Overwhelmed by First World Problems

by anna on December 18, 2008

Last week, I headed over to a mall to try to do Christmas shopping. We are going to visit relatives this year, and so I really need to keep my eyes on the prize about getting this shit done before we leave. Running around at the last second is just not going to fly, since we have to fly next week. Across the country. With a 20-month old. Whole other story.

So I get to the mall and all of a sudden I’m just overcome with this oppressive sadness and feeling of being overwhelmed. Shopping for Christmas seems like such a gargantuan task this year for some reason. I keep saying I’m going to do it online, but even that gets the best of me. Now, I’m not a huge fan of the whole holiday season to begin with–I’ve already shared my thoughts on the food offerings of Thanksgiving, and in general I find Christmas to be a whole lot of hullabaloo over nothing. You can say things like that when you’re not religious, you see. There’s no spiritual element to Christmas for me, and so I’m left with a holiday that just requires a bunch of gift-giving all at once. The fact that I have such a large extended family makes shopping a little more difficult anyway. But this year it’s like pulling teeth even to get little gifts for my son and my husband. I cannot even type in the words “Toys ‘R’ Us” to my browser. It all seems so futile and pointless.

What is it about Christmas this year that is so depressing? Maybe it’s the fact that we’re in a depression. Mr. Right-Click and I were talking about how it seems like there’s so much less hoopla this year–less decoration, less promotion, less bullshit. But that seems like a positive thing to me. I don’t get what’s getting me down. Our Christmas budget this year is definitely smaller, so gift purchasing is more challenging, and then there’s the fact that Mini refuses to go into stores now, unless it is Target or the grocery store, and then he just runs around like a terror or, alternatively, can be bribed to go into stores using one of his beloved stuffed animals as a lure, but then must be watched like a hawk in order to ensure he doesn’t break or otherwise ruin merchandise.

Is it me, or is Christmas kind of a downer this year? Where is that holiday spirit I keep hearing about? How are you all coping with this season, internet?

{ 12 comments }

Chris December 18, 2008 at 7:35 am

I’m having a difficult time this year too. Even though I’m trying to simplify and find a little balance, I’m feeling unmotivated, tired and slightly resentful of all the woman/slave work. My husband is not chauvinistic at all, but I still feel pressure to make the holiday experience “special” for everyone. Three sons, teachers, extended family, old people who are ignored… I’m struggling, and I don’t like the feeling. Maybe it’s a little depression. Not sure. I’ll send you good vibes, and good luck traveling with your son. Been there!

Kerry December 18, 2008 at 7:42 am

I have no advice, but I feel exactly the same way. I am not a holiday person anyway, but I particularly hate Christmas. I just hold my breath until New Year’s, when I can put all the crap away and forget about it for another year.

Part of my problem with Christmas, I think, is that I don’t like to be told what to do, and there are SO many things you “have” to do at Christmas time. The cards, the gifts, the cookies, the decorations, the crappy picture of freaked out kids on Santa’s lap…what is this for, exactly? What is the point?

NGS December 18, 2008 at 8:37 am

I am rolling my eyes at myself right now, but it’s not about presents. It’s about thinking of others this time of year. That’s why a well-chosen, well-thought out $10 gift (or homemade!) is more important to me than the $500 gift that someone who doesn’t know me well thought I would like.

You don’t HAVE to do anything. You don’t have time or energy for shopping? Then don’t. Send a note. Let people know you’re thinking about them. You don’t have time for the whole Christmas card with stickers and confetti and cheesy pictures of your kids with Santa? Then don’t do it. Send a notecard with a brief statement that you miss your best friend and wish you could see her more often.

I feel stressed out every holiday season, but it’s my own fault. I’m over scheduled and kind of stupid about it EVERY year. But I take a deep breath, realize I’m with the ones I love, which doesn’t get to happen all the time, and remember what’s important.

And, Kerry, I must say I love the cheesy pics of kids screaming at Santa. They are the best. Maybe you don’t think so, but it’s fun to receive a Christmas card with that little gem stuffed inside!! It makes me smile to see the tradition of scaring kids continue on!

NGS´s last blog post..45 x 365 #47

Cat December 18, 2008 at 9:43 am

Normally, Christmas is my favorite holiday of the entire year. This year? I am hating every second of it. I’m not sure why. Mostly (probably) because of my miscarriage in October. Just not feeling very festive right now. Also, it seems like it just snuck up out of nowhere – no prep time, no easing into the spirit of things. One minute, it was Halloween. Then BAM! Time for Santa. I must have slept through the entire fall.

