Deck The Halls With Crushing Anxiety!


I don’t have any chill during the holidays. At all. The rest of the year, I have about 1% chill, but it’s all gone during the holidays. I have the unfortunate personality traits of being kind of high-strung but also forgetful, so the holidays are my personal Mount Everest.

High-strung people get a bad rap all year long, but especially at Christmas. Every heroine in a Hallmark movie is basically a high-strung businesswoman until she moves to a small town and finds love with a local single father and finally understands the true meaning of Christmas. The frazzled parents in the kids movies are blissfully happy once they realize that Santa is really real. The Grinch turns from dedicated joy-crusher to relaxed dinner guest all because of the power of Christmas.

Christmas movies have led me to believe that if you just let go and embrace the feeling of the season, love will chill out your high-strung heart.

Well, Christmas movies lied.

Today my kids went sledding in the freshly fallen snow and I made them hot cocoa as they ate cookies (that I bought – the power of Christmas hasn’t yet worked its magic on my baking skills) and I thought, “This is a nice moment.” And then I thought, “OH MY GOSH IS THE COCOA TOO HOT? … ARE THEY HAVING A MAGICAL HOLIDAY EXPERIENCE? … WOULD IT BE WEIRD IF I ASKED THEM IF THEY ARE HAVING A MAGICAL HOLIDAY EXPERIENCE? … IS THERE SOME SORT OF HOLIDAY EXPERIENCE QUESTIONNAIRE I COULD GIVE THEM? … ARE THESE COOKIES TOO BIG?” 

I’ve tried all of the ways to have meaningful holidays. This year I am sponsoring a family who can’t afford a Christmas on their own. I’m religious, and I try to teach my kids about the parts of Christmas that are sacred to me. I am spending the holidays with family and those dear to me. I am singing carols and spreading cheer and trying everything I can to enjoy the holidays. But I am still a shiny ball of Christmas stress – and I do not think that is going away.

I know I’m not the only one. If you have a hard time with stress during the holidays and have ever wondered what is wrong with you, I’d like to submit my personal theory:

  • There is nothing wrong with you. You are stressed because you care. You care about Christmas. You care about making others happy. You care about your family. You care about giving that magical, December-specific feeling to others.
  • My advice to my fellow high-strung Christmas moms? Well, my preliminary advice is that you should probably never take advice from me because tonight I googled “Christmas therapy options.” But if you are really desperate for advice, accept the stress and worries and remember that it’s temporary and is born of love. But mostly, make sure to extend some of that love and care to yourself.

If all else fails, you can always google “Christmas therapy options,” as an awesome stressed-out genius once did.


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