holiday as much as I do that I am starting to get frustrated with this time of year.

I don’t really know what the point of this looooong, question laden post is except that maybe by writing this all down it will help me (and others who may feel similar) to refocus and reboot as we approach the final days before Christmas.  To help us not get caught up in the Holiday itself but keep focused on what this holiday symbolizes. To do what we can without getting frustrated and realize that it is OK if we don't do everything and that as thoughtful as those things are, it is more than just those physical things that make this time of year so special. 

Yesterday I had to “reboot” myself.  No TV but instead we listened to Christmas music ALL day.   We stayed in our PJ’s all day while we did stuff around the house.  We baked cookies together as a family and it was not at all stressful and the smell made us all think back to our childhoods.  T & K put up the Christmas tree and made the house feel like the holidays.  We organized gifts and got ready to wrap gifts so we can put them under the tree.  I am not saying it was perfect and there were not times of stress (because there were) and I am not saying today I am not a little stressed (because I am), but we finally spent some much needed time together with no distractions and got ready for the holidays….physically and mentally and that really helped me put everything back into perspective. 

For all of you who are also feeling the stress and frustration of the Holidays (maybe just because of the season or because you have other things going on in life that are stressful) and may be in the Christmas funk, I hope you are able to find a way to take back your Christmas spirit and enjoy the holidays and what it is really about!

Maybe this will help.  And yes, this is also one of the many shows I cried at.  I also cried at a commercial for Christmas!  Sigh


  1. i feel like we need to hug it out. i am struggling with this so hard this year. between the drama and stress with our respective families and now the added pressure of everyone "must see the jude" i'm tapped out. done. i'm trying to get my christmas spirit back by baking like mad and it's helped somewhat.

  2. I hear ya! All of this! I woke up this morning in a hum zinger of a mood. Like the be-all, end-all of bad moods. I was snapping at everyone like crazy and I was mean to a few people at work.

    Then I got MAD at myself because hello? it's Christmas and we've got LOTS to be thankful for this year! Lots! Sure I'm trying hard to give the girls a good Christmas despite also packing up our house, but hello? this is a great problem to have, we sold our house, which is what we wanted more than anything. Yea it's stressful but it would be no matter what time of year it is!

    I have to keep telling myself to just get over myself. Life could suck pretty hard right now, but it doesn't, life is good. Yea life is busy, but when is life NOT busy?! 'Tis the season for busy-bees and craziness. But thank the good Lord there's people to be busy and crazy for, ya know? THAT'S what I keep telling myself!

    (I want some of your cookies!!) :)

  3. It sounds like you still have your spirit....

    I think we all just go through a few years of funk around the Holidays. It all gets so overwhelming. I knew if I didn't slow myself down and focus on my kids each day (with some sort of craft), this month would have been a blur. I still have an insane amount of stuff to do before this weekend (we are hosting two dinners at our house), but I have let the perfection go. I didn't have dinner planned for my inlaws yet and I asked my MIL what she would like to have....her answer was, "Spaghetti or leftovers. It doesn't matter. Let's just have fun". Her answer made all my anxiety fade away last night...I wish everyone was laid back like that.

  4. Oh friend.

    I hear you loud and clear - I live in the land of sunshine. It's like Christmas doesn't even EXIST here.


    One of my good friends down here just said something to me the other day that really resonated with me:

    Cut yourself some slack.

    Just cut yourself some slack. Just because you're not in it to win it this holiday season, it doesn't mean that NEXT year will be the same way. We all have our "off" years. Our "off" seasons...

    I hope that you find your happy this Christmas, dear friend.

    (And I love that Linus monologue.)

  5. Hug. I like your PJs and music day.

    I am not going to offer you any advice since everyone else did and it's all good.

    Just offering support.

  6. Oh, girl. I am really, really with you this year. I have the Christmas Funk but good, and I'm struggling mightily to get rid of it. (Christmas cards? Not doing 'em. Decorations? I put up the nativity and our sad little Charlie Brown tree and called it a day. Baking? Bah!)

    I loved this post -- it echoes everything that's been swirling around in my brain the last few weeks. When did it turn into one giant EXPECTATION? I remember things being simpler than this when I was a kid, too, but maybe it really was this hard for our parents as well. (Maybe we should ask them.)

    Let's follow Mrs. Broughton's advice and cut ourselves some slack, yes? I think that's good advice.


  7. Hello. . . I stumbled upon your blog. . and enjoy your writing and your wit. This post is fabulous. . . and your cookies. . . YUM.