It seems like every year it's something. Three years ago it was the exhaustion of pregnancy and the Sandy Hook massacre. Two years ago we were still in the midst of the most challenging phase of our family's life, adjusting to Jacob's behavior issues and food intolerances. Last year it was the death of Craig's uncle, Jacob acting like a spoiled brat, and a ton of sickness around the house. This year? It's hard to say exactly what is sucking the Christmas spirit out of me. Once again, it could be any number of things.
The weather definitely has not helped. It was nearly 70 degrees yesterday! We shattered the record. Buffalo hasn't had measurable snow yet this year, which continues to shatter another record. We had an inch one morning a few weeks back, but it melted by the end of the day. I've worn my winter coat a handful of times. Yesterday I walked into a Christmas party without a coat at all. It most definitely does not feel like Christmas when we were dodging a downpour while leaving Jacob's winter concert last night.
Also not helping is that the winter concert only contained one Christmas song. I'm not one to get into the whole Starbucks cup thing, but I must say that the extreme lack of explicitly Christmas-related activities around us is throwing me off a bit. I feel like you couldn't turn around without tripping over another Christmas thing when I was a kid, but now there are some vague holiday things and lots of general busyness, but Christmas itself seems a bit lost.
I'm also adjusting to a new normal as far as work-related holiday things are concerned. I was pretty used to the holiday deal at my old job. Party with a $10 gift, cookie exchange, excessive amounts of free food, and a week off. Now we have a secret snowflake exchange, a corporate-ish party for the whole office, a smaller luncheon for our department, and less food in general than I expected. I'm hoping to squeeze out a couple days off between Christmas and New Year's, but no guarantees. Oh, and to top it off, Craig's awesome work Christmas party at the casino seems to be a no-go this year, thanks to some management changes, so that's a bit of a killjoy, too. On the bright side, I did resurrect my list of Christmas market webcams after I lost my best list on my old work computer. I managed to pull an older list off my home computer and clean it up, so I'm once again dreaming about someday making it to Europe and seeing the Christmas markets. Sigh...
I came into the season with very few gift ideas for anyone, and that brought me down a bit, too. I finally got a few things bought online the other day, which helped, but I still have a lot of decisions to make and some people for whom I have zero ideas, so I am concerned this isn't going to go well in the home stretch. Our ideas for the kids are getting there, but making decisions about what we should give them, and what ideas we should pass along to others, have been really challenging this year. It's getting harder to buy for Jacob as he has plenty of toys and is picky otherwise. With Carter there's a delicate balance between giving him things you think will cater to his interests or spark his creativity while not overloading him, since he already has so many hand-me-downs. There's also the matter of his birthday coming up in two months! I know that ultimately they'll be happy, but as a parent you want to make the best decisions that will excite your children and keep them content at least until the next gift-giving event, if not for their entire childhood!
I have cookies to bake over the weekend so Jacob can (yet again) decorate a cookie at school. I need to spend my evening alone tomorrow while Craig takes his weekly trip to Canada making my signature double-decker monkey bread for my work party on Thursday. I have a ton of decisions to make and a lot of planning to do to ensure Jacob can eat (and feel included) while we're on the road over the holiday. It can be overwhelming when you've already got so much else going on.
I was thinking the other day that part of what makes Christmas so hard as an adult is that it was so carefree as a kid. The hardest part of everything was having to worry about waiting. That seems so easy now! Now there are so many decisions to make, gifts to buy, and things to think about. It's no wonder there is less time for fun!
I just want to feel excited about Christmas without worrying about so many other things that I fear won't get done. I have nine days to get it all figured out. Wish me luck.