Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Anxiety

It is that time of year again. The advent season leading to Christmas. I do like Christmas, generally, I love the warmth and celebration in the air, more festive gatherings in order to spend time with friends. The thing that I don't look forward to much is the gifts. More specifically, the gifts that I need to get for my children. My younger two are still at the age where they like to open a lot of presents and they count their gifts. This brings me to the anxiety that hit me today. It happened when I ordered a gift for one of my children on-line. I had wanted to get this and all gifts for my children at stores this year. When I reflect upon the "why" of this decision, I realized that it had to do with our Christmas in the Northwest last year.

We were pounded by snowstorms. Now I realize that in many areas of the country this is the norm this time of the year. It isn't the norm here. We have hills and lots of them. We also live in a damp climate. When it gets cold and snows and freezes there is ice everywhere. Ice and hills do not make for good driving conditions and as we are so unprepared in this part of the country roads are not plowed. They are not sanded or salted either because of our close proximity to Lake Washington. Suffice it to say, all of our on-line gifts, most were for the kids, did not make it in time for Christmas. I found myself going through the birthday gift bin, those pre-bought sale gifts that I sometimes keep on hand for birthday parties and those were their Santa gifts, not things that they had asked for, some of those didn't come until 2-3 weeks after Christmas. This is a lesson in delayed gratification if there ever was one.

Flashback to Christmas 2006. We suffered from a huge windstorm in this area right before Christmas. Our grid was out of power for seven days. Grids surrounding us were restored in 2-3 days. It took the energy company quite a bit more time to get around to removing the huge Douglas Fir tree laying on the power lines that supplied our grid. It was difficult to drive a block from our house and see everyone else's lights on and know that their house temperature must certainly be above the 45 degrees on our home register. The next Christmas, 2007, I felt stress when I took out the Christmas decorations because of flashbacks to that very challenging Christmas season.

Weather around this time of year has increased my anxiety level at the holidays. I feel myself going into prepared mode, I feel a need to have everything organized and done early in case there is foul weather to mess up holiday plans. I think it will be easier when my kids are older and I don't have to worry so much about the timeliness of the gifts. When they are older they will also have more resilience regarding changes in holiday routine and tradition. In many ways I don't look forward to my children getting older, holiday time is not one of them.


Megs said...

i love that we sat around your beautifully decorated tree Karen,with your straw goats (what were they called?) guarding the presents to come (hopefully!)
i am missing you SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much! thank you for the lovely chocolate lip balm and earrings and for having us. you are the best. i want to be your friend for ever!!! and to come camping with you the summer after next! and for you to come and visit! we are looking for a home, maybe st kilda beach - an apartment near the bay - we;llhave fun when you visit! love m

Megs said...

Eowyn sends Fiona her love and COco has been talking about Ameliaand Fiona often and sends them both hugs and i send YOU a big hug, and Adrianne, and tell Eric my finger is almost betterfrom the bebe gun injury!!!!!!!!!!!!! and hugs for him, and Toniann, too and an especially big one for you!
love meg