November Secret Subject Swap - Holidays: Fun vs Stress

Welcome to November's Secret Subject Swap. Again 9 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  

Sit back, grab a red cup and check them all out:

Baking In A Tornado
The Lieber Family
The Bergham Chronicles
The Blogging 911 
Cognitive Script 
Never Ever Give Up Hope
Part-Time Working Hockey Mom
Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

My subject is

Do you find the Holiday season fun or stressul?

It was submitted by: Baking In A Tornado  - thank you, Karen!

Previously on The Miller family:

Marietta Howard gave birth to baby girl Stella September 7.
Jason Riley, David Miller's nephew, flew to Paris to find his biological Dad François, and in a flashback we learned how his Mom, Donna, met the guy who would turn out to become Jason's secret father.

I put together a glossary and a collection of links to help you (and myself) keep track of characters and happenings.

"Missed my train, running half an hour late, sorry!" Caroline texted.

Not a problem, we're enjoying the sunshine and the fantastic view from the Poly Terrace. Would you like a soda when you arrive?

I had met with Nicole for lunch, and we strolled across town. Her daughter Cloé and my son Colin were at work, it was kids' career day, and due to the fact that we somehow ended up on the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology's campus (which main building I have never set foot in) I briefly reflected on my own career.

Even though I managed to graduate from college doing economics, I had no interest whatsoever to further pursue school. I could have gone to law school, or study psychology or journalism, all subjects I had great interest in, but I felt I needed to get out there, do actual work and make actual money NOW.

Well, today I'm a part-time working hockey mom applying all those skills I was never formerly trained for but acquired on the job. 

"You have read my mind. A Coke Zero would be awesome, thanks.
PS: what's that cute little cablecar called? The one that prevents you from hauling your butt up the hill?"

"Hey, Tamara! Thanks for the tip, that Polybahn is a lifesaver! Oooohhhh, look, you got a personalized Coke for me, how adorable is that?"

Nicole had to leave, and I was hunched over my notebook.

"What are you doing?" Caroline asked.

Oh, just a chart on how fun or stressful the holidays are.  I have to answer this question on my blog, and I thought it was kind of lame to just say BOTH. 

"Haha, how very structured of you! Come on, walk me through it, I wanna know how you came up with those pillars. What's that awfully tall red one on the very left?"

That's the first week after coming home from vacation. It's doing laundry, stock on groceries, sorting through mail, paying bills, trying to recover from jet-lag and generally being bummed.

"I can certainly relate. It gets better, though, blue is dominating your second week?"

Oh yeah, it's Halloween week! I always go to great lengths to throw a party, and even though it's a lot of work, it's fabulous! Due to Nov 1st being a catholic holiday in Zug, where Colin is playing hockey, his practice schedule is also giving us a much appreciated break. 

The first full weeks of November we're back to normal. School, work, practice, games, skateathon...

"I expected the week that includes Nov 22nd to be more stressful?"

I can see why you would think so. It's your first year in Switzerland, though. You'll be surprised to learn that Thanksgiving is even less of an event here than Halloween. Only expats are celebrating, and they are having a hard time purchasing a turkey that a) fits into their tiny Swiss oven and b) won't break the bank. Unless you are subscribed to some U.S. sports channel there won't be any football to watch, and there are no parades. Our retailers, however, have picked up on the idea of Black Friday and are offering deals, so keep your eyes open for those!

However, at our house, and we may just be the only ones around here, the Elf on the Shelf season kicks off. I plan to be super prepared this year, and to have a good balance between stress and fun! 

Mid-December it's time for our office advent reception again! Every other year we participate in our village's "walk-through advent calendar". Businesses and families decorate a window or their entire building and invite the community over for mulled wine, punch, gingerbread and the like. I have a general idea - actually I have tons of ideas - on a theme, I will need to work on practicability, though. I wish I was a skilled carpenter / electrician / allround handywoman! Since I'm not I'm gonna have to nag my coworkers who are busy with their regular job, so this is going to be stressful for me.

The last full work week before Christmas is not expected to be relaxing either, but as soon as Christmas Eve at our house is over, things are going to slow down for me. 

Spengler Cup, the traditional hockey tournament, is taking place in Davos, a Swiss mountain resort, between Dec 26 - 31, and the guys will be watching and just needing man food for intermission.

Depending on New Year's Eve plans - we haven't made any as of now - I may have to whip up dinner for friends, but I'll manage.

The first week of January shouldn't be too bad. Colin is still off school, and daycare is closed, so I have to take off work, too. Of course there's going to be the catching up - well, whatareyougonnado!?

To wrap up my chart: looks like on average I find the Holidays 55% stressful and 45% fun - I need to work on that. It needs to be at least the other way round!

How do you feel about the Holidays? Can you fully enjoy the spirit and be merry? Or are you running around like a madwoman, trying to get everything done?