As I sat on hold for 15 minutes trying to reach a department store online website, it occurred to me I was not enjoying the holiday spirit. I’d decided to take advantage of the Black Friday sales and got online, only to be frustrated when the website went on strike and wouldn’t give me my discount. I enjoy giving gifts and had gone to a great deal of thought to place the order. Was saving 30% really worth the time and energy? I started second-guessing everything. Had I selected the right gifts? In my effort to save money had I spent too much? Anxiety tightened my shoulders.

Each day, our postal carrier delivers tantalizing new catalogs. Hard to resist!

Each day, our postal carrier delivers tantalizing new catalogs. Hard to resist!

Glancing outside, I saw holiday lights going up around the neighborhood. One more project that needed tackling. Stress threatened to encompass me.

I hope this man is a professional and not a neighbor’s husband stringing these lights!

I hope this man is a professional and not a neighbor’s husband stringing these lights!

Deciding fresh air and exercise might ramp up my plummeting humbug mood, I put on walking shoes, and marched up a nearby hill, a good feeling because I’d left behind my list of must-do’s. And the ghastly TV news.

I respect those who shop early and have presents wrapped before Thanksgiving. In the old days, stores didn’t decorate for the holidays until after that day of feast and family. Now, some stores open on Thanksgiving Day. Maybe seeing their ads kindled my tension.

On my first venture into a real store looking for stocking stuffers, I didn’t know where to start!

On my first venture into a real store looking for stocking stuffers, I didn’t know where to start!

I know several people who flat out don’t like Christmas. One woman recently told me this is a difficult time of year for her. I imagine her waiting in long lines and feeling she must send out cards and purchase gifts she perhaps can’t afford. Eating a handful of Christmas cookies because sweets are everywhere this time of year. Trying to meet unrealistic expectations can morph into depression.

Even pleasant childhood memories can lead to a melancholy frame of mind as we recall loved-ones no longer with us. I sure miss my parents. Or maybe we didn’t experience a happily-ever-after childhood Christmas we often witness in the movies and Christmas-themed books.

Four Amish-made placemats, napkins, and coasters, from Lancaster County, PA.

Four Amish-made placemats, napkins, and coasters, from Lancaster County, PA.

 

 

How about you? Is this your happiest time of the year? Do you find Christmas to be overwhelming or a piece of cake with your favorite icing? If the latter, what is your secret? Please leave a comment and enter to win these four Amish-made placemats, coasters, and napkins, plus a copy of one paperback from the Legacy of Lancaster County Trilogy: Leaving Lancaster, its sequel Pennsylvania Patchwork, or Forever Amish. Winner has three days to respond to my email. USA and Canada.

Trilogy