Winter

One Word to Describe the Holidays

Hi everyone!  We’re halfway through Hanukkah, and slowly getting closer to Christmas.  The holidays are officially here and you see proof of this everywhere you look, including social media.  I’ve been reading lots of “How to get through the holidays” posts (and wrote one myself) and was starting to feel the stress of Christmas weighing down on me for one of the first times ever.  In fact, I was recently teaching and mentioned that this time of year can be stressful for a lot of people so we should all make an effort to be kind to one another.  One of my students said “Why is everyone telling me the holidays are stressful?  They’re fun!”.  I realized that he was completely right – why is it that I’m getting the messaging that the holidays need to be stressful?  I LOVE the holiday season, so why am I letting the media and the vibe of so many well-meaning bloggers get to me?  Are we actually making the holidays more stressful by focusing on how “stressful” they are – like in mile 8 of a half marathon where your brain starts telling you to slow down because you’re dying, even when you’re fine?

wonderfulOr is it?

So let’s get one thing straight right away:  everyone experiences the holidays differently.  For some people, they’re a super fun and exciting time of year.  For others, they’re super stressful, filled with drama, and something to be rushed through as soon as possible.  I get it!  There’s lots of things to do and you feel like you’re not able to get any time to yourself.  And I don’t want to discredit the experiences of anyone who is going through a tough time, dealing with SAD (read my tips for that here), or working through mental illness.  But when I think of Christmas and Hanukkah, I don’t think of the word “stressful” right away.  I can think of so many other things that describe this season more accurately for me!  If I had to sum up the holidays in one word it would be:

magical

Why?  Well honestly, Christmas makes me feel like a little kid again.  I sometimes resemble Buddy the Elf – an adult who is waaaaaaaay too excited about everything related to Christmas.  I remember being a kid and decorating the tree with my family each year, visiting Longwood Gardens to see the millions of lights on display, running through the King of Prussia mall with my sister screaming the words to every Christmas song we could think of, and giving out candy canes to all of the party guests that came to our huge annual Christmas parties.  Those experiences have stuck with me throughout the years, and each time I see a small part of those in my current Christmas celebrations I feel like I’m magically transported back in time.  As an adult Christmas isn’t all that different – one of the best moments of the year is when we put up our tree, I’m obsessed with giant Christmas light displays, I truly believe that the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear, and I keep a stash of candy canes in my house and in my office.  And these are just a few examples of ways that I feel the magic of Christmas.  It might sound corny, but I know that every time I geek out over something Christmasy it’s because I’m feeling that magic.

buddy the elf

It can definitely be tough being an adult on Christmas, especially in a new town where you have to make new traditions without your family.  But we’re trying to do as much as we can to bring that magic here to Anchorage so that I can feel it no matter how far I am from home.  And with my husband including me in his Hanukkah celebrations, I get to watch him magically turn into a little kid again when he’s making latkes and lighting the candles.  No matter what stressful stuff gets thrown my way in December, I’m more focused on the magic the holidays bring me.

So now it’s your turn:  What one word would you use to describe the holidays?  And no, you can’t say “stressful”!  What is your favorite Christmas tradition that you still do today?

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33 thoughts on “One Word to Describe the Holidays

  1. Ah, this is a great reminder that for the most part most of us make our own stress by putting too many expectations on ourselves. For me the holiday season is “special” for all the special things we do this time of year. My favorite tradition is baking!

    1. Love your word! And yes, that’s where I was going with that. Are we creating our own stress? Just enjoy this time of year for the happiness it brings you and try to be as positive as possible!

  2. I just find this time of year hard because I have zero energy. But not really all that stressful. I think being Jewish is definitely a plus right now! And staying far, far away from shopping malls.

    1. Oh, that’s so true. I have SAD and it’s so draining right now because there’s not sunlight and I’m always tired. But I still can get excited about the holidays! And it definitely helps being Jewish! Hanukkah is so much fun and it’s definitely more low key (at least in our house, although I might be making a big dinner for it on Friday so I might take that back) 🙂

    1. It so is! I feel like you hit on all my feelings about it right now. I’m trying to focus on the positive as I get closer and closer to seeing my family for Christmas! 🙂

  3. my word is definitely “wonderful” even if that’s just stealing from a christmas song haha. lights and pretty decorations are so awe-inspiring, spending time with my family is really delightful, and the whole time between thanksgiving and the new year is just a really happy time for me. the only thing i stress over is shipping/flying, but those are really small stresses.

    1. I love your word! It’s totally my runner up 🙂 And it’s so true that that are the two biggest stressors! I’m always worried that stuff won’t get here in time because things take forever to get here in Alaska, so that’s definitely stressful for me!

  4. I agree so much with you – why do we let the media tell us that the holidays should be stressful? Even with stressors such as travel, the holidays are a wonderful time full of love, hope, family, and cheer. Christmas always will be my favorite holiday!

    1. Yay for finding another Buddy! It’s one of my favorite movies, probably because I identify with him so much 🙂 I recently told my manager that one day she should expect to walk out of her office after a meeting and see it decorated like Gimbel’s in the movie!

  5. Loooooove this!! I agree. I don’t get stressed this time of year. Probably because I dont have a big gift giving family so I’m not out at the malls or feverishly trying to find the perfect present. Christmas to me means time off! Ha, so my word would be relaxing!

  6. Great post. I have found the older I get and the more I look at life for what it really is, I don’t get stressed out about the holidays. I am normally just happy to have some time off to spend hanging with my husband and kids. I hope you adjust quickly to the new location. I hear its beautiful there.

  7. … sorry, I hit send too soon… Anyway, my child is 11, and I think he knows that Santa isn’t really real, but in reality, he is very real because he exists in me and my husband, sooo, who’s right and who’s wrong, lol. My son looks at me out of the corner of his eye when I talk about Santa because I think he doesn’t want to let ME down by telling me he’s not real, hehe. I love this time of year… I only get SAD afterwards, :D.

    1. So do I!!!! I get so sad when it’s over and have to plan fun things for January so that I don’t get to bummed out. As soon as September rolls around I get excited because fall and Christmas are the best times of the year!

  8. Christmas seems to be turning into just another day. We don’t even put up a tree anymore! My word is family though because it’s the only time I get to see them offline.

    1. Oh no! I felt that way last year, but it’s just super hard when you can’t do your usual traditions or see family. I’m glad you get to see your family in person though, that should hopefully help make it more special!

  9. I’m actually very excited for Christmas this year since my two year old son is 2.5 yrs old and he’ totally into Christmas. It’s so fun to see it in the perspective of a parent. I enjoy seeing him light up when we talk about Christmas, and Santa. It’s fun to do all the traditions with my own little family. I haven’t sang this many Christmas songs in ages!

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