You know, I grew up thinking that Christmas was the best time of the year, and back then, it really was. Nowadays I'm the Mom, which means I am in charge of making sure Christmas happens for everyone within my circle of influence.
My husband used to be really terrible in the support department during the grueling Christmas marathon - he wouldn't do a blessed thing to help me stage Christmas at all. But he's learning (thanks to a wee bit of emotional terrorism and aversion therapy from the Christmas Nazi - aka me). This year, he put up lights, wrapped 42% of the presents, helped address Christmas cards and delivered a few gifts. Which all added up to about 6% of what needed to be done. But it was better than nothing and helped me be happier with him which takes away about 17% of my Christmas stress.
This year, not only did I have to provide presents for:
- my parents
- his siblings
- my siblings
- my grandma
- kid's school teachers (and librarian, secretary, etc.)
- kid's sunday school teachers
- friends in town
- Visiting Teaching ladies
- Visiting Teaching companion
- my colleague (thanks to name draw at work - only one)
- hubby's colleagues (won't take my suggestion for name draw - so all 5)
- Marty's Home Teaching families
- our Home Teachers (actually haven't done that yet - rats!)
- the "Aunties" who live in town
- Bishop (cross referenced under friend category)
- other counselor and members of the bishopric (also cross referenced under friend category)
- kid's friends
- etc, etc, etc,.... I'm sure I'm forgetting somebody
.... but I also had lots and lots of photo clients who wanted Christmas family pictures. Which is great, it provided extra Christmas money and is always fun, but it also increased my to-do list by 62%, which decreased my total amount of sleep by 37% and my free time by 100%.
Needless to say, I'm very happy and relieved that Christmas is over and I can get back to my normal life which is always 100% full. And I've actually enjoyed the process of cleaning up, throwing out and putting away the last couple of days. I've always had a chronic aversion to housework, but it's amazing how appealing it can seem when you've not done it at all for several weeks and the mess is closing in on you.
My wise grandpa used to always say, "A change is as good as a rest." At least I've gotten up off my hiney and away from the mouse now that the marathon is over.
We did do a few "true meaning of Christmas" type things that really were nice. Marty and I sing in our ward choir and we really enjoyed learning and performing the wonderful music which was all centered around Christ. And a super special and talented lady in our town puts on a program called "Melody Miss" every Christmas which always helps me to lift and inspire me. She is a lady about 80 years old who has macular degeneration and can no longer read sheet music, but she's put on this program now for over 40 years and it's really amazing and almost makes the rest of the hassle worth while.
We also went to St. George a week before Christmas to finish up some last minute stuff and pick up my Christmas present (which I shopped for myself, of course). We picked up Aunt Sharon and took a little time to go by the temple and look at the nativity and beautiful lights. So that was nice and gave me a little "ah...." break among all the crazy.
This was the temple nativity and they also played a recording by President Hinkley talking about Christ and his role as Savior of the world.
I didn't have my big camera with me, but I do carry a little point and shoot around in my purse at all times for just such occasions, and it did a pretty good job.
The temple is always so beautful, but especially when it's lit up at night and with the colorful lights and Star of Bethlehem in the foreground.
All it takes to make a party for our kids is to have Aunt Sharon there....
We really did have a nice Christmas, but I so struggle with being a "bah humbug". I know that I need to keep working on that, because my poor family has to put up with me being overstressed, underslept, and 39% grumpier than I usually am.
I keep thinking that if I were more prepared it wouldn't be so bad. If I just started earlier....
This year I started in September - perhaps if I started in June?
Or maybe we should just cancel the commercialism all together. Hmmmmm, now that would be an enjoyable Christmas. For me, at least.
Tempting, very tempting.