Okay, I’m just going to come right out and say it: A lot of women secretly hate Christmas. Now, don’t get me wrong. We love that picturesque moment in which the tree is lit, the fire is crackling, and children outfitted in matching candy-cane pajamas dance around the living room to Tchaikovsky, showing off armfuls of new toys while a twenty-pound ham bakes in the oven; we just hate the anxiety disorder we developed while attempting to produce it.

Rachel Held Evans, A Year of Biblical Womanhood

Christmas is my favorite time of year. Unfortunately though, as each year goes by, I find myself experiencing both more excitement and more anxiety as the season approaches. This past weekend, as my husband and I continued our tradition of going to a local tree farm and cutting down our Christmas tree, I couldn’t help but notice some apprehension sneaking in amongst the joy.  I think its because as we unwrapped ornaments to hang on our tree, I began to remember that the Christmas Season means:

Feeling like there isn’t enough time to do everything.

Shopping in overcrowded stores.

Eating too much.

Traveling in busy airports

Seeing family (which is both awesome and messy)

And perhaps most troubling:

It will go by too quickly.

Christmas also means going to really fun Christmas parties, baking/making fun foods, seeing friends, and that the scent of pine fills our apartment. Most importantly, for me it is a reminder that the God of the Universe didn’t abandon us in our brokenness. The true meaning of Christmas goes way beyond presents and egg nog, yet I get anxious that in all of the stress and work to make Christmas special, I will forget the one thing that makes it actually special.

What used to be one day to celebrate the Hope of the world, has now become over a month of preparation/celebration. With the help of Martha Stewart, large retail companies, and Pinterest, we have dressed Christmas up like a supermodel to make it look like an unattainable image. And I don’t know about you, but when I try to keep up with that image, I don’t end up enjoying the day and the time I have with the people I love–or remembering why we celebrate Christmas in the first place!

So, as I fight the tension of anxiety and excitement, I have decided to welcome the season, by asking not “WWMD?” (“What would Martha do?”), but rather:

What can we let go of this Christmas, without losing its true meaning?

Call me a minimalist or optimistic, but I am hoping the true spirit of Christmas will emerge.