On Cheer :: Anxiety and the Holidays {We’re Gonna Need Stronger Nog}

Dolly’s voice normally signifies the beginning of my holiday season. The Chipmunks, though not as reliable, often have the same affect. 

I’m a sentimental fool. Christmas just exacerbates that.

I’m the chick that ugly cries during Christmas songs. I don’t care if it’s about a manger or a hippopotamus; tears will come. It’s involuntary. It can be embarrassing. And my husband only thinks it’s cute if we aren’t surrounded by his co-workers or innocent grocery store patrons. 

Eggnog just makes it worse. 

On Cheer:: Anxiety and the Holidays {We're Gonna Need Stronger Nog} | Houston Moms Blog

But to be fair, most things surrounding Christmas make me tear up. Especially, since having kids. I have always been a HUGE celebrator and holidays make me delirious with joy–but after coming down from my Halloween high, I am reminded of how quickly the season will pass. 

I start thinking about how I will feel the day after Christmas, long before we’ve put up the tree. And the thought of facing the cold without the benefit of an upcoming holiday, hits me in the gut and threatens to make fun of my Grinch onesie. 

That’s how my anxious mind works. Anticipation and dread are pals in my psyche. And it can be hard to balance them out so that I can just sit back, watch Elf, and make sure the candy canes are dispersed evenly around the tree. 

I’m sure you know someone with similar anxiety woes. A Christmas baby with an anxious heart; one who constantly battles between decking the halls and crying from the fear of running out of a certain print of wrapping paper. 

I’m hoping this will help you understand their anxiety struggles this season. And more importantly, what you can gift them. 

Because to be honest, we’re anxious about that, too. 

On Cheer:: Anxiety and the Holidays {We're Gonna Need Stronger Nog} | Houston Moms Blog

Things anxious people {or at least one with my particular brand of worry} do to help them get through the holidays ::

  1. We play Christmas music whenever and wherever we please. Please don’t make a comment. I don’t care if you think it’s too early or melancholy. It makes us feel good and just a little bit in control of how long we can appropriately be merry. Also, it’s the only time of the year that I actually get excited about Mariah Carey. Don’t take that away from me. 
  2. We ask for Christmas lists/wishes before Black Friday. You may get annoyed… I mean, we haven’t even cut the damn turkey, BUT we have to buy gifts for 20+ people and if you know you want a new plush robe and that Target is going to have them half off, well babe, for our sanity and wallet, we need that information stat. And if you just tell me, “I dunno, books or kitchen things” I’m gonna need to know at least a genre and color scheme. I don’t need Aunt Tess shaking her head from some naughty book I gifted or my SIL embarrassed by her new yellow ladle. 
  3. We buy at least twenty Christmas candles and require them lit when we enter a room. Anxious people are often calmed by smells and abundance of cinnamon cradles our souls and whispers sweet nothings into our buzzing ears. 
  4. We keep a Lifetime/Hallmark/Netflix sentimental, yet perfectly cheesy show on 24/7. Even if I’m not watching it, if I am putting away laundry and I happen to glance at the screen and see a high power exec being humbled by a retired baker and his sick son, I will walk higher that day and with a new found purpose. Because Christmas magic, y’all. 
  5. We worry about getting our kids too many things. We worry about not getting them enough. We worry about not conveying and instilling the importance of giving. We worry that we haven’t convinced them that Santa is legit. We worry that the tree won’t receive an adequate amount of water and our house will burn down. We worry that we will all get the flu. And we definitely worry that we will let one little thing slip and the magic of Christmas is ruined forever. We worry. Lots. You should probably restock the nog. 
  6. Lastly, and this might be just me, I don’t do Elf on the Shelf. I feel no need to explain that one. Carry on.

So, now that you know some of the signs {and when to back off or politely just dance along}, we should talk about the good stuff. 

Presents. 

On Cheer:: Anxiety and the Holidays {We're Gonna Need Stronger Nog} | Houston Moms Blog

I believe there are a few universal things that every anxious human can appreciate. So, here you go. A gift guide for your worrisome friend. And if someone could forward this link to my husband, that would be great. 

  1. Socks! There are a few ways you can go about this. If you have the time, run by TJ Maxx, Ross, or Marshalls and just find the coziest, most pastel-hued socks there. They will be cheap. They will be perfect. And you can pick up a few dozen random things you didn’t realize you need, like a unicorn tape measurer and teal-tipped matches with funny sayings, so EVERYONE is a winner. Or you could just Amazon Prime those suckers. My top choices are cozy, funny, and reflective of my personality {so maybe not for everyone, but you get the gist}: for your wino friend, for your nerdy friend {my personal favorite}, and for everyone else
  2. Bath salts and aromatherapy products. This may be a given, but just know, bubbles and lavender are always a good thing. My absolute favorite smell for bath salts comes from this little fella at Target. You also can’t go wrong with a bag of Dr. Teal’s {my MIL gifted me this one year in a huge glass container with a scooper inside and to this day, it is one of my favorite gifts. I just refill the jar when I run out}. Bubble bath? Look no farther than the Mayfair brand at Target.  
  3.  Speaking of baths… a wooden bath caddy will guarantee you rockstar friend status. Amazon has a ton listed. This one covers all your bases and is super cute; also not the most expensive one out there. So, depending on how close your friendship is, you might be able to pair it with a bottle of wine or a book–and if you are my husband, I’ll take any $13.99 Merlot and a new paranormal romance, skip the zombies. 
  4. Candles. My favorite candle in the world is this gem from Bath and Body Works. It is the ONE constant on my wish list, every single year. It’s pricier, but worth every glorious penny. You can’t really go wrong with Eucalyptus and Spearmint. 
  5. Diffuser jewelry. It’s totally a thing. And it’s brilliant. Amazon has some wonderful, cheap options such as this bracelet and this necklace {both of which I have gifted to others}. And if you want even more options and don’t mind spending a wee bit more, try Etsy. Simply search “diffuser jewelry” and thank me later. 
  6. A cozy blanket/throw. Bonus points if it’s reversible. I tend to go for shades of blue, grey, or if I’m a feeling daring, emerald green. Again, if you have a babysitter and time to kill, you can go wander the aisles of your nearest HomeGoods or Tuesday Morning, and find the fluffiest, dreamiest one. But if you have twenty kids hanging all over you and exactly a minute and a half to spare, try Amazon. Here are my top choices: fancy and not-as-fancy
  7. Pretty notebooks. Funky pens. You really can’t go wrong. Also, as a writer, these are my latest jam, Decomposition Notebooks.
  8. A few big ticket items {be prepared to spend a pretty penny}: A weighted blanket, light therapy energy lamp, and the complete Harry Potter Paperback book collection. The last suggestion being reserved only for your coolest of friends.

I hope your season is filled with more light than dark. An abundance of full belly laughter. A few drives around town just to see the lights. And that even at your most anxious times, you remember, those cookies left out for Santa… they are actually for you.

Leave your husband the carrots. 

On Cheer:: Anxiety and the Holidays {We're Gonna Need Stronger Nog} | Houston Moms Blog

 

 


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