(not my tree)
i dig Christmas (or The Holidays, as my politically correct friends prefer to say). admittedly, i am not a religious person, but there's definitely something special about traveling in a sea of people to visit friends and relatives, thinking up cool presents to give and hanging sparkly stuff all over the place while drinking eggnog or mulled wine.
being rather excited (and a little obsessive-compulsive) i started my gift hunting back before Halloween. i also taught myself a new skill in order to hand-make a present or two (this was much more time consuming than i had imagined, but hopefully the recipients of these items will appreciate the thought and time involved and not focus too much on the numerous flaws).
ANYway, my cards and shopping have been finished for a while now. all that's left is an afternoon of cookie baking (cranberry and white chocolate chip cookies this year). woo hoo and yum to that.
the one thing that's bothering me is the feeling i got when the last package and pile of cards were safely checked in at the post office. i figured it would be pretty satisfying to get that done, but instead of relief or pride, i exited the post office and immediately felt crummy. my entire mood went sour instantly. i felt unhappy, dissatisfied and cranky. then i felt inadequate. i started reviewing everything in my mind and thinking of what i could have done better.
i mentally criticized everything: the design of my greeting cards, the ribbon and paper i chose for the wrapping, the color and fabric of clothing -- basically everything. i had an overwhelming feeling that when the gifts and cards were opened by their recipients the people would all have something negative to say. i even worried about how my handwriting looked inside the cards.
now, i know full well that most people don't respond rudely to things they get at Christmas, but i have certainly heard enough catty remarks to know that things often get "discussed," and the worry that MY things will be those discussed critically was (and is) almost crippling.
it's always been tough to NOT worry about what others think, despite the fact that people love to tell you not to. it's much easier said than done. i think EVERYone worries about what others think to SOME extent, and if someone claims they don't, they're probably kidding themselves.
i don't give gifts because i have to, but because i want to -- however, i wish i could squash the feeling that i could have done better. this is especially hard when you live on another continent and your card or gift has to speak for you in your absence.
perhaps i'm more neurotic than the average person. perhaps the holidays can be stressful even though you really do love them. perhaps other people feel this way too but just don't say it out loud.
ahh. the sweet neuroses of Christmas.