Thursday, November 14, 2013

Holiday Stress Already?

It's no secret. I am an anxious person. I worry about every little thing - from the stupidest of things to things that actually deem to be normal to be anxious about.I feel absurd to even be posting about this, but I can't get it out of my head. See, I am a worrier!
Ellen: Holiday Stress, Tony at Victoria Secret Show & Toys for Tots

For 22 years, we had the exact same Christmas/holiday routine. I would be home from school (whether it be elementary school, high school or university) as would my brothers. Christmas was done at home with my immediate family and usually my grandparents. A small gathering. Perfect though. No chaos, no long drives, no moving from house to house. Just us spending family time together. Sometimes a movie on Boxing Day but mainly just sitting around enjoying each others company. I knew exactly what we were having for dinner, that we had to go open our stockings before gifts, that we would be going to Christmas Eve mass and come home to some yummy sandwiches. I just knew the routine and loved it.

Since then, many things have changed. Not only has my mom passed away, but my dad has retired, my brothers and I have jobs, Mr. C has come along, I live 5-6 hours from my dad and he has a new lady friend.

Every Christmas since my mom passed, we have had a different "routine" for Christmas. Let me recap:

2006 - the year my mom passed away. We went to my aunt's cottage in Tremblant. It was so needed as we couldn't bare the thought of having Christmas without her in our home.

2007 - Christmas at home (we had just moved to a new house) with my great uncle and immediate family.

2008 - same as 2007 but we decided to have our dinner catered. I know that sounds weird, but it was freakin' delicious and all the cooking in the year prior was too stressful/a lot of work for a small group.

2009 - no clue to be honest
2010 - by this time, my dad had met a new lady friend (who is still his lady friend today) and so we had Christmas at her place. This was a HUGE change. I believe this was also the first year where I spent Christmas eve/Christmas morning with Mr. C's family and then we drove 5 hours to mine on Christmas Day.

2011 - I think about the same but my dads lady friend also joined us.

2012 - Christmas Eve/Morning with Mr. C's family and then we decided to go to a really famous Christmas Dinner at a Fairmont Hotel in Ottawa. Again, a  big change as it wasn't a home cooked meal. We also experienced a HORRID snow storm on our Christmas Day drive.

2013 - Change of plans again. Christmas Eve/Morning with Mr. C's family and then driving EIGHT hours to Mont Tremblant to hopefully make it there for dinner.....
*update since when I originally drafted this post. There has been a change yet again to our plans haha!
All this to show that I don't handle change very well. I find the holidays to be stressful and I am not trying to be a grinch. Gift purchasing/giving doesn't bother me as I have a small family and shop for mainly men so it's not too bad in that area. I worry about other things. I worry about the weather. Will it be a massive blizzard on our long drive? Will we make it in time for dinner or will everyone need to wait for us? I worry about my family dynamics. Things are difficult at times. I worry about my younger brother who won't be able to join us this year. I worry about WORK of all dang things. I worry about whether my dad wishes I stayed longer or that I could spend Christmas Eve with him.
It's just an emotionally exhausting time for me each year. Don't get me wrong - I love it. I love spending time with my family, relaxing and hanging out but not when there is a new normal each year. For someone that is a worry wart and anxious to begin with, it just eats at my mind. I sometimes wish I could go back to those precious 21 years of holiday routine I had.

Does anyone else find the holiday time stressful or am I just being crazy? haha!


  1. Oh no, I feel you here! My parents are divorced and both remarried, my step-sister lives out of town and has to deal with her in-laws' schedule, and now I have in-laws, too! Is there ever an option for you and Mr. C to switch off with which family you see each year? That is what we have decided to do. It's better for us to give one family 100% of our attention every other year than to spread ourselves too thin every year and just be worried and miserable. My step-sister comes to town for a week around Christmastime and we have immediate family Christmas then. I mean, it's really more about spending time together and watching her girls open gifts and then playing with the new toys, and since we can do that any day, I love that I can just devote a day to that. You guys will find an easier way and a new tradition, I hope!

  2. I completely understand...I would feel as stressed as you in that situation! I find Christmas is always a time when you are trying to see everyone close to you, and that can be especially hard in a situation where you have a close significant other and your families don't live close together!! We experience the same things each year, and just try to balance it as best we can, and make the time spent with each "group" of people QUALITY time. :)

  3. I 100% understand. I am a planner and want all plans and shopping done by the end of October. That never happens though. After getting engaged and then married it's been more stressful. We still have to see both families each Christmas, but have to split the time. One family gets us on the exact day of Christmas, the other gets us either before or after. And each year we switch it so that the other family gets us on the day of Christmas. Now that we live out of state it's even more work. We've now turned it into a 10 day holiday because if we're going to travel all the way there....why not stay for a bit!

    Love it and hate it all at the same time. Hope you get lots of relaxation in and no blizzards! :)

  4. I definitely get this, especially your weather concerns!! Steve and I have been really lucky to see both of our families at Christmas time so far, especially considering that they live two provinces away from each other. It's a three hour drive from our house to my parents, then we have to do that again to get to the airport, and then 3 hours from the Winnipeg airport to his family's house. If there's blizzard conditions, it can be brutal!

    Hope you get to have a relaxing Christmas with good weather for your travels!

  5. I don't actually know anyone from my mom's side of the family and my dad's side of the family is Jewish, so the holidays have generally been a very lonely time for me. Andrew's family isn't very "festive" so we try to do something together each year and start our own traditions. I think starting a new tradition is less stressful because it's fun and exciting and something to look forward to!

  6. I have the same anxiety! Much like Lauren, my parents are divorced and both have remarried. We are constantly trying to figure out who is going where at what time and pretty soon I'll be coordinating that with my in-laws! I love seeing my family and being that they live in Austin and not Houston, I always want to see both sides (mom and dad) during any visit I get. If I could just let go of that, my trips home would be much less stressful. But I can't, so I deal with the stress... usually with lots and lots of wine :)

  7. We have always done pretty much the same thing for the holidays, I like routine! But this year I may have to go to my bf's parents and I'm nervous to break my routine!

  8. So sorry it is so stressful. Mine is usually the same every year for Thanksgiving but Christmas has been changing due to families building and trying to fit in visits with everyone.

  9. My mother passed away in Feb 2010 and since then, I dread the holidays. I recently told my husband let's go somewhere for Xmas. I am happy to say that we will be driving to Manhattan for a couple of days during that period. Happy me!!!

  10. We are very much alike. I worry and stress so much about just about everything. It's probably not good :) First, I love that you can't remember 2009. I have holidays like that! But I agree about missing the routine of Christmases past. Although my family never had a "routine" it was at least guaranteed that we'd see each other. We spend our first two Christmases in houston (2010, 2011) with no family in town, it was just sad and I cried all day. Then my Granny passed in 2011 and my other Grandma passed away on Christmas Day last year. So the helter skelter of our holidays has been exhausting. It's so cheesy, but it really is what we make of it. At least we can look at it and say - this is our opportunity to start new traditions :)