December 18, 2011 by Nicole
While finally hitting the home stretch (hour 1o, for those of you who are interested!) of my last ever essay grad-a-thon, I happened to catch one of those timely seasonal programs on the History Channel about people’s extreme Christmas trees. Personally, I love these kinds of shows–Extreme Christmas Trees, Crazy Christmas Lights, Invasion of the Lights and Invasion of the Lights 2–they really get me in the holiday spirit. And no, I am not being facetious–I did think that the cowboy artist who made a whole tree out of antlers was awesomely talented. Come to think of it, I would probably want to buy one for my own home if I could.
But what really irked me–and perhaps this is just because I happened to hear what was said after having graded almost forty 6-page research papers–is when one of the extreme Christmas tree decorators said “Christmas is stressful.” I thought to myself, Is this guy serious? What is stressful about decorating a Christmas tree, or for that matter, what is so stressful about Christmas?
I will be honest; in spite of the crazy way that the retail industry has commercialized Christmas, that in and of itself isn’t the worst part. The worst part is how people seem to believe that the holiday season is inherently stressful. It really shouldn’t be that way, because the things that we have to stress out about, when you stop and think, really aren’t worthy of being stressful. Before you complain about what and how much you have to do over the next week, think of it this way.
- If cooking for the family stresses you out, be thankful that you’re blessed with a family who cares enough to come together over the holidays, that you have a family to cook for, and that you have enough food to eat.
- If the crowded malls and stores stress you out, be grateful that you have people to buy gifts for and that you’re not alone this season.
- If decorating the house stresses you out, praise God you have a home to decorate.
- If trying to coordinate who you’ll celebrate with on what days and at what times, be grateful that you have that many people thinking of you and value you and your time enough to want to you be with them to celebrate.
- If the Christmas music that has been on the radio since mid November is driving you crazy, be thankful that most of those songs promote generosity, kindness, selflessness, love, and charity toward others.
- If you’re still stressed out, remember why Christmas is such a big deal, and that it’s a time to celebrate, not to flip out. And, if it helps, remember that the newborn we’re getting ready to welcome into the world was already here, so that means no late night feedings, diaper changes, or sleepless nights. 🙂