November 04, 2011

Turning Over A New Holiday Leaf

51 sleeps until Christmas!

After this week’s negative Halloween post, I’d like to switch gears and tell you that I can’t wait until Christmas! I know some people out there are already getting stressed out about getting it all done with some shred of sanity left for New Year’s. I never get stressed in November about Christmas. Perhaps it’s because I have a warped sense of how much time remains until the big day. One week before Christmas, you will find me weeping in the fetal position in a corner because I’ve left it too long, vowing that NEXT year it will be different.
Worse than the panic on December 17th is the January freak-out. You see, we celebrate both “Canadian” Christmas on December 25th at my folks’ place and then we do it again on January 7th when we celebrate Orthodox Christmas with my in-laws. Some of you might think this is an ideal scenario. No arguments over holiday logistics every year- Christmas Eve here, Christmas Dinner there, etc. But now I ask you to consider the inevitable: Every year, we wait to buy gifts for Orthodox Christmas until Boxing Week. In our minds, the reasons are twofold: one, we get the great deals and two, we can get the gifts that the intended recipients didn’t get on the 25th. Now imagine shopping during Boxing Week for that specific item that will always be sold out in the size that you want after you’ve spent an hour finding a parking space at the mall. And on January 6th when you’re wrapping the gifts last minute, you try to find another roll of wrapping paper because you’ve run out. Seriously, try it this year. Sometimes, Orthodox Christmas gifts end up in birthday wrapping paper because that’s all I have.
This is not new for me. I honestly think I could win an award for being the world’s biggest procrastinator. All of my papers in university were completed the day of the due date. The night before an exam would find me playing Solitaire for hours and then staying up all night to study. It’s a wonder that I completed my honours degree at all, let alone with decent marks. I always have great intentions and am highly organized. I can make a great plan to get things done in advance and everything does get done - but always at the last minute.
Today, I was inspired by blogger Karen at The Art of Doing Stuff who is making a pledge to be completely organized for Christmas by December 4, in exactly one month. So here and now I am joining her in making a public pledge to all of you that I will be organized and I will get most of my holiday preparations completed by in the next month. And if I say it here, I have to be accountable. I will give you a progress update and see if I can do it.
What does this mean in real terms? Firstly, I will delegate some holiday duties to my husband instead of trying to do it all myself (control freak, anyone?). Next, I will start my gift list today. It will invariably be altered and corrected many times due to the kids’ ever-changing whims about what they want Santa to bring. When they arrive home from school today, I will have set out paper and pencil for them to start their lists. With my mother visiting next week, I will have good company to get out there and get shopping. I have marked November 15th as the day the lights will be put up. Christmas cards will be designed and ordered by November 7th and mailed by December 2nd. The house will be mostly decorated by December 4th. The tree will be up and decorated by December 13th (after my deadline but remember that it has to last until January 7th).
After December 4th, I plan to relax for the remainder of the holiday season, spending good quality time with my family and friends, cooking great meals, baking holiday goodies, volunteering with the kids at the local food bank, attending holiday productions like Messiah and the Nutcracker and generally enjoying myself and the magic of the season.
Image: © Treva Thompson

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