At the risk of sounding like Scrooge, let me say thank goodness the holidays are over. Christmas comes hard and fast at our house, taxing our ability to multitask and wringing the spirit out of our tired bodies. Too much running, too much spending and way too much cooking and eating zaps my enthusiasm for what should be a joyous time. During the last two years, we have made an effort to pare back on holiday excess and savor the truly important moments. While it has helped, we still find ourselves running in circles. Next year I’m tempted to skip the presents and make a significant donation instead to my favorite charity. My only obligations would be attending church on Christmas Eve and spending time with our families on Christmas day. When I pitched this idea to a few friends recently, they looked at me as if I were crazy. Am I the only person who feels as if Christmas has gotten way out of hand? Much of our holiday celebrating has nothing to do with our religious faith, and I am troubled by that. I don’t wear Christmas sweaters. My cell phone doesn’t play “Jingle Bells” in December. My car doesn’t have a wreath on the grill, and plastic candy canes do not line my driveway. And I would rather have a root canal than shop at the mall on the day after Thanksgiving. I truly am not grumpy about the hectic pace of the holidays. I just wonder how we got to this point and how far it will go before the majority of people throw their hands in the air and say “enough”. My goal this year is to buy at least one Christmas present a month in order to have my shopping done before December. I also plan to try cooking and freezing several desserts a few weeks ahead of time so that I spend less time in front of the stove in December. Check with me in May to see how I’m doing!