I often refer to Christmas as The Fourth-Quarter Earnings Holiday. I feel that it has become all about retailers having a good 4th Quarter (take, for example, the fact that many stores are opening on Thanksgiving day). Also, retailers have taken the 12 days of Christmas (which start Christmas day & go into the New Year) and have made it the 60 Days Before Christmas. But that's another rant. Today, I want to talk about introverts and this Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
Once it's November, I feel like we're all on a roller coaster. There are parties - Christmas parties and Holiday parties - from every aspect of your life (work! school! church! youth group! Girl Scouts! sports!). There are gifts to buy and food to buy (and prepare). There are people telling you it's the MOST Wonderful time of the Year and that you should be happy and loving and jolly. And all of this makes introverts...exhausted.
You see, introverts are drained of energy when they're with other people. If there are a lot of social events close together (say, something every night, or a few times throughout the week), our energy reserves become depleted and we're exhausted - and, most of us get a little (or a lot) grumpy when our energy reserves are low. It's hard to be jolly and happy and loving when you're exhausted and drained of energy.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you may be an extrovert. Extroverts have their energy reserves filled up by being around people. If extroverts spend too much time by themselves, they feel tired and bored and sad. So, having a lot of social events is exciting and energizing for extroverts.
But, for me, this time of the year is so draining.
I have a small family and I spend time with them all year long. So, "the holidays" is not some special time where I see people I only see once a year (or so).
I didn't realize, when I had my daughter, that kids add to the holiday social events. Now there's not just my events (work, friends, church), but also hers (school, friends, youth group).
I start feeling the dread in October, when retailers start pushing Christmas stuff. By November, when people can barely wait for Thanksgiving to be over with so that they can get ALL THE GREAT DEALS on BLACK FRIDAY, I'm feeling dread and tiredness. By December, I'm just hoping to be able to hold it together til January.
My ideal Christmas goes like this:
Christmas Eve - We attend the candlelight service at church. We sing the Christmas hymns (not songs about Santa or Rudolph or Frosty or mommy kissing someone, or a hippo). By the time we get home, it's after midnight - Merry Christmas!
We go to sleep and then wake up in the morning to exchange gifts. This consists of me, my daughter, and my parents. My Mom usually cooks. Christmas day is spent relaxing and eating and playing with our gifts (which, for me & my daughter, often include books).
No traveling. No rushing. No having to go to 68 different houses. Just a quiet, relaxing, un-rushed day. We don't spend a ton of money (or go into debt) for Christmas. We get each other gifts we really want. We are thankful for what we have.
Now, I need to get back to planning what food item I'm going to take to which gathering, and, also, how many gifts do I need to buy & to knit. Also, the sweater knitting has been suspended because I am currently doing birthday/Christmas knitting. It started out as NO deadline knitting, moved to knitting a hat, and has escalated into knitting a hat, finishing one whole fingerless mitt, the thumbs for three pairs of fingerless mitts, and a pair of fingerless mitts (it's kind of like, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie").
Are you doing any gift knitting this year?