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All I Want For Christmas

This is my "maybe everyone is thinking it, so I'm just going to say it" Christmas post. I love Christmastime, and I hate Christmastime. I feel anxiousness and elation at the same time when the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving arrive... and they have. Mark your map - we are here! 

I really don't want to be "that guy" who is the Debbie Downer about the holidays (aka GRINCH). I want to embrace the holidays for all that they can be - I want to squeeze every last drop of family time and joy and spiked eggnog... out of the holiday season! But I want to get off the roller coaster of the holiday season. I have a ticket in my sweaty hand and I do not want to get on the ride. 

You know what I mean. The "holiday ride." The one that starts about now with the Christmas list planning, the giant holiday meal planning, the decorating, the family visit planning. Who's getting a Christmas card? Who gets cut this year... Do we put the purchases on a credit card and hope to recover over the next few months? Am I being merry and giving enough? DID I EMBRACE THE SEASON ADEQUATELY????? (*screams inwardly... who am I kidding... screams outwardly... in my van*) 

Oh and the list goes on... how many presents is too much, but how many is not enough... Should we donate our present money to a charity...are we spoiling our kids or are we depriving them...I'm not trying to stress you out, Dear Reader. I'm just stressed enough for both of us. And I don't necessarily appear that way (maybe I do...)... but I feel that way. I try to stuff that feeling into a gift box and put it on the shelf in the garage so that I can "get on with it" and really "enjoy" the holidays. But I can't help but feel I'm missing something. 

I can't seem to reconcile the lights, shopping, trees, stress... with the story of the manger. I can't. I don't know what to do about it either. I mean, I've heard all the "reasons for the season" and how we justify the excess and the tradition. I just feel like somehow, all of this tradition is going to be a waste of energy - a misunderstanding of the message and a smothering of the truth. A smothering in brightly colored paper and flashing lights and panic shopping. 

I love getting presents as much as the next guy. I love eating giant meals with my family. I love spoiling my kids with treats. I love spending money... (did I just say that out loud....) but I feel like I'm dying a little inside at Christmas - as much as I hate to say it - it is such a burden: financially, physically, mentally, emotionally. Maybe I'm just looking at it wrong. Maybe something is wrong with me... (there definitely is *wink*). I am not trying to be depressing here - I just feel like I needed to get that out - maybe help someone else articulate how they are feeling. 

So back to the point of this post: All I Want For Christmas is... peace. I definitely want to celebrate life with my family. I definitely want to embrace all the joys of the season: cinnamon sticks, hot chocolate, spiked eggnog..., snow, CASSEROLES... getting fat...(just kidding, we can skip that one). I want to celebrate the choice that God made to send his son Jesus to us in a form that allowed him to identify fully with us. I just don't want to get on that carnival ride of the "holiday season" anymore. I want to live and breathe and stop being a crazy person. I just don't really know how - I'm already in deep with Buddy the Elf hanging out over our dining room table relaying messages to Santa... the message and purpose is just so convoluted. WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE? 

Well, at the end of all of this, I realized I just described the movie "Christmas with the Kranks". I am the Kranks. And yes, I would prefer a cruise - but if you have ever seen the movie, you know how much grief they get from everyone around them for "opting out" of the normal holiday chaos. I've already been arguing with one of my sisters (Nikki, you know I'm talking about you...) about where we are having Thanksgiving (and no, it's not your house. - blog official.) If you have any advice or wisdom for me... hit me up in the comments section and I will definitely take note! May the force be with you! 

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