Holiday Wishes

At this time of celebrating winter Holidays, I want to wish everyone the happiest of times with family and friends, and all the best for the New Year. I celebrate Christmas, and our cat, John, has decided he wants to be a Christmas present. Either that, or he is waiting to see what Santa is bringing him.

The following is an excerpt from my new book A Dead Tomato Plant and a Paycheck. Please accept it as a small gift to you.

The Christmas Season was always a source of great excitement at our house. It was also a time of great panic. Every year I found the Christmas Season closing in fast with me panting to cross the finish line before Santa Claus.

I’d immediately start my “Holiday Hustle” working non-stop for three weeks to get everything done. There were gifts to send out of state, and cards to mail. Since I didn’t start early enough on that task, I had to decide if I would write one let­ter and copy it for all our friends, or try to find the time to write individual letters. This was before the birth of The Holiday Letter, which has now become a standard way for friends to stay in touch. Some people don’t like them, but, you know, if the alternative means not keeping up with friends, I’m all for it.

Maybe instead of getting angry at the stores that were putting out their Christmas stuff before Halloween, I should have taken their reminder seriously. Then I wouldn’t have let Thanksgiving slip by without a thought of the next holiday.

My basic problem was, and still is, the fact that I don’t get in the Christmas spirit until a couple of weeks before The Day, and then the frantic juggling act begins. If I could just bring myself to think about Christmas in October I wouldn’t be faced with the necessity of regimenting my time down to the last second to get everything done — structure and discipline being the closest thing to medieval torture I can think of.

However, I knew that I must have some structure, so sometimes I made a calendar with Things to Do. Monday was slotted for shopping. No giving in to the urge to sing carols with the kids or start making decorations. Friday was slotted for singing, and decorating would start the following week. Tuesday was the day to finish the Christmas cards. No fair claiming writer’s cramp as an excuse to quit for a while and play with the dog.

Wednesday of that week started out easy. That was the day to write my column, and I didn’t have to stress over what I would write about as I had all this great material to work from. But the strangest thing happened as I wrote about all the things I hadn’t done yet. I had to fight the urge to quit working and dash out to the store when I thought of the perfect gift to get Uncle Barney. Not to mention all the other things I’d forgotten on Monday.

While fighting down that urge, another distraction popped up. The Girl Scout caroling party. I still hadn’t called the leader to tell her what songs I’d planned for the girls.

Then I remembered someone else I should have mailed a card to.

Then I remembered I was supposed to get soda for a neighborhood holiday party.

I don’t even remember the rest of that week.

10 thoughts on “Holiday Wishes”

  1. Merry Christmas, Maryann.

    We’re guilty of having a totally stress free holiday this year. No tree or decorating, no visitors, no travel, and no shopping (I sent the kids checks). Who knew Christmas could be this much fun? 🙂

  2. Glad your holiday is stress free, Patricia. Not sure I could go all the way like you did. There is something wonderful about the decorations, the visitors, the music and the good food that makes me feel really good. So the hassle is worth it. Some year, soon, though, I will need to scale back. I am really tired after a solid week of running. LOL

    And, Ginger, there is no way I will think of Christmas on July 5th. Do you know how hot it is in Texas in July?

  3. Hi Maryann, Just stopping by as you email suggested. Glad for an opportunity to look over your blog. You have a wonderful holiday and if either of us ever slow down, we must do lunch again.

  4. Merry Christmas, Maryann!

    I was chuckling at your excerpt, since I’m one of those “last minute get it all together” people, but I’m getting better. 😉

    I even baked cookies this year! Today. That way they’re fresh for Santa.

  5. So true. It does seem to go by in a blur as we rush around chopping and cooking, running to the store, wrapping and writing, emailing and mailing.

    I’m with you. If I could start earlier, it would all be less stressful. My hope is to make it so next year.

    Merry Christmas.

    Straight From Hel

  6. Hi Maryann – I can relate. Though I do buy presents all through the year (4 married kids, heap of grandchildren, 3 great- grandchildren). But here I am checking my emails at almost 11 p.m. Christmas night (in Australia) because I left myself a lot to do at the last gasp. Family mostly coming by tomorrow, they live between 30 and 150 miles away.

    No cooking. I’m now officially old plus decrepit and my kids bring their own goodies and look after themselves. No gift wrapping or setting up the tree – granddaughter comes out to do that for me. Don’t I get it easy?

    I wish you the happiest of Christmas days. You’ve certainly earned it!

  7. A Dead Tomato Plant and a Paycheck sounds like a great read!

    I used to do the holiday shuffle as well, but a few things happened all at the same time to change that. First, I developed a strong aversion to crowds, so I changed my shopping deadline to Thanksgiving. Then, my Mom retired. She loves to shop, but it wasn’t much fun for her on a fixed income. So, now I hand over my Christmas shopping funds and tell her to have fun. She shops, wraps, and put everything under the tree.

    I bake the traditional treats. My brothers cook. We all show up at Mom’s in time for breakfast and enjoy a lazy, stress free day. Everyone, even the kids, seems to enjoy this new routine more than the old one. Of course, when I what Christmas movies and see all those fictious people bustling about for the perfect gift, I miss the old routine.

    Merry Christmas,

  8. Thanks for stopping by Monya and Char and sharing some of your traditions. It has been quite a lot of fun discovering all the different ways people prepare for and celebrate the holidays.

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