Every year I have the same fantasy sequence on repeat in my brain. Christmas......December....nothing but peace and sparkling lights and clean rooms with candlelight and Christmas carols and kahlua in my cocoa sitting by a warm fire. Presents all wrapped. Things all taken care of. Fresh baked cookies on a tray. Nice warm pot roast in the oven. Shiny. Bright. Peaceful. Calm. (Damn you, Hallmark and your unattainable goals!)
And every year.....you know the drill. Last minute errands, going broke, stressing out, slapping shit together and calling it a gift, rushing higgledy piggeldy everywhere. Trash filling up the backseat of my car. My feet sticking to the kitchen floor. Receipts lost, presents lost, standing in line at a crowded postal counter, screaming at idiots in mall parking lots. It doesn't help that December is my busiest choir month and Becca's birthday and lots of houseguests and Christmas all slapped into one freaking crazy-tastic month. It is always a big thrash to the finish. And I'm always relieved when its over.
This year, dammit, I am making my own dream come true. I am doing it. When the calendar rolls over to December 1, I will have nothing on my agenda but the scheduled concerts, parties, etc. That is enough to keep my plenty busy. And the rest of the time will be time for me to spend with my kids and my husband and my friends and my family. Just enjoying them. Making real cookies this year. With cookie cutters. I will have a Christmas Eve that doesn't involve ten million different things. I want to just sit. And relax. And enjoy the tree and the lights and the company. I will have all the Santa stuff assembled and the presents wrapped ahead of time. I will have the Christmas cards written, printed, addressed and stamped early. I will have all the presents boxed and ready to mail early. I will. I may have a giant migraine by December 1, but I am going to do it. Just because I'm not five anymore, doesn't mean I can't have a magical Christmas, too.
There are a couple complications. First, I'm going out of town next week, second I'm hosting Thanksgiving here (for four out of town family members and a dog), and thirdly, I'm a procrastinator. So, here is my plan. Five unbreakable rules. I may have totally failed myself on the New Year's Resolutions for 2010 but I am going to finish strong with the November and December 2010 Action Plan.
1. First, and most importantly, I am going to stay on top of the house work. I am not letting it all fall to shit this year. Because, nothing irritates me more than a crazy messy house. Piles of papers sliding off the kitchen counter just ruin a good holiday baking session, or a nice snowy morning. RUIN IT! So, I am going to just not let down my guard. I may be exhausted by December 25, but I will have a clean house to be exhausted in. This also means I have to keep my Household ADD in check. I will finish the dishes before I drag all the wrapping paper out and strew it around everywhere. I will put the laundry away before I rush out to buy stocking stuffers. I realize this is like a lifestyle thing. Sometimes I will fall off the wagon, but I just have to get back up and be on top of it 80% of the time. I also scheduled my twice yearly cleaning to be done right before Thanksgiving...that will help. My sanity will already be in check if I just stick to Rule number 1.
2. I am concentrating on Christmas first, instead of Thanksgiving. This seems counterintuitive, but I think it will actually work for me. If I get all the Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving, then I will just HAVE to fit the Thanksgiving planning and prep in at some point. But, if I wait until I get the Turkey stuff complete, then I will have run out of time to do December stuff before December. So I can tell you what I want to buy people for Christmas, but I have no freaking clue what I'm serving on Thanksgiving. I would rather whip Thanksgiving out at the last minute than try to do that with Christmas. And Thanksgiving if actually my favorite holiday of the year. I am so looking forward to it!
2. The Internet. I am ordering as many gifts as possible online. Even though I often end up paying shipping (and sometimes twice because I send it to myself and then send it back out to others), I can at least shop around for the best price at my leisure, rather than with two squabbling kids dangling off a shopping cart and running off down the toy aisle. I figure I actually save money overall, not to mention sanity.
4. I will stay organized. I will keep receipts in the one file in my kitchen labeled "Receipts 2010." I will keep all gifts in one area. Okay, two areas. Okay, three areas. All gifts are in three areas. Damn. This is already getting away from me. Because really it is four areas if you count the trunk of my car where one of Becca's birthday presents is hidden under jackets....
5. I will not give up. I will make this a December to Remember. Just you wait and see......