My Fancy Holiday Anxiety Is Kicking In


A stressed woman holding holiday gifts.It’s that time of the year again. You know, when my regular, day-to-day, over-functioning anxiety seems like a walk in the park and my fancy holiday, strung up but with lights, anxiety is on 24/7.

This time of year is equal parts magic through my children’s eyes and sheer exhaustion compounded with the stress of ensuring we pull it off yet again. 

Having four children in the house means that gifts are broken down by spreadsheet to ensure even distribution. The great debate of net gifts per child versus net dollars per child comes into play every year, especially with the age gap between our children.

The older ones tend to make out in the net amount, while the younger ones make out in the appearance of more gifts. Just writing this has my anxiety going because all the gifts mean my house is more cluttered, and I will need to find space (and even more time cleaning and organizing!).

I can hear my Grandmother’s voice nagging me about the “reason for the season,” but the truth is that my family doesn’t subscribe to organized religion. Now that both of my grandparents are no longer with us, we don’t put on the facade. It is all about the kids, the magic, the presents, and the memories. 

On top of the logistics of shopping, sneaking things into the house, and finding time to wrap, there’s figuring out which kid gets what pattern of wrapping paper and, of course, making sure we have separate Santa wrapping paper to indicate that he does exist. With this comes the stress of making sure we leave no traces of any of his special papers to be discovered ever.

Don’t get me wrong, this truly is my favorite time of year. Leading up to Christmas, so many sweet things are happening in the classrooms that I wouldn’t miss for the world, but managing and getting to them sometimes seems like a full-time job. The holiday sing-alongs, extracurricular holiday shows, and caroling are some of my favorite events of the season, even though it seems like a different kid has a different event each day of the week. 

At home, we keep our own holiday traditions like listening to Christmas music, baking cookies from scratch and gifting them to our friends and neighbors, and cuddling while watching some of our favorite holiday movies.

It’s a way to keep in touch with traditions that have been passed on and those that I can remember from some of the happier memories of my childhood. It’s a way to feel connected to those memories and family members who are no longer with us, and we miss them greatly this time of year.

Every year, I find myself wishing I had not overspent as much as I had or that I was better at tablescaping after I scroll through Instagram. Still, the reality is that the holidays are automatically a time of heightened emotions and expectations. If I don’t overthink one thing, I will overthink the next. Sometimes, it’s better to buckle up for the ride and try to enjoy as much of it as possible.

There is so much effort that goes into every detail for the kids. We owe it to ourselves as the magic makers to sit back and try to take it all in as well!

Do you find yourself caught up in the pressure of the holidays, or do you savor the moment?

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Gloria lives in Fairfield with her husband, Frank, and their four children, Frank (2011), Sofia (2013), Nico (2019), John (2021), and their two rescue pups, Nala and Ellie. Originally from New York, she settled in Connecticut shortly after college and has been a Corporate Recruiter for many years. Helping people along on their career journey is one of the things she is most passionate about, and working for a company she loves but from home is the icing on the cake. When she's not hustling kids from one field to another or cheering them on loudly, she enjoys true crime documentaries, karaoke, spiked seltzers, and good company. She and her husband can be found tearing up a dance floor if there's one around or trying to make the other laugh until they cry.


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