Sleep-deprived Holidays

When you think of December, do you think of sleep-deprived holidays? Or do you think of all the festive Christmas lights and beautiful Christmas carols? Do you look forward to wrapping gifts and the baking you will do? Do you mentally tick off who it is that you will send Christmas cards to – or not? Are you organized with lists, recipes, ingredients, and a schedule that is better than any Santa-tracker known to man? Or do you wonder how you will get it all done?

I do…wonder how I will get it all done. The one thing about December is that I exist sleep-deprived. It’s the only way I can get it all done. To be at my best, I need – at minimum – seven-and-a-half solid hours of sleep each night. Trying to function on seven hours or less is a bigger effort as the years roll on by. And, sooner than later, it catches up with me and makes for some very sleep-deprived holidays.

Staying up late and getting up early is what my momma did during the holidays. As a kid, I recall her preparing for Christmas for many days and even weeks in advance. On the morning of, she would rise in the wee hours to start the main dishes. I never understood where she got her energy from, how her adrenaline would keep her going, or when she would recuperate from the long hours of cooking, baking, and cleaning up. I never noticed the sleepy eyes, aching back, or tired arms, legs, and feet.

Today, I am finding it to be more of a challenge – in different ways. Christmas shopping, online or not, takes time. Christmas hosting requires chores and a house unencumbered by the many boxes of being packed up. Now, why didn’t I just sign up for Thanksgiving? Then there are the Christmas cards and a letter to write. Lots of questions there. Like why didn’t I write my letter throughout the year like a friend of mine that I know does? And why didn’t I start addressing cards back in October like I sometimes do?

Despite these questions and the lack of adequate sleep, I look forward to Christmas with the anticipation of the young child that I was so long ago. I look forward to putting on Christmas music and drinking hot chocolate  as I excitedly pull out gifts that I have purchased over the year from their hiding spots and decide how they will be specially wrapped this year. I look forward to looking at Christmas lights on our way home from Christmas Mass. And I dream of the day when I can spend Christmas with every person that I love and care about.

How about you? Are you like me? Do you stay up late every night each year to get it all done? Or do you make sleep a priority and grab those hours somewhere else? Do you look forward to the smells of Christmas and the long hours of cooking and baking? Do you insist on keeping certain traditions otherwise it really won’t be Christmas? Do you forget about the lack of sleep when the first guest arrives?

What one thing about Christmas makes your sleep-deprived holidays worth it? Is it the delightful decorations or the cookies and the pies? Is it the hustle and bustle and sounds of holiday tunes while you shop or the mistletoe at your front door? Or is it the look of wonder on your young child’s face, or perhaps even on the face of your grown child? Whatever it is, may it erase the lack of sleep and tired muscles and leave you with the true magic of Christmas in your heart: joy, hope, peace, and love.

Wanting some inspiration during this season that calls for slowing down and enjoying the company of family and friends? Check out “HONOR ONE ANOTHER: The ABCs of Embracing Our Spirit Within.”

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