“Merry Christmas Mom! We love you! – from Mary and Jones”
Isn’t that a message that you warm around the heart? The moment you read it, you sense the tears of joy coming. In that moment of time, we can only be grateful for how lucky we are.
It suddenly occurs to us: hey; the holidays are not only about running around looking for presents, cooking, planning, decorating, and stressing out over every single detail. Oh, not to mention the endless cleaning in between all these activities.
Christmas is all about family. When did we stop feeling the joy? Those were my exact thoughts when a moment like this hit me last year. I was catching myself shouting several times throughout the day. My husband, the kids, my mom… everyone fell victim to my inability to handle the holiday anxiety. After this moment of bliss, I realized: I need to keep myself together. How did I do that? I started writing Christmas letters with my kids. Not cards. Letters. And, it was the perfect method that reminded me of all the good I had in my life.
The Stress. It’s There! How Do We Bring Ourselves Back to Balance?
I recently read the information that the average American spent 42 hours a year on holiday activities. My first thought was: “yeah, right; I bet they didn’t include women in the survey.” Ask a mom, and she’ll tell you: the process of planning, shopping, wrapping, and giving presents takes much longer than that. Plus, we have a house to decorate. Heck, we have a house to clean before and after we decorate! Add one or few kids running around that house and you’ll get my point: holidays are more stressful than joyful.
I couldn’t reduce the stress. I still needed to clean, decorate, shop, wrap, and return. However, I decided to add a bit more joy into the mix, so I would bring myself back to balance. And that, I did. With Christmas letters.
It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. It was a process, but the effort was totally worth it.
Step 1: Recognizing Stress
The stress over the holidays is so intense that it practically consumes us. We can’t even recognize the fact that we’re stressed, since we’re only doing what moms are supposed to be doing. Bad news: all that horror can bring us to a meltdown.
Have you ever locked yourself in the bathroom just to have 10 minutes to yourself on Christmas Eve. I know I have. And I kept convincing myself: “It’s okay, it’s okay, you can do this!” It wasn’t okay because I didn’t recognize the problem, so I couldn’t find a way to solve it. After the recognition, a solution follows.
Step 2: Templates
Hint: I still haven’t told my kids that Santa doesn’t exist. They haven’t asked. So it was easy to make them enthusiastic about writing a letter to Santa.
I found great free templates online, so I printed them out. I gave them coloring pencils and I thought they were ready to go. Except, they weren’t. They asked: “mommy, how do we write a letter?” Oh, that was the perfect opportunity for a personal challenge. I set down and I started writing a letter, too, but things were not going that well. I had a hard time to express all those emotions on paper.
Step 3: Writing the Letter
I found a great site: Australian Writings essay help. The method is simple: you place an order and you’re paired with a professional writer who works under your instructions. I asked for a personal essay with a Christmas letter theme. The writer returned a great piece that would make Santa cry.
After analyzing that essay, I made this plan:
-Why was last year special?
-What do I want for next year?
-How will I deserve it?
We get three goodies in one: recognition for the great things we experienced throughout the year that’s passing; goals and wishes; and a plan for being good to deserve accomplishment.
Once my kids had this outline and two samples (one from the writer and one from me), they were ready to write their own letters. And, let me tell you something: they were absolutely beautiful. I packed them and I mailed them to Santa. Okay okay, of course I didn’t mail them. I kept them and I’m gonna show them when they grow up.
Here’s the best part of Mary’s letter:
“Santa, last year was great because mom and dad were smiling all the time. This year I want my grandpa to come visit more often. And a little purse.”
Jones was more precise:
“I was a bit mad cause I didn’t get that truck last year. I was all good and I hope this year I’ll get it.”
Step 4: Santa Sends a Response
Let me tell you something: when your kids send a letter to Santa, they will demand a response. That’s the good part: you get to teach them a lesson. I wrote a letter that praised them for the good things they did.
I threw in something special: “But Jones, do you remember that time when you painted on the dog’s face? Marry, do you remember how you helped? That was not cool, kids?” They were thrilled! How does Santa know? “He knows everything,” – I said.
In the letter, Santa said that for all the good things they want to happen, they have to try. Trying means being good.
I found a beautiful book by J.R.R. Tolkien, called Letters from Father Christmas. I added it in the package with the letter, saying that Santa send it to tell them how things were on the North Pole. We red one letter per night, and we all went to sleep as happy as we could possibly be.
Where Did the Stress Go?
Somewhere along the writing and reading, the stress disappeared. I still took care of all those ‘responsibilities’. The house was clean, the presents were ready, and the meals were cooked. But, I got the holiday spirit back. I thought them a valuable lesson: they should be grateful for the things they have, and they should deserve the things they want. Plus, we all learned how to write.
This year, we’re doing the same.