Friday, December 9, 2011

So How's the Christmas Zen Thing Going? Tenuously . . .

I’m trying, fighting against the odds, to maintain my grip on this Christmas Zen thing to which I vowed to adhere in order to keep myself from going crazy during the harried holiday season in my interfaith home. But life is not making it easy, nor are the folks on the radio, TV and elsewhere who delight in telling us how few “shopping days” there are left before Christmas arrives. It’s stressing the hell out of me and I really wish they’d just knock it off.

Not only that, but it feels as though a million little things keep coming at us, affording me precious little time to breathe never mind enjoy the season, stuff like shows for the school bands the boys are in (one which required me to run to stores the night before and buy The Eldest Boy a black dress shirt), a book swap at The Youngest Boy’s school (I forgot to sign and send in the paper to give him permission to participate), the Secret Santa in The Eldest Boy’s French class (he just asked me to take him out to buy something for his person), the specific gifts I’m supposed to get for the Giving Tree at church and submit (wrapped) on Sunday, making sure not to forget to attend one of my niece’s performances of The Nutcracker before it’s too late, and getting Max’s ridiculously long -- now partially knotted – Havanese/Wheaten Terrier hair cut (his regular groomer has been ill and we’ve been putting it off).

No, The Spouse and I haven’t started Christmas shopping for our family yet, though we’ve had rushed conversations in dribs and drabs over the phone or just before we’re about to pass out from exhaustion at night about what we think we should get the Picket Fence Post Posse. I think we’re going to have to open a bottle of wine, boot up our laptops and plop onto the sofa together after the kids go to bed on Saturday night and get this shopping done online (and be prepared to pay extra for expedited shipping). At least I won’t have to battle traffic or wait in lines.

And while our personalized Christmas and Hanukkah photo cards have been delivered to the house, I haven’t yet sat down to address the cards and have everyone sign them. (I thought it would add a touch of humanity to have each member of the Picket Fence Post family sign the cards. I have a feeling I’m going to live to regret that wholesome decision.)

No, we haven’t gotten our tree yet.

And while last week I was wistfully pondering all the different kinds of Christmas cookies I wanted to bake – trying to keep that happy Christmas spirit flourishing – there is NO TIME for that right now. I hope I’ll find a free afternoon closer to Christmas to make them. I'll remain optimistic.

However this is the context in which I’m now operating: The other day The Spouse had meetings (of course he did) and I had to: Drive the boys to a math class, drive The Girl to her hoop practice, rush to the store to buy a black shirt for The Eldest Boy's concert and a gift for the Giving Tree, pick up the boys, drop The Youngest Boy off at a friend’s house so another mom could drive him to hockey practice, pick up The Girl from practice and drive her to the library for her book club, drive The Eldest Boy to his hoop practice and pick The Youngest Boy up from hockey practice. (The other two kids got rides home with others.) Oh, and I had a deadline to meet that night. I’ve got another day like that ahead of me next week when The Spouse will be out at some work event.

Nevertheless, I’m forcing myself to be fa-la-la cheery and Christmas-y as all get out. I’ve got a strained smile on my face, but this sunny disposition shall disappear with shocking speed if 1) You remind me of how many shopping days are left and b) I hear the odious “Dominick the Christmas Donkey” song. God do I loathe that song.

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