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Deck the Halls, If You Must.

Okay, I’ll admit it.  In case you haven’t figured it out already, I’m not one of those, “Oooh I’m SO excited that the holidays are almost here!!!” kind of people.  Which I realize makes me a bit of an oddity because I am (usually) a chipper morning person who enjoys engaging in social activity (with people I like).

Stipulations aside, I think being a socially-engaging morning person would normally also qualify me as someone who just can’t wait to dig out the ol’ Christmas decorations and tune the radio to one of the 24-hour holiday music stations and pull out my Frosty-the-Snowman-meets-Rudolph greeting cards to fill out, address and stamp while sipping hot cocoa and eating snickerdoodles in front of a crackling fire.

But I’m not.  In fact, the very idea – aside from the hot cocoa and snickerdoodles because those sound delicious – inspires a giant lump of un-enthusiasm to well up in my soul.

I think it might have something to do with coming from a broken family. (As a child of divorce, I’m so fortunate that I will always have that excuse to fall back on for any of my own personal failings.)  You see, no matter who we go visit for the holidays, there is always someone who doesn’t get a visit, and the inevitable guilt-inducing remarks are made, feelings get hurt, and rather than just enjoying the company I’m with, I end up worrying whether I’ve made someone halfway across the country feel isolated and alone by not gracing him/her with my presence this year.

And the thing that I (and apparently they) keep forgetting is that I have a guest room too, you know.

If you come visit me, I can pretty much guarantee a stress-free time.  The house may not be in perfect order and filled to the brim with Christmas decorations; I may not have 32 different varieties of fresh-baked Christmas cookies on hand; I may not be sporting a 12-year-old red and green knit Christmas tree sweater; however, your sheets will be clean and your wine glass will be full.  And against my better nature, I might even cook.  (Drink enough wine, and it will taste just dandy.)  If you want cookies, we can bake them together.  It will be fun.  We will have fun.  And we won’t stress if the cookies burn or the pups knock over my 3-foot-tall Christmas tree because c’est la vie, you know?

And if you don’t come visit, it’s no big deal.  I won’t make you feel guilty.  Why would I make you feel guilty?  That just means more wine for me.

But really.  Isn’t that the point?  Celebrating the life we have?  Sure, we can get all deep and thoughtful and say the holiday season is about giving, about family, about love.  Which is true.  But since we seem to have such a hard time with all that, let’s just take this in baby steps, shall we?

When you feel the holiday stress start to get to you because you haven’t finished gift shopping or the grocery store is all out of your favorite eggnog, here’s a revolutionary thought: enjoy it anyway. When it’s all over and you have nothing left but 3 trash cans full of multi-colored wrapping paper and a carpet full of tinsel, people aren’t going to remember that you had an $80 wreath on the front door.  What they will remember is whether or not you smiled.  Whether or not you laughed.  Whether or not they made you feel happy because they chose to visit you this holiday season.

Stressing during the holidays defeats the purpose.  Whether you live for the holidays or would rather crawl under the covers until tax season, they’re coming.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it – and it IS a choice – is to take a deep breath, another sip of spiked cider, and love the crap out of all of it.

It sure beats the alternative.


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Well said! We didn’t have Thanksgiving here in Spain on Thursday since it doesn’t exist. Instead, we were both sick and went and bought a whole bunch of McDonalds (gross, I know) and ice cream and hung out and gorged ourselves together and watched a movie and guess what?!?!? We had a great time!

That being said, we were comforted by the knowledge that we would be celebrating an actual Thanksgiving dinner tonight (Saturday) with 18 other American auxiliares.

Anyway, I got your point and I will attempt to remember it in Germany this Christmas!


Bradley, it sounds like you and Becca already had the perfect Thanksgiving celebration! And since it’s probably impractical (and definitely not easy) to cook a traditional dinner in Spain for just the two of you, McDonalds actually sounds like an excellent way to get a nostalgic taste of home. :) I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, but have fun at your dinner tonight!


I agree totally Katie. I do not come from a broken family but being the military – always not home- family we were always made to feel bad as we were not there. But I made a rule early on – that Christmas was for my kids and that we would have it at home. That way they know they can come to us but otherwise don’t make us feel bad.
It is true- it is about having a good time. And that we will do-
Hubby has been gone for so many of them. When he is home we do the big dinner-(which he loves and we could care less about) When he is gone – heck the kids and I love ordering pizza and eating it in the living room like a winter picnic.
It is all in what makes you happy and stress free- so kick back and enjoy your wine.



You know, a winter picnic sounds absolutely perfect! I know it would be even better if your husband could be there, but you’re definitely embracing the spirit of loving what you have when you have it. Your children are lucky they have that example. :)

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