Hello fall! I’ve not missed you. The only thing I like about fall is the pretty color the leaves change before they fall to the ground, becoming a nuisance that I have to rake up. I don’t know why I dislike cold weather so much, there are people that adore it. It’s their happy place and they walk around all bundled up smiling like the Joker on meds. Those people, I want to shake.
In the fall, my energy level starts depleting before completely bottoming out during the winter months. There’s nothing that makes me chipper about being cold, or needing to put on 27 layers of clothes before leaving my house. It’s also not fun that my normal anxiety that hangs out just beneath the surface of every word I utter, turns into holiday anxiety. Oh, you haven’t heard of holiday anxiety? It’s just like regular anxiety but a little more intense, and wrapped in a silver sparkly bow.
My anxiety is Christmas time fancy. It pulls out its best dress with twenty five small perfectly placed buttons that align it’s back. It has the biggest, shiniest, tiara, complete with glittering snowflakes. It ebbs and flows in its floor length gown as the south tries to decide between 75 and sunny, or 23 and dreary. My holiday anxiety is a fairy princess that lands on her toes before forcing the full weight of her body on my shoulders.
Oh, she’s beautiful. She smiles ever so politely. She decorates the tree with care, placing every ornament equal distance apart before looping the ribbon into the perfectly symmetrical bow that was calling to be placed at the top of the tree. My holiday anxiety takes a step back to look at her masterpiece before taking it all down because the wrapping paper she bought doesn’t match.
That just won’t do. The wrapping paper must match the ornaments, and the ornaments must complement the ribbon. What is this? Nothing can be out of place because it won’t be perfect. If the tree isn’t perfect, how will people know how much effort you put into it? If the wrapping paper doesn’t match the decorations, will people think you didn’t care about your family enough to put in more thought?
I can tell you that the answer is NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR STUPID CHRISTMAS TREE. Absolutely no person on this earth cares if your tree looks like you hired professional decorators. Your children won’t care that the wrapping paper matched the robes that the Wise Men were wearing. They. Don’t. Care. They are going to wake up Christmas morning and tear the carefully wrapped paper to shreds. The end.
Why do I let my anxiety get all fancy for the holidays? I haven’t the slightest idea. I guess the answer is, it does what it wants. It could have something to do with the cold weather playing with my emotions. It could have something to do with Christmas being my favorite holiday. I just don’t understand why we can’t have it when it’s warm outside. Jesus wasn’t born in December anyway. Pretty sure he was born in the springtime, when it was warm, the grass was green, and my anxiety was taking a nap.
Every year around the holidays, I’m forced to use my coping skills. Control your breathing. You’re not having a heart attack. It will be fine if the lights are multi-colored. Get your life together. You got this. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Every year I think I’m going crazy. Every year no one cares about the tree but me. Every year everything works out fine. Every year.
If you are like me and get an overwhelming dose of holiday anxiety, I must tell you a secret. This holiday season will pass, you’ll claw your way through it while breathing heavily into a paper bag, but you’ll get through it. You always do. Holiday anxiety hasn’t killed anyone yet. We got this.