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The Best Gift? Being Present

Mona Andrei had a wonderful holiday season, especially in retrospect. Read more from her on her blog, Moxie Dude.

So here we are, another holiday season behind us – to which I say, “Yayyy!”

The Best Gift? Being Present

Christmas is exhausting. And yet this year – unlike any other year – I find myself smiling nostalgically over the pictures taken with my kids on Christmas Eve.

Before the reason to smile, though, I have to remind myself that the holiday season is not only exhausting, it’s STRESSFUL.

I can’t be the only one who makes a pact with herself during every mid-December chaos:

“Next year I’m starting my holiday shopping IN JUNE!”

These words actually explode in my head to the melody of all the Christmas songs blaring throughout the shopping centre; only to follow me home as a resounding echo that keeps me up at night. So basically, I don’t sleep in December.

What stresses me out? EVERYTHING.

Shopping stresses me out. Every aspect of it, from the crowded parking lots to the mounds of other shoppers crawling around the stores like busy work ants. I worry that I won’t find the “perfect” gifts.

I think about my 71 year old mother who, thanks to my disability in the kitchen, always gets stuck with all the cooking.

I worry that I’ll forget to take the turkey out of the freezer because even though my mom does the cooking, every year I’m tasked with remembering to take the bird out of the freezer about four days before the big meal. And every year I forget. It has become part of the family tradition for my mom and I to work up a sweat as we try to pry her apart. (The turkey; not my mom). And now that I’m THIS age, it has become the only time she ever has need to swear at me. (My mom; not the turkey.)

Despite all the worrying and middle-of-the-night anxiety attacks, Christmas always turns out okay. And by okay I mean that December 26th rolls around like a gasp of swallowed air after you’ve just dared yourself to touch the bottom of a swimming pool.

Admittedly, this year was a little different. I didn’t let the shopping stress me out as much because I intentionally let go of trying to find the PERFECT gifts.

“There’s no such thing as a PERFECT gift,” I kept telling myself. “Just remain thoughtful.”

Also, I didn’t have to worry about remembering to not forget to take the turkey out of the freezer because my mom – always one step ahead of me – went out and bought the damn bird herself and kept it in HER freezer.

Now that the holiday season is over, I get to look through pictures of me with my kids and I think, “How could I let Christmas stress me out when I get to hang out with these cool people?!!”


The perfect gift is being present with my four kids. And not taking one second of it for granted.


Mona Andrei

Mona Andrei is a technical writer for a serious company in a serious industry. When she’s had enough serious for one day, she likes to write irreverent posts for her personal blog, Moxie-Dude, life updates gone wrong. Or right. She’s undecided. Follow her on Twitter @MoxieDude

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