Every year around this time I give myself a good talking to. I will not leave Christmas to the last minute. I will be an organized machine, and I will start early and do this at a leisurely pace in a relaxed and even-tempered manner. I will not be exhausted. This is the year. My family has started drawing names out of a hat. So I have to buy for my husband, two other adults, and the nieces and nephews. Easy. So there is no reason why I can’t do this. Right? This is how I have it planned out.
Put up Christmas Tree, and advent calendar. Create online photo album wrapping up the year for everyone. Write out a list for who I need to buy for including stocking stuffers. Finally go to VanDusen Gardens Festival of Lights. Secretly wish that someone invites me to a cookie party this year, as I actually have a working oven this time.
Shopping goal – 2 nieces, 2 nephews, 1 son, 1 husband. Go to the Christmas Parade. Buy wrapping paper and wrap.
Shopping goal – 2 adults, stocking stuffers. Wrap wrap wrap. Go to the Stanley Park Light Train. Actually get a picture with Santa this year. Receive 2010 Photo Book I ordered and feel an enormous sense of accomplishment.
Make reservation for ferry and pack. Load all the neatly wrapped presents into the vehicle and travel to the Island!
It’s Christmas already!! Wooohoooo. Relax and sleep in because grandparents are awesome that way. Bask in being around family for an extended period of time.
But what’s really going to happen can be predicted with both hindsight and foresight. When combined they cancel each other out.
In the first week of December, I actually do put up the Tree, and the advent calendar. However, I realize the photos are split between my home and work computer, making it difficult to do the photo book.
Instead, I stay up far too late over the week reading tips on how to be efficient, advice on keeping the pounds off during the holidays, and looking for that killer app to help me get everything done. I make my list 4 or 5 times, on paper and spread throughout various iPhone apps.
I vow to do VanDusen Gardens’ next year as it is pouring rain outside. I try to bring my son into the spirit of giving but he just wants to buy Storm Trooper helmets for everyone. A friend lets me in on the fact that the Christmas Parade is this weekend instead. I love a parade!!
The second week of December brings the first curve ball. Illness strikes, the anxiety begins to build. I’m not sick enough to stay home from work, and still feel I can kick this before the cookie party. So, I spend this low energy week surfing online for a fun recipe, cooking dinners that no one eats and not getting anything done on the photo book.
I venture into a toy store on the weekend. The symphony of tantrums and meltdowns make me feel like I’ve stumbled into a toddler’s flash mob, and I’m disappointed that the adults don’t break into a Thriller dance. I leave with a bunch of bags and a splitting headache. An impromptu round of cheer that night proves to be an unwise decision, and stumble my way through making cookies for the cookie party in the morning.
I pray for my first Christmas miracle that the children skip the sugar high part and go straight to the coma. No such luck. I leave with a bunch of cookies and a splitting headache.
The third week of December is usually the worst. Cue annual technical meltdown at work. Some inexplicable bug that no one in the history of computers has ever seen before brings my already packed schedule to a halt, and yes I rebooted. This has me working all day, coming home to cook dinner, bedtime then returning to work at night to catch up.
At work, waiting for the computer to do its thing incredibly slowly, I browse which stores will be open super late, how to lose weight after the holidays, and convincing myself that it is best to save the photo book until January so I can include Christmas photos. The Stanley Park Christmas train will be there next year. I cheer myself up at the end of the week by forcing my son to dance with me to “A Boney M Christmas”!
The fourth week of December finds me exhausted and panicked. I clean up just enough to prevent calls to Family Services, and plead to husband for more help. He fails to praise me enough, and I vow to divorce him after Christmas so as not to ruin anyone’s holidays. I feel empathy for him and how lost he will be without me.
I return home from shopping to a cooked meal and a footbath, and enjoy Christmas movie night with my boys! All crazy residue anger dissipated. However, I discover that I waited too long to reserve the ferry we are catching in 3 days, and spend the rest of the evening facebooking and learning how to dress for my size.
We make it to the Island after one-sailing wait. I’m happy to be home but I’ve second guessed what I’ve gotten everyone. I do the annual Christmas Eve run for last minute stocking stuffers, and “top ups”.
We partake in the tradition of ruining my mom’s Martha Stewart tree with ornaments we’ve all kept since we were kids. I enjoy a glass of wine while watching my son hang his up and bounce around with excitement. This is followed by wrapping until 2 a.m. but I don’t care. Everyone is here and I know one thing always plays out the exact way I want it to.
It’s Christmas already!! Wooohoooo. I relax and sleep in because grandparents are awesome that way. But mostly, bask in being under the same roof of my family for an extended period of time.