When I first red "Holidays are special. They are also stressful. " I thought I were in the wrong book. Holidays for me means packing my suitcase (yes that could be stressful, but not for me) and going away to the sunshine and discover other countries. But then suddenly I understood what was meant, the weeks before "feed up" starts. Yes indeed, that is quite stressful for some people.
In Belgium there are two big feasts in December the 6th Santa Claus and then of course Christmas. In the flemish part of Belgium, Santa Claus is still much more celebrated than Christmas. Gifts are given for Santa Claus and not at Christmas. That is the same in Holland, all other European countries are celebrating Christmas with Christmastrees, gifts and a lot of food.
This year I am very lucky. No stress nothing only the happy anticipation of holidays, 2 weeks in the sunshine of Egypt. There will be a nice Christmas party in the hotel and as I could see last year in November, everything on streets is decorated with garlands, angels and father Christmas. It looks quite funny to me that the garlands are hanging on palm trees ! And even though it is a muslim country, nobody cares feast is feast and decoration, decoration even if it's a christian one.
When I were a child the weeks before Christmas were very exciting, above all for the forthcoming gifts ! My mother baked Christmas cookies like if the devil were behind her, were juggling around with pots and spices, had a red head, and chased me away whenever I wanted to look at what she were doing. I were not allowed to taste them, but that didn't matter to me, as I didn't like them anyway. But she did all this work for friends and neighbours, as a sort of competition between women "who has the best cookies".
When I had my own family Christmas of course was completely different because we had our son and with a child, Chrismas became fun. I don't remember that I were especially stressed, I started to buy Christmas gifts very early and never did it "last minute". As I liked cooking, it didn't bother me either to make a nice Christmas meal.
The only thing which stressed both of us were my parents who invaded us litteraly, meddling in everything and critizising everthing. They arrived with an overloaded car full of gifts, just to show what generous parents they were. Of course the gifts were chosen by my mother and at her taste, so I once got a green toaster with pink roses on it, for my red and white kitchen ! My husband and I had to escape from time to time, first him then me to our friends living nearby, just to relax and breath a little before the next attack. Yes that was more than stressful. Fortunately our son, little innocent boy, didn't realize anything and was very happy, he loved his grandparents very much.
When my parents both died, one after the other, we celebrated Christmas in my son's house in London and for me these were the nicest once. The only stress I had was to load the car with gifts ! He prepared everything, a wonderful Christmas tree, and a nice meal. I had nothing to do, just sit down and enjoy.
The last two years, we celebrated here again in our house with him and his girl friend, but as everybody loves a fondue, I only had to do the shopping, cut the meat and prepare a salad. Christmas gifts I buy now during the whole year, each time I see something I like and am convinced that my family will appreciate it, I buy it and put it in a special place, reserved for this purpose.
So I can't say that I am stressed now because of the forthcoming period of holidays.
Before and after holidays ....