Well, we ended up having a lovely holiday.
After preaching my "Blue Christmas" sermon (see post below), I decided it was worth the extra $$ to leave Charlie at home with his babysitter while I ran errands for the last ten days before Christmas. And that was it. As enthusiastic as he was about the holiday, we didn't have a single tantrum after I stopped taking him out into the commercial arena. On the 25th we had a hard time convincing Charlie to open all his presents--he was much more interested in putting them on his sleigh and toting them around the house as he played Santa.
For myself, I decided to scale back even further on the amount of holiday preparations. Stressed out about the bread? Stop baking. Everyone enjoys a holiday with a happy Mum and store bought bread more than one with cranky Mum and her delicious, homemade limpa. Still, it was hard to let go of expectation. It's part of my continuing journey as a feminist and as a spiritual seeker to learn how to say "no". I'm lucky to have such a wonderful, spirited toddler to model it for me.
Santa in his sleigh, complete with reindeer: