Michigan Women, Can We Talk About the Extra Heavy-Lifting We Do Around the Holidays?
We're not just talking about physically lifting heavy gifts or anything like that, it's more-so about the emotional labor that goes into trying to keep a "holly jolly" household around the holidays.
Sure, we have moved beyond the whole "women belong in the kitchen" days (or we at least are trying) but as women, why do we feel like the holidays and making sure everyone else has a nice time all falls on us?
It Starts With the Gift Shopping
For many of us, we start even before Thanksgiving. Of course, there are people who are gloriously good at procrastinating and still pull off finding great gifts.
However, some of us get an early start and feel like we are so prepared, yet still running around at the last minute to get gifts that are "from" our significant others because if you don't do it, your poor aunt would be getting a magazine and a candy bar for Christmas.
It's not all about the gifts, but trying to make sure you've got the perfect thing on your list for someone, then wrapping it, then also making sure it makes it to the right place and the right person is a constant task throughout practically the entire month of December.
Moreover, while it's still not just about the material things, trying to make sure everything is ready for everyone else to enjoy the holiday is exhausting.
The Added Work of a Michigan Christmas
Christmas in Michigan is an absolutely magical time. There's snow, there's tree farms, there's lights and activities everywhere you look and in the midst of all the other "work" we have cut out for us...there's also cutting cookies, making sure you've got the hot cocoa in the cabinet, setting up the meetings with Santa, making it to the parade(s), the programs, booking the family photos, designing the Christmas cards, etc.
We've got to decorate the house so everyone gets into the Christmas spirit, remember where you put that one box of ornaments, make sure the ones that grandma had when she was young and passed on to you didn't get broken or lost, etc.
While you are trying to squeeze in everything that comes with the holiday season, you also have a work schedule that also gets more hectic around the holidays. Whether you work retail, an office job, from home or put in work as a stay-at-home parent, there's so many responsibilities there, how do you have time to pile on so much more?
You also have to factor in Michigan's wild weather. Will it be another unseasonable 60-degree day? Does Billy need his heavy coat? Did you remember where your ice scraper is? Do the kids have a snow day today which will delay your holiday progress even more?
The Holidays Start to Feel More Like Work As Adults
Now, I understand, this all really could be what weighs on everyone's minds as we get older, start our own households and our own and our own families.
However, I am here to say that even if you are not married or have children but still live with a significant other, it can still feel like you do a lot more of the emotional heavy-lifting for the holidays.
It's not about the material things, I think it's just sort of instinct and what we have been taught since we were young that the holidays have to feel like this extra-magical, extra-special, extra-festive time. Whether it's from our parents, or grandparents, or movies, or whatever, we've been taught to set big expectations for the holiday season...and try to at least measure up, if not surpass, them.
When you want to just enjoy decorating a few Christmas cookies or sit down for a few and catch one of your favorite holiday flicks to at least get a glimmer of nostalgia for the days when it was all a little easier to manage, you feel like you are still behind on a million other things.
Yet We Still Succeed, Time and Time Again
There's so much "hustle and bustle" that comes with the holidays that, sometimes, can add to all the excitement...but notice we said "excitement" and not "anxiety."
The holidays are supposed to be an exciting time for all, but for women it kind of feels like a lot of work...until you finally get to the day and you get that satisfying feeling of "we did it again."
As you finally get to see everything you've worked so hard for come to be: your loved ones loved your gifts, you're all together celebrating, you're making memories, you sit home on Christmas Eve and still get the butterflies like you did when you were a child. You see the stockings hung, the glow of the tree and you appreciate everything you were able to accomplish.
There is still holiday magic out there and while, often, that magic is something we created ourselves, we can take pride in it. But why do we have to? Why can't we just sit back and enjoy it like the men, children, etc. in our lives do? Why do we feel like we have to wait until its all over to truly appreciate it? What does it really matter at the end of it all?
If you are someone who would rather make the ones you love happy before yourself, it's the greatest gift you can get every holiday. Another gift, I give to you this year, is knowing you are seen, you are heard and you are appreciated.
Also, make sure to take time to get yourself in front of that camera too, instead of always being behind it taking photos of everyone else enjoying everything you've done. You get to enjoy it all too.
LOOK: See what Christmas was like the year you were born