Saturday, December 12, 2009
Typically I do not decorate the house or put up the tree until the weekend before Christmas. I am a bit neurotic about having a tree with lights in the house for a long time and I try to have the tree as fresh as possible for Christmas and the week after. Most of the time it works out fine to leave getting the tree until that late. One year, however, Paul and I drove all over the South Bay because all the trees (including artificial ones) were sold out in the usual haunts. Other years when my work schedule has been busy, I have left the trimming of the tree until as late as Christmas eve and rushed to get it done at the last minute. Some years I have had help trimming and others I have done it alone. There is no question that the holidays increase my work load and stress levels.
My goal every year is to simplify, simplify, simplify. If I do not have time, holiday cards get dropped from the agenda. We took pictures of our kids for years and I wrote a one page, sometimes funny, update of what had happened that year. Our children had challenging teen years so the funny update was not so funny during that time and thus got shelved. Resurrecting it has been hit and miss.
I now buy most of my gifts online because the stores have become unmanageable. I did however this week venture out to Target at lunch time to pick up a few last minute gifts for tonight's celebration. Target did not appear to be all that crowded. I found a parking spot relatively easily and managed to get into the store without bumping into too many other shoppers. Inside it was more crowded than the parking lot revealed but I was able to get what I needed relatively quickly and only with a few nudges to other shoppers to move out of the way. However, as I was trying to get to the checkout stand, a child ran in front of my cart which forced me to stop until his mother grabbed him and then, of course, someone else sprinted in and cut ahead of me. Grrr. Out in the parking lot with my cart filled with large items I was well into the crosswalk when a car drove right through the stop sign and just missed me. Double grrrr. Shopping at malls brings out the best in us, n'est-ce pas?
So in my quest to simplify I also buy fewer gifts for those with whom I do exchange, and exchange with fewer people. I typically give books to my colleagues at the office but I might even skip that this year since I am taking the week off before Christmas ostensibly to spend time with my daughter but probably mostly to read unless I need to have a medical procedure which is still up in the air. (My doctor knows. He has the results of the CT scan but I won't find out until Monday, which is not helping my stress levels either.)
So it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and I am trying my best to find some holiday cheer in all of this. My guys have just delivered the decorations and are off to get wrapping paper so my jobs can begin. Once the work is done, perhaps the spirit will come.