As I was putting out the trash this evening, I noticed that my neighbors have not only put up their Christmas tree, but they have started to put their outside Christmas lights up. Seriously? Are the holidays that close that I’m seeing Christmas lights already?! I love the holidays. But Christmas trees before Thanksgiving? That’s too much pressure! The holidays always stress me out. Call me a perfectionist, but after the idyllic holidays of my childhood, I desperately try every year to produce the best possible holiday season for my family. For Thanksgiving, I start baking and freezing weeks in advance and then cook for 3 solid days before the big day. For Christmas, I stage family photos for cards, I take the kids to Toys R Us to make their wish lists for Santa, and I wrap and hide and/or ship presents all in time for Santa’s arrival. But the stress of preparation all seems to fade away as I watch my family enjoy the fruits of my labor. It’s all worth it knowing I have reproduced my own idyllic holiday season. But this year is more stressful than ever. I’m working now. In years past as a stay-at-home mom, I had my days free to cook and shop and prepare to my heart’s content. Now I have no idea how I’m going to get it all done, and I’m panicking! I don’t have 3 days to cook for Thanksgiving! I haven’t taken a family photo for Christmas cards yet! My kids haven’t written their letters to Santa yet! I haven’t even considered what to buy everyone for Christmas! I haven’t bought wrapping paper! And now I have to find presents for my students, my assistant, my co-workers, my boss! When will I get it all done?! How will I ever make this the perfect holiday season?! I have no idea. And that puts me in a bah humbug funk. To my neighbors who have already decorated their Christmas tree and strategically placed it in their front window for all to see, I say bah humbug. To my friend who told me the other day she has already purchased and wrapped all of her Christmas presents, I say bah humbug. To the holiday stress that hits me whenever I walk into a store and hear Christmas music, I say bah humbug. And to this downer blog post and my bah humbug funk, I say a big fat bah humbug!!!! So my fellow bloggers, I’m asking for your help and encouragement. Please tell me it will all get done! Please tell me I’m not the only one who stresses over the holidays! Please give me some advice to get out of this funk! Please tell me I’m being a self-pitying Scrooge who needs to snap out of it and enjoy this holiday season instead of stressing! Thanks…I’m done venting now.