In my house, the organization of assuring that the Christmas preparations are accomplished in a sensible and timely manner is my job. And I am truly feeling the pressure right now.
I can already hear the psychologists out there telling me that the only pressure I feel is what I allow myself to feel. That may be true. However, I want it all. I want all of the various ways of celebrating Christmas with my family and friends to happen in entirety.
The problem is just that the day to day happenings of life and schedules and health and money issues and ... and ... and ... interfere. And I get tired. The energy just isn't there like it used to be. I'm sure there are so very many others out there that feel just as I do. I just happen to be laying it all out there for all to read.
So I'm gonna do my best to just let some of it go. I will consciously enjoy the people around me first, because family and friends are the most precious thing to me. After that, all the other stuff - the decorations, the cookies, the traditions - is just fluff. Nice if it's there, but really extraneous.
Here then, is the list of Christmas preparations that I typically oversee, and my progress and status as of today. By listing all of them one by one, I am acknowledging to myself that it is indeed a lot, and then sitting back and letting it go. What gets done gets done, and I will be content with that. Really.
Progress: I have purchased the cards. I have purchased Christmas stamps. I have them all in one place.
Status: Stalled. The letter is not written, and I just don't really feel like doing that right now.
Progress: The tree is up and the white lights are on.
Status: Incomplete. There is no angel on the top or decorations on the tree.
3. Decorate the interior of the house.
Progress: There are a few decorations in place.
Status: Incomplete. Stockings are not hung by the chimney with care, the mantle isn't done, and there are no decorations on tables or end tables.
4. Place and arrange the nativity scene.
Status: Not happening this year, due to three rooms of our home that are in ongoing renovation progress. And a large puppy that is a bit like a bull in a china shop.
5. Exterior illumination and decor.
Progress: The husband/lover/best friend nailed this. There is a wreath on the door, a decorated tree on the front porch, and greenery swags on fences and gates.
Status: Done, nicely too.
Progress: I have come up with some gift ideas, and research has been done on them.
Status: Incomplete. I have not translated the ideas into anything tangible yet.
7. Department store or other gifts purchased.
Progress: Most are purchased and stacked in a pile in the corner of my bedroom. Risky, I know - my 25 year old son is a chronic snooper.
Status: Nearly complete. I still need stocking stuffers, which I can typically complete in one brief shopping outing.
Progress: I bought two rolls of wrapping paper and several spools of ribbon.
Status: Incomplete. Not one gift has been wrapped. In fact, the wrapping paper I bought still resides in the trunk of my car, and is fairly annoying rolling and banging around back in there.
9. Christmas checks written.
Status: 100% incomplete.
Progress: None. Haven't even picked out recipes yet.
Status: 100% incomplete. That's a healthier option, right?
11. Christmas bedding put onto guest beds.
Status: May not even happen this year.
12. Meal menus planned for all family gatherings over the holidays.
Progress: We have a meal picked out for Christmas evening.
Status: All other holiday meals are undetermined.
Progress: Trying to keep it semi-clean but losing the battle due to dry wall sanding, etc. from our renovation project.
Status: It will be what it will be. And we will try to be OK with that. Usually guests don't really care how messy the house is.
I am sure that in the moments immediately after I publish this blog post, I will suddenly remember other tasks I have missed. Whatever. I think my plate is plenty full already.
Here then are kudos to all the women this Christmas season, those who are struggling to do it all. Let's relax more, and focus on what's really important. And yes, I'm definitely preaching to myself.