Holiday Stress

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s that time of the year.

I don’t usually have problems on actual holidays. I understand that sometimes holidays can be stressful for people. There’s a lot of family interaction, and there is a lot of opportunity there for extra stress.

My stress always comes in the couple of weeks leading up to big holidays. Especially Christmas. It’s the planning that gets me.

I have trouble planning gifts very far in advance. I always have good intentions, and then ideas get side tracked, or I never get to the stores to enact my grand vision. I’m sort of okay this year, but I’m not done yet and that is definitely creeping around in the back of my mind.

I’m also really bad at planning visits. I’m awful at doing anything that isn’t already pre-decided. If the exact date of when I’m doing something with someone for the holidays isn’t the same from year to year, I’m going to have trouble figuring it out. Like this year. Then it gets put off, and people get grouchy, and I know it’s my fault for being bad at planning.

So that’s where my holiday stress happens. I don’t buy into the crazed shopping thing. I don’t get too worked up about the decorations. I don’t have too much trouble actually visiting with the relatives on the day of the holiday. I just can’t plan worth a shit.

I feel like that’s going to continue to cause problems until I get it solved.

Oh well.

The List

My family members are forcing me to make a Christmas list.

christmas 2007

christmas 2007 (Photo credit: paparutzi)

Making a Christmas list is hard for me. I don’t like telling other people what to get me. I don’t mind letting people know what I’m interested in, but I sometimes feel like a Christmas list is just me being greedy. Putting all those items down in one place, feels like I’m telling people that they have to meet requirements from my list.

I also like to be surprised. I get my fun at Christmas from two things these days. The first, is finding a great present for someone that I know they’ll love. It’s such an exciting time watching someone open something you picked out for them and watching their face light up. It’s just the best. The other fun thing is being surprised.

When I was a kid, I wanted certain things off my list. Those were the things I was hoping for and expecting. not getting those was disappointing. As an adult, I’m almost as excited to see what other people thought I would appreciate. I like to be surprised.

That’s another one of those things that just really changes tone from childhood to adulthood. As a kid, making a Christmas list, anticipating what you might get, and all the excitement leading up to the big day was the norm. as an adult, it’s about hoping people like what you got them, spending time with the family and the happy feelings.

Well, I suppose I should back to finding more things for my list. Since I HAVE to make one, I try to put lots of things on there. I want people to see things I’m interested in and then make their own choices.

I have research to do!

Time to Read People!

I really need to make some time to get back to reading other people’s blogs.

Blog!

Blog! (Photo credit: solofotones)

I feel terrible that I’ve been slacking on that lately. I know you people are writing interesting things. I know that there is a lot of it there to read. I just can’t seem to find the motivation to read when I have the time.

There’s always something else taking my attention or distracting me. Half of the reason I starting writing here was because I saw what other people were able to do on their blogs. It was very inspiring. I wanted to write for me, but I wanted to know what it was like to be one of you all.

I’m also sure that some of you only stopped by my nice little hole in the wall here because I was commenting or liking something you had written. I certainly haven’t done enough of that lately either. I hope you’ll forgive me. I really want to get back to it.

I will make an extra effort this weekend. After I make my Christmas list. I’ve been getting some not-so-subtle nudges from family members that they require a list.

I’ll start reading again, I promise!

It’s time.

Cover of "Christmas Eve and Other Stories...

Cover of Christmas Eve and Other Stories

It’s now time.

It is after Thanksgiving. Christmas isn’t far off. It’s time. Time for Christmas music.

Not just any Christmas music, but the best Christmas music ever played. Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

I am particular about my Christmas music. Rule number one is: No Christmas Music before Thanksgiving. Our consumer culture pushes us from one holiday to the next too quickly as it is. I think we ought to embrace and celebrate the season we’re in, instead of hurrying along to the next one. So I say, no Christmas sales, decorations, or music until after Thanksgiving.

I also usually like slightly no traditional Christmas music. As much as I enjoy the season, the music can get a little repetitive. It usually ends up being the same 10 songs sung by about 20 different people. That’s it. Half those people sound just like someone else anyway.

My music of choice is is Trans-Siberian Orchestra, or TSO. It blends Heavy Metal musical styling with the technical precision and arrangements of classical music. Some of the arrangements of traditional Christmas music are even different enough to keep them separate from whatever the rest of the radio stations are playing.

The first album they released, Christmas EveĀ and Other Stories, is a bit of a Rock Opera. there is a cohesive story from the first song to the last. The other two Christmas albums, The Christmas Attic and The Lost Christmas Eve also have stories, though they are a little less straightforward. They do have two non-Christmas albums as well, Beethoven’s Last Night and Night Castle, both of which are also excellent, if not specifically for the holidays.

If you haven’t heard of them before, or know who they are but never checked them out before, I highly recommend them. I will caution you that there are screaming guitars and powerful drums.

If those things don’t bother you then go ahead! Find the best Christmas music you’ll ever listen to! In my opinion anyway.