I feel insanely overwhelmed. Don't you? I think it's a combination of things. I'm not trying to radiate bad juju. But this year, Christmas has me in a tizzy.
Now, don't get me wrong, there's so much to look forward to. But jeez- the pressure, the gifts, the travel, the deadlines, overeating and overeating and more overeating, and the list goes on. I don't know what goes on in your family over the holidays. But in mine, we eat. We eat a lot. It's actually 95 percent about the food. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating.
(Pictured above: Cousin Corrina and my mom's traditional Italian Christmas dish, "Feast of Seven Fishes")
Why do we do this to ourselves? First off, let me give you a taste of how I've started most my days these past few weeks. Maybe you can relate. I begin with some type of Hershey's Kisses chocolate candy or a buttery sugar cookie of sorts. I've basically been eating whatever I can get my paws on in the wee hours of the morning (#chubbygirlproblems). By the way, how weird was Black Friday? Was there a Black Friday? Because it seemed like Thanksgiving kind of disappeared on me. That threw me off. What? Have we really begun to sacrifice time with our families around the table to freeze in an everlasting line in front of Best Buy? All for a new TV, stereo, etc? It is what it is, right? I'll tell you another thing that all of a sudden feels a little weird this year. My mom and aunt have been hounding me for my annual Christmas list.
(Pictured above: Christmas morning 2012 with brother Stefan, me and my new sneakers)
I'm nearly 30 years old and was once again threatened until this very week for a list for Santa. Don't get me wrong. I love presents. I'm very grateful to have a family who loves to dote on us. But "Hello Anna, you ain't a little girl anymore." (By the way, mom and Paola, don't forget the perfume and the sneakers.) Speaking of presents, like clock work, my parents never tell us what they want. But all four of us siblings pull together our money to try to get them something amazing. I really want to nail it this year ("Under Pressure"- Queen/David Bowie reference).
I didn't put up a tree this year. Now, I know what you're thinking. But I never had the time. I'm okay with it. It somewhat has taken the wind out of my sails. But I end up leaving it up until March normally (Don't you judge me). And I can already tell I don't particularly want to take it down if I can't find the time to put it up. Don't tell people about this. It's kind of embarrassing.
Oh, here's another fun holiday happening. Aren't we all trying to lose weight right now? Like, RIGHT NOW. I love it when people have the casual office exchange, "Oh, I am just going to blow up this Christmas. No sense in trying at the holiday." Let's get real people. When is it a good time to start? I declare that trying to lose weight during a holiday season has 100 percent always been a no-go for this girl. Thus, the Battle of the Bulge rages on this 2013-2014 holiday season. Ho ho ho! (Wait, I wonder what's for dinner tonight?)
Amidst everything going on in my "personal" Christmas file, there are lots to be done at the TV station. We work and we work hard. I've had holiday events for the past several weekends and will continue to attend local Christmas functions until Santa and his sleigh arrive. I love getting out and meeting the people, and I can't say no. I have this thing my friends in Chicago call, "FOMO"- Fear of Missing Out. (Mandy, Turkey, that was for yous two.) So when I'm not waving in a parade, or begging you to donate to the "Share your Christmas Food Drive," I'm hosting a gala. A fabulous gala at that. A shout out to the local Home Builder's Association and local realtors for a smashing good time. Also, a "thank you" to my awesome date, Cameron.
(Pictured above: 2013 Christmas Gala, New Bern)
But then, out of nowhere, I find myself catching my breath (Sigh). "Hey Anna, it's Christmas time." Of course I know the true reason for the season. The Nativity story is front and center in this Catholic school girl's heart. But you have to admit, the added chaos is, after all, what it is all about as well. It's about making time and making others feel special. Sure we get stressed out. When our holiday engines hit overdrive, we begin to burnout a little bit. So if you're like me, I think we need to sizzle out, or as I like to say, "Simma don na." On Wednesday, my close girl friends and I made time for some holiday sangria to catch up and slow down for a minute. Here's to you ladies! Cheers.
(Pictured above: Holiday ladies' night, Bear Town Market)
Before you go bonkers trying to be perfect and make everything perfect, remember to soak in as much Christmas magic as you can. After all, it only drifts in but once a year. Play some games with your kids (I suggest Wii Bowling). Make Christmas cookies with your grandparents. Crank the best of Rod Stewart's Christmas collection. Heck, drink a hot chocolate (or a holiday sangria). Wear a pair of mittens. Light your Christmas tree at noon and glance at old family pictures.
(Pictured above: The one, the only, Mr. Rod Stewart)
Who cares if your packages aren't taped and folded perfectly? Who cares if you can't make that additional 15th side dish? It will all be fine. All I'm asking is for you to truly take time to make some everlasting holiday memories (I should probably take my own advice now).
I'll be more grateful for my health and good fortune in the days to come.
I hope you all have something extraordinary to celebrate this Christmas. If not, find something. There's always something there when you look hard enough.
Well, now that we've had this talk, take a load off, Fanny, and allow the Christmas spirit to make you feel like a kid all over again.
Best to you and your to-do's,
Anna B (Ho ho ho!)