We have just under two weeks before Christmas, and I have spent the major part of this past week down with a cold. That means that I am behind in almost all my preparations, but then what’s new? I have always done the Christmas Scramble to get everything done before the fat man comes down the chimney, as evidenced by this excerpt from my humorous memoir, A Dead Tomato Plant & A Paycheck.
Have a bit of nog to enjoy as you read along. These glasses have no spirits in them, but you can add according to your tastes.
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 Day closing in fast with me panting to cross the finish line before Santa Claus.
To try to stay ahead, I’d start 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 things to medieval torture I can think of.
However, I knew that I had to 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 pop for a neighborhood holiday party.
I don’t even remember the rest of that week.
Which reminds me. I have cards to make out and shopping to do and…
A Dead Tomato Plant & A Paycheck would make a nice gift for a family or a mother to be. It is available in paperback and e-book editions. Check it out.
How are your preparations going? I hope not as chaotic as mine. Regardless, enjoy this special time of the year as much as you can.