Christmas Day is over. Christmas itself, of course, is never over, because even after all the gifts have been opened, the carols have been sung, the family has been visited, the meals have been eaten (and eaten... and eaten... and re-eaten as sandwiches for the next three days), and the general bloating has subsided, there are still wonderful memories to cherish... and if you're lucky, new toys to play with. But today, 12/25/11 (or 25/12/11, if you don't live in the USA), is pretty well over.
The kids made out like bandits. They always do. Oz and I spoiled each other rotten, as we always do.
We visited the apartment shared by two of my brothers-in-law for dinner today. They and my mother-in-law cooked dinner, and we all stuffed ourselves silly. After dinner came the visiting, the gifts, more visiting, dessert, more visiting, and finally the good-byes before we packed up and headed over to my dad's house for yet another round of family get-togetherness.
By the time we got home around 8:45 tonight, we were all tired. Exhausted. Worn the heck out.
Oh, except for M2.
She was still as chipper as the moment that we left the house at 11:30 this morning, if not more so. And after great deliberation, I have worked out why Christmas is so wonderful for her and an actual pain in the [insert body part here... Oz has a sore lower back and legs, I have a sore back and neck, and M1 has a headache] for the rest of us.
1. She's an extrovert. M1, Oz and I are introverts.
2. Her love language is quality time.
When I read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, it cleared up a lot of things for me, but sometimes I still have to go back and say to myself, "OH! DUH! That's why this is hard for me but easy for so-and-so." In our household, everyone has a different love language. M2 loves quality time (with a secondary language of physical touch). M1 loves words of affirmation (secondary quality time or gifts... I haven't quite decided yet). Oz loves physical touch (secondary quality time). And me? Well, like I said, I'm an acts-of-service kind of girl (secondary words of affirmation... and quality time, if I can get it). I think many moms are acts-of-service types. And these folks know that Christmas is a logistical nightmare. It's the toughest time I face every year, bar none.
Christmas is an extremely stressful time for everyone. I know that. It's incredibly busy, and there are so many stressors that can cause this whole merry season to turn sour, but I honestly believe that those who have acts of service as their primary love language have it the toughest. This could be a skewed perspective, I realize, but if I leave even one person unsatisfied, then I haven't done my job, and I feel it. I feel incredible guilt until I can do something nice for that person to make the guilt go away. Not to mention I feel pressured to find the perfect gift for everyone, do all the holiday traditions, make sure that everyone else's holiday needs are fulfilled before mine, and just generally make the holiday season bright for all those around me.
I'll be honest... I'm really not sure how many more years I can keep it up. As it is, I start stressing about Christmas sometime around August! In my head, I'm supposed to be doing something every minute of every day. It's almost impossible for me to slow down this time of year. This is why when I arrived at the apartment today, it took all of 10 minutes for me to invite myself into the kitchen and help with the last of the meal preparations. That's how I show love. I do. I hate buying gifts, because I'm absolutely horrible at picking things out for people and gifts are tied for dead last on my love language list. My idea of a gift is cleaning someone else's house or taking them out to dinner because I'm doing something for them, not just handing them something and wandering off. I buy gifts because I want to participate in the tradition, but shopping is not fun for me. I give hugs to those who want them because some people really dig the whole physical touch thing and I try to cater to their needs, too. I sit down and chat with those who love quality time because I know that's important to them, and I really do love a good chat. I'm not great at words of affirmation (poor M1), but I try to at least write little notes in the Christmas cards that I send out.
So, this Christmas, I hope that everyone's needs were met. And if they weren't? I apologize. Hopefully I'll make it up to you sometime during 2012! (Let's do lunch. My treat.)