Cat´s last blog post..Guess What?

Tracy Lynn December 18, 2008 at 11:03 am

Last Christmas, my father died. It was The Worst Christmas Ever, not just because he was sick, but because it wholly lacked any good stuff and was just 100% stress.

I highly doubt that any hing could compare to that. I guess I am just grateful this year, even though I am celebrating by myself.

Tracy Lynn´s last blog post..Twelve Guests Of Christmas 2008- El Relampagado Version

Amy December 18, 2008 at 11:12 am

It’s been hard this year. The architect is not a big fan of the holiday season to begin with, and now that he’s unemployed, he spends a lot of time at home, alone, being depressed. We have virtually no gift budget (we spent more on shipping the gifts than we did on the gifts themselves), so it’s just been the suck.

Amy´s last blog post..Look What I Made!

Ginger December 18, 2008 at 12:02 pm

Add me to the group too. It’s definitely tougher this year to have any holiday cheer than it normally is for me. We’re overwhelmed, and there’s family stress (non-holiday related), and I just kind of want 2009 to get here already and be done with it all.

I’m trying really hard to focus on the positives of the season, since Christmas is usually my favorite holiday, but man it’s been tough.

Ginger´s last blog post..Who me, an entrepreneur?

lisa December 18, 2008 at 2:25 pm

I’m not a holidays person either, in fact this was the first year that we put a tree up in 14 years. But having a 3.5 year old who is enamored with the whole Christmas thing has put the Christmas spirit/magic back into me. So much so that I am looking forward to hitting the after X-mas sales in hopes on scoring big on decorations. I’m letting my gaudy self emerge just for this one occasion and hope to expand my paltry 11 Christmas decorations(tree and tree skirt included)

lisa´s last blog post..Handle With Care

Becky December 18, 2008 at 2:33 pm

I hate to chime in and be the one who says, “Nope, it all seems fine to me!” But the stress (we’re leaving town tomorrow, then coming back, then I’m going to a conference, then we’re leaving town again. . .omg), for me, is balanced by the good stuff–seeing family, husband having two weeks off, and (like Lisa) letting my gaudy interior decorator self emerge.

We don’t do huge shopping–hubs and I get each other one small gift, and no adult in the family gets more than that. I did most of it on Amazon and Moveon.org (wow, when did that become an xmas shopping destination?) And the kids only have one biggish thing each. I say, just don’t worry about having things perfect or about creating “perfect experiences.” Just hang out and catch up on your tivo. Festive!

Becky´s last blog post..Shorties Were Sipping

AKD December 18, 2008 at 4:27 pm

I always feel behind at Christmas because I’m in charge of the company holiday party for 300+ people and after that’s over 1) I’m exhausted and hum-buggy and 2) there’s not very much time to get everything done before Xmas. Plus my husband’s birthday is on Christmas Day, so I always feel like I should be making it extra-special because it sucks so bad to have a bday on Xmas. That reminds me, I should stop fooling around on the internet and do some shopping.

Christine December 18, 2008 at 5:55 pm

This will sound very cliche. but I am trying to fight back by focusing on the traditions with the kids this year and not on the stuff. We’ve made gingerbread houses and gorged ourselves on candy, we’ve read some old favorite books, and plan to go ice skating on Christmas Eve morning. For everything else, like decorating and shopping, I’ve lowered my standards drastically. And in terms of taking Mini into stores and worrying that he’ll break stuff, don’t. Back when I had two toddlers, my brother released me from that fear by telling me if they broke something, it was the store’s own fault for keeping breakables and chocolates down low where kids can reach them.

Christine´s last blog post..The Well Stuffed Stocking

Souther' Mother December 25, 2008 at 11:14 pm

I have been kind of bummed this year because I realize the Christmas magic doesn’t just happen; it takes a mom working her ass off for weeks to make it happen. That said, it still happened and maybe it was better because I made it happen myself. The children are old enough and young enough to believe in Santa. Everything was perfect for them and that makes me so happy. Reciting “The Night Before Christmas” last night as they were snuggled in Bubba’s bed in their Christmas jammies, the room lit by multi-colored Christmas lights, my husband sitting in the chair in the corner–it was a perfect moment. Seeing their pure enjoyment just kind of overwhelms any negative feelings I might have had.

Souther’ Mother´s last blog post..Why I Hate Wal-Mart: Twenty Reasons

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