Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always felt the same way about the holidays commencing after Thanksgiving and terminating December 31: overwhelmed.

I can recall feeling the panic rising in me,  thinking about gift giving, social events, having to attend various family functions and pretend to be excited when all I wanted to do was hide under my bed.

The holidays are a lot of hype for me.

I get anxious.

I start feeling like if things don’t go a “certain way” then something is wrong.

It’s hard for me to enjoy them.

I kind of wish that it was just another day.

The thing is, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas (and my family is Jewish so we didn’t have that tradition growing up) you’re surrounded by Christmas mania. You walk into Duane Reade and there’s copious amounts of Santa Claus paraphernalia staring you in the face.

After November 26, you cannot escape the societal circus that is Christmas.

Wil and I are an interfaith couple. He was raised Catholic, and I was raised Jewish. Therefore our kids receive presents for both Chanukah and Christmas.

Ari is old enough to understand that this time of the year is associated with receiving presents. I want him to appreciate what he has and (most importantly) I would like him to be grateful.

I also want to introduce the notion of charity. I want Ari to understand that not all children are receiving presents at this time of year. Not all children in the world are fortunate enough that their parents can afford to buy them toys at all.

I had this idea.
I wanted him to be able to volunteer at a place where he could see what it’s like to not have, like a soup kitchen.

I know he’s still little (he’s just four and a half) but still, I think he’s cognizant enough to be able to grasp the concept that there are people who don’t have things that we have.

The thing that really frustrates me about the holiday season is the pressure associated with them.

I do want my kids to enjoy the holidays, but I have to be honest, they make me feel out of control.

How do you feel about the holiday season?