When was your last great Christmas? I am not talking about the end result, as most, I hope, eventually turn out to be good (after the shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, planning, executing, etc.), but when was the last Christmas season that you didn't have any stress, didn't worry about hurting feelings, or affording gifts, or meeting some unrealistic decorating goal?
I think it was probably pre-1980 for me. Seriously. I think that this season brings too much of everything on adults, and I think the stress starts much earlier in life, about the same time that Santa stops being the focus and friends, boy/girlfriends, and social engagements come into play. My 10-year old is right on the cusp, I think. She loves all the trappings, but is now old enough to appreciate the resources necessary to pull it all off.
I have it relatively easy in the family department - they are just down the street. Nobody is calling wanting to come stay for a week. No annoying houseguests to deal with. No struggle to find a way to say 'no' so undesirables won't come.
We do have a little family drama, but it is mostly good, old-fashioned behind the scenes sniping about the bad choices my step-sister makes in life, and how she only shows up on gift-giving holidays.
But, the kids like to see their cousin, and there is enough alcohol flowing to make it tolerable, if not downright entertaining.
And yet, getting to that day takes so much Work. And here I sit procrastinating, knowing that I need to hit the streets. Shop, bake, cook, decorate, clean, wrap...
All I really want to do is sit down and soak up my family - we are all here, together, for a time, and that is the best part of Christmas.