There are 7 days left to Christmas and I find myself in a familiar place - trying to catch up to Christmas. Being a busy mom who works long hours makes it hard to be prepared.
There is the tree to put up which is traditionally done the weekend after Thanksgiving. Mine went up Monday night and at the expense of doing work I brought home (as usual).
Shopping to do for family: Nope I am still not done. I look at my "haul" and say "It's not enough. It's not equal. Not enough of something. Back out to buy more is in the plans.
Charity to give to: Yep, I have bought some toys and they sit in my closet - still not donated.
Cookies: Dough in refrigerator - Not done! Will it ever happen?
Gingerbread house - Never will happen
Christmas dinner planned and purchased: I have it more or less planned but not purchased. What am I waiting for?
Christmas cards? I had a planned photography session after I had the photographer help with planning the outfits. They have not yet arrived. Session rescheduled for after the new year. So, I took pictures in front of my tree (TONIGHT) and ordered them at Walgreens. They are going to be picked up tomorrow and mailed God knows when. When have I been to a post office?
Packages for out of town: Not mailed
Thank you cards to send off for gifts received: Not even purchased
Holiday lights/decorations outside: Didn't happen this year.
Visiting lights to enjoy with the kids: Hmmm.... sounds like a thought
Christmas Parade: Skipped because I was too tired and my back hurt
Visiting the mall Santa/Santa letters: OMG I need to do this soon!
Advent calendars and elves on the shelves? Lovely tradition Martha Stewart mothers, but it probably won't happen in the next 10 years.
Any presents wrapped? Not one!
Class room party preparation and teacher gifts? I did it tonight (the night before as usual procrastinators do). Wrapping various candies in cellophane, ensuring each child gets one with a card from my trio... it's not as pretty or elaborate as some parents will make and I am glad I will be too busy working to see the Martha Stewart creations to make me feel I failed in yet, one more area. Gift card for teacher - check along with a regifted mug full of Ghiradelli chocolate. Yep, I am that person.
I am sure I am forgetting about 1000 other details
I will be up till 5 am on Christmas eve/morning, doing last minute shopping, trying to clean the house, prepare things for the next day, wrap presents, do the Santa cookies and milk, etc.
I find myself so frustrated that there isn't more time to prepare, but then I knew this day was coming 365 days ago. It happens the same time every year, so why am I not more prepared? Why doesn't it even feel like Christmas? I found myself today, giving a lecture to a group of clients about the holiday being this amalgamation of 1000 different ideas on the meaning of Christmas. We are sold these ideas and we buy them willingly and when the holiday doesn't measure up to that ideal in our heads, we are unhappy.
We need lots of presents under the tree. Everyone is supposed to be holly and jolly. There are supposed to be snow and snowmen, sleigh rides and sleds (impossible for us Floridians), hot cocoa by the fire, surrounded by a big family, opening presents and having holiday ham, turkey, and "figgy pudding" (whatever that is). Santa and reindeer, elves, carols, mangers, the nativity scene, Christmas trees, holiday wreaths, watching "It's a Wonderful Life," or whatever holiday movie.
Have we forgot this is a religious holiday? If we simply were to think of it as the birthday for Jesus, would we still have this inordinate amount of pressure to get things done or to go into debt fulfilling the dreams of our children? If it's really about our relationship with Christ, then it isn't about being surrounded by your large family and it's okay if you don't have family support during this time. So then what the heck are we doing to ourselves?
I think in order to manage my stress and my guilt I have to go back to the whole premise of the day and keep perspective. So what if I don't get a gingerbread house built, the cookies made, or the perfect photo sent out to my loved ones? This is a day about Jesus - Thank you God for sending your child into the world, that he could be our light and show us how to live and how to die. Thank you for loving us that much to give us an in flesh experience of you. May we love each other with the love you give to us.
I hope everyone else out there is having a stress-free 7 day countdown.
In case you don't get the holiday photo till spring... here's a preview.