Okay,stop right there,and breathe if this also happens to be you. This year,I invite and implore you to spend this year differently....and every year after this.
The "season of giving" was never meant to be one of self sacrifice,shop till ya drop,and by all means starve your artist within until you feel ready to snap emotionally. Giving of oneself to the point of being on empty isn't being a Holiday trooper or a good sport,or a giving person. There will be no rewards except for getting sick (the main way to duck the holiday responsibilities without guilt),exhaustion,and growing your inner Scrooge who can't wait for the "Holidays to be over and done with for another year". What a sucky way to spend every November thru New Years' Day. You deserve better!
I think we get on the hamster wheel because for a lot of us,it's what our parents did. I know my Mom did. Every year,she'd stay up all night long cooking the Thanksgiving dinner,only to collapse in bed exhausted the day after. Christmas was a repeat,except throw in decorating (I got to help with that) and staying up all night on the 24th cooking and wrapping gifts. On the 26th? Exhausted and in bed again,except for the years in a row that she'd become sick with a doozy of a cold,and cover herself with guilt for "ruining the holiday" My Dad worked so much overtime that as a very young girl,he slept while I opened my gifts....because my Mom didn't understand budgeting,nor did they ever discuss how much could be spent on gifts without him working to the point of exhaustion.
As artists,we simply cannot allow ourselves to carry on this twisted tradition. And of course the kicker at family gatherings for those who haven't played for nearly a month due to busy-itis: Are you going to play some carols for us? (I know you're screaming inside if this has happened to you!)
Okay. Now how to quit this? The " I want to do list". This list is made purely of those activities you want to do,not the ones that "oh,so & so will have hurt feelings if I don't__________ "(fill in the blank)
Same goes for "They'll so sooooo disappointed if I don't go over to _________"
Main item for a musician (or artist of any other medium) is : I will play my instrument regularly as tho it's not the Holiday Season. (yes you can play holiday songs!)
Next to that is " I will nurture and nourish my inner Artist/Child Self" now through January 1. (and beyond!)
Write those two items down and post it where you'll see it and read it daily. Make two copies if you work in a cubicle or office and have one posted there as well. Read it daily as often as you need to.
Start setting boundries now. Quit doing that which you don't want to do holiday wise. Notify people so that they know way ahead of time the tide has changed and other plans can be made. Yes,Virginia,there is a Santa Claus and the holidays can be made just as merry without you having to go overboard.
Do nurture yourself in any way that delights you. Take in the Magic of the Season. That can range from going to see the holiday lights in a neighborhood to stopping in at your place of worship,should you attend one. It can be meditating in front of a candle,a fireplace,the Christmas tree. Watching Holiday movies. Whatever floats your holiday cheer boat.
You're going to learn the magic of the word "no" and the sentence "I simply don't have time to do _________ this year". That is your gift to yourself. Don't deny yourself the love and respect you deserve!