AUTHOR: Carolyn Savage | POSTED: 11/12/12 10:58 AM
CATEGORIES: Blog, Faith, Health & Safety, Holidays, Love This...Not So Much
I swear I’ve written this on a mental chalk board a thousand times this past week. It’s my new mantra and I’m repeating it to myself over and over again, trying to convince the skeptic in me that a chaos free holiday is possible this year.
I can do this. I will do this.
How hard can it be?
Years ago I had it down. Even the years I was working full time, I figured out a way to get my Christmas house in order. Decorating (indoor and out) was always done early…but not too early. Cards were creatively crafted, licked and stamped no later than the 18th. Presents were bought, organized, and wrapped long before the big day. And, I loved every second of the business. It was as if I was dancing a Christmas can-can down my street wrapped in lights and glittering garland, while dribbling an artfully decorated snowball and slam dunking it on Christmas day.
Somehow, last year, things changed.
I’ve found myself dreading dragging the decor boxes out of the crawl space, and the cards…ugh. Considering last year was the first time I’ve ever had to wrap anything hours before Santa arrived, instead of dancing a Yuletide victory dance, I huddled in the corner with a wine cooler (not even an egg nog) chugging until I collapsed into the fetal position. Christmas beat me last year.
This year I’ll do better.
I’m organizing my plan of attack, which translates to realistically prioritizing and accepting my role as the mother to five…three of who are very high maintenance at the moment.
So, I’ve been thinking about what my biggest priority should be and have decided it’s about the way my family feels about the holiday. What is their take-away?
I want them to celebrate love this time of year. Of course, I want them to feel loved every day of their lives, but this time of year is an outward act of love towards those that we hold dear. It’s about a time to take solace in the blessings we’ve been given. Time spent together is critical to my kids understading what our family is all about. That means pushing some of the doing aside in favor of dwelling in the experience.
Not really, but there is some reality that definitely comes into play. Particularly the fact that it’s my job to engineer the entire shindig. What I’ve learned is that if I’m running around like a lunatic muttering obscenities under my breath about rogue Christmas lights, and burned cookies, the ambiance is affected.
My mother-in-law is infamous for getting her holiday tasks completed early. I mean…way early. In fact, I’m sure her Christmas cookies are already baked, tucked away in her freezer. I used to wonder why she felt the need to get the holiday chores picked off so ahead of schedule, and now that I have a small tribe under my guise, I get it. There was a time in her life that she was managing nine children in her house. Think about pulling Christmas off for nine kids…um…without crying. Now I can see that her need to check off her shopping in October was actually an investment in her mental health. Doing holiday chores early is an exercise in self defense.
So, I have revamped my holiday plan of attack and am getting my ducks in a row earlier than ever. I started last week by picking off one of my first chores. My mother-in-law smartly gives me money for each child. My charge is to buy their gifts from her. She wraps them and gives them on Christmas Eve (I said she was brilliant…right?). This year, instead of running around last minute trying to get my act together on her behalf, I picked her list off first. Saturday morning I piled all the gifts in the car, and proudly delivered them to her…on November 10th. She was giddy. I was giddier.
Boo-yah. Score one for the new Christmas Carolyn.
I realize that the chores of the holidays are not really what the holiday is supposed to be about. I have also learned that in order to get my family to focus on what the holiday is all about, I need to have my act together. This year it’s “game on” Christmas.
I will win…even if it kills me.
Make sure you tune into 101.5 on Wednesday morning. I’ll be sharing three do-ahead Thanksgiving day recipes that will ease the chaos of the Turkey Day kitchen and render you a happier chef!
Do you have any tricks to simplifying the holidays? Do tell. I’m begging you!