Christmas is my favorite holiday. Always has been. I love everything about it. The tree, the decorations, the neighborhood in brightly colored lights, sending cards, the works. I even love the shopping. Just being at the mall, with Santa and the holiday music piped into every store makes my heart soar.
At least it used to. Right now my heart is fluttering wildly as I panic at all that I need to get done before St. Nick arrives. If I went to the mall and heard the holiday music and donation bell-ringing, I ™d probably grab the bell and throw it at the faux rock speaker spewing the music.
It's not that I don't want to enjoy the season; I really do. It's just that there's too much to do and not enough time. How could that be? Shouldn't I have more time now rather than less?
We started out strong, picking out our Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We also purchased tons of poinsettias for a quick splash of color. Hubby pulled the lights out of the closet. We were on a roll.
So where are we now? The tree is up and it's inside. It does have lights; but that's all it has. Still no ornaments. We ™ve watered it, although it's starting to list to one side. Maybe it's an Italian tree, the Leaning Tower of Yule. Hubby managed to get the lights outside so at least the neighbors think we're on schedule. Little do they know that the inside of the house looks like early disaster area, with Halloween dÃ©cor still visible, discarded newspapers all over the table, a pile of clean socks on the ottoman and dog hair piling on the carpet under the tree. The dog loves to be close to the tree; it must be her way of getting into the holiday spirit.
At lunch Hubby says, So what do we need to buy for the relatives this year? I can feel my blood pressure rising as now we have to contact everyone for suggestions. Maybe we can give them each a pair of socks from the pile; at least they're clean.
And cards! OMG. How can we forget these? Which of the 997 pictures from our recent vacation should be included?
Augh! My email just pinged with a note from a friend about a job opportunity. Are you kidding me? Who has time for that right now? There are important holiday decisions to be made, treats to bake, shopping to do and carols to sing. Where's our collection of Christmas movies? Those need to be watched too. No time for something as trivial as a new job.
What's happened to me, to us? The more I think about it, the more stressed I become, to the point of almost being paralyzed. I can hardly move, think, breathe.
Remain calm, a voice tells me. Everything will get done. The voice is soothing, reassuring. I must be having one of those near-death experiences, without the bright lights. My bad “ it's just Hubby, trying to coax me out of the fetal position that I ™ve taken in the middle of the living room.
Problem solving is what I do best, he reminds me. So try to solve the problem. Which one? I shriek at him. The tilting tree, the shopping, the Halloween decorations, the pile of socks, or the ever-present dog hair? He slinks back, knowing I ™m on the brink of a holiday melt-down.
Pulling myself together, I realize he's right. An undecorated house is no match for me. I keep thinking WWMSD? What would Martha Stewart do?
A bit of holiday energy creeps back in. I make a list and check it twice. Ready, set, here we go.
Decorations: We ™ll take the discarded newspapers, wad up each page into a ball and pile around the room. Viola! Dirty snowballs. The Halloween dÃ©cor is now a non-issue, since everyone will be staring at the dirty snowball decorations.
Baking: I think Oreos come in holiday colors. Check baking off the list.
Cards: We have 997 vacation pictures and only 200 friends. So we spread the photos around the floor, face down, like a giant came of pairs . I randomly pick a photo and hand to Hubby, who places it in an addressed envelope. No need to sign them since the picture shows who it's from.
Carols: This is easy; we multi-task. Carols sung as we bake Oreos; as we pick out photos; as we create dirty snowballs. Carols sung in the shower, while cooking, while driving. All carols, all the time.
Presents: We have an abundance of clean socks. Everyone can use socks. I see some synergy here. Double Snap!Dog hair and movie watching: We ™ll combine these two into one fun evening. We can use the dog hair as furry tinsel to decorate the tree while we watch the movie. Snap!
Shopping: Now I have time to hit the mall and enjoy the holiday spirit, fight the crowds at the food court, battle for parking, push kids out of the way so I can get to Santa. With the presents taken care of, I can even shop for myself. A win all the way around.
Ahhh ¦I ™m much more relaxed now. The plan is in place. Operation Holiday Joy has begun.
And to make Martha proud, we ™ll use some of the extra socks as ornaments for the tree.
It's going to be a great holiday. If only everything was this easy.
© Tami Cannizzaro 2011 All Rights served