The Christmas tradition I’m giving up this year

For the past two years I have adorned the doorway to our living room with 24 red and green envelopes. Inside each envelope was a slip of paper. Most listed a surprise activity: make cookies, visit Santa, make ornaments, decorate the Christmas tree, read a holiday story. A couple were just jokes (strategically placed on what numbers I knew would be busy nights). My children were excited to be surprised to see each new activity. The envelopes ensure that there would be a little Christmas magic each day of December leading up to the 25th. It was fun, but I’m quitting this year. This year I am not putting up the envelopes.

2016 has defeated me.

That’s an exaggeration, but 2016 has sure worn me out. There was, of course, the exasperation of painfully ugly political campaigns that exasperated so many of us. I, personally, got some additionally unexpected delights like having my identity stolen, being diagnosed with a heart condition, and having a cardiac ablation for said heart condition. Then, only a month ago, there was the emotional rollercoaster of the Cubs in the World Series (ending in elation) followed almost immediately by the emotional rollercoaster of the presidential election (ending in depression). And along the way there were numerous international tragedies and untimely deaths of amazing people to avoid any chance at a slow news week.

This year I don’t have the energy to plan out 24 seasonally appropriate surprises, nor do I think I have it in me to be merry and bright for 25 consecutive days. Even for my children.

Don’t worry. I’ll still do Christmas stuff, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. I’ve already started my Christmas baking. We will have a tree and send cards and throw a Christmas party. But I know I will occasionally need to opt out. I know there will be days when the last thing I will want is an envelope looming over my head (literally) to force me into festive festivities when I just want to lie on the couch.

Normally, I get all into the holiday hustle bustle, but this year I need to take it slowly. I hope my kids aren’t too disappointed, but this is what mommy needs right now. This is my Christmas present to me.

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