Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

I’m not a grinch, really. But by the time we get here – Christmas eve-eve – I am normally about ready to skip the holiday altogether.

The holidays are peculiar things for me. On one hand, I’m terribly excited about the impending festivities. I love seeing our kids’ faces light up on Christmas morning and appreciate how every year it’s the “best Christmas ever!”

But I also get homesick. I miss my mom, who passed away several years ago. Her home was a Christmas wonderland, with trees that looked like they came out of a catalog. She had a knack for gift giving that made you know she had been listening to you even when you didn’t know she had throughout the year. Christmas at her house was loud and crazy, because everyone wanted to be there. I miss my sister and her family. Our kids are growing up without the benefit of being able to share holidays, something that circumstances and distance have stolen from us. And, quite frankly, gathering with my husband’s family just isn’t the same. If anything, it may serve to emphasize the fact that I’m not with mine.

Also around this time, I start worrying about everything being perfect – the house, the kids’ clothes for the inevitable family pictures, the gifts, the surprises.

It’s enough to become slightly insane.

This year, though, I have been trying to do things differently. I skipped Black Friday. I did all my shopping online and avoided the crowds and chaos. I paid attention throughout the year so that choosing gifts for Dave was easier.

On Christmas day, I’m just going to¬† let it happen. Instead of worrying that everything is in its place or that the kids are perfectly coordinated for photo ops or feeling out of control at the chaos of it all, I’m just going to try enjoying each moment, from the awkward annual gathering of my in-laws to the early morning chaos to the deliciously messy lasagna Christmas dinner.

There’s enough to stress about the rest of the year. Christmas – or whatever peace and joy holiday you celebrate this time of year – should be stressless!