It’s Christmas Eve and it’s blog day. Somehow, I have done all the things I needed to do. I baked twelve kinds of cookies. I did all of my shopping – most of it in one day. The presents are wrapped and under the tree. I’m not sure how I pulled it off, but I do know that I am making a sincere pledge not to procrastinate next year.
It’s a difficult balance for me. I didn’t realize it until my children grew up and left home, but I actually enjoy a certain amount of hustle and bustle at Christmas time. When the kids were young and I was working full-time, the thing I always dreamed of was a Christmas Eve like the ones I saw on the Jeffersons. Those folks were always sitting around on Christmas Eve in a perfectly clean apartment, relaxing and sipping hot toddies while admiring their perfectly wrapped presents under their perfectly decorated tree. I longed for just one Christmas Eve that involved relaxing. Mine involved gatherings at my mother’s house and my in-laws house, followed by all-night present-wrapping sessions.
My kids would be knocking on the living room door at five or six o’clock in the morning, saying, “Can we come in now?” and I would be shouting, “Not yet!” because I needed to get everything wrapped before I let them start unwrapping. There was definitely no relaxing going on. I might have a hot toddy, but it would be sitting on the table at my side, at risk of being knocked over when I reached for the scissors or tape.
Those days are long gone. I don’t live in the same house as my children now and I have time to wrap things in advance. Some years, I actually do it. I have had a relaxing Christmas Eve, when I had everything done and all I needed to do was sit back and wait for bedtime, drinking hot beverages and admiring my carefully wrapped packages under my delightfully decorated tree. It was peaceful. It was quiet. It was … wrong. How could it feel like Christmas if I didn’t have anything left to do on Christmas Eve?
Going to bed and falling asleep to the endless loop of the “A Christmas Story” marathon just didn’t feel right after all those years of watching it while wrapping presents all night. I’m not a Jefferson. I’ve never moved on up and I can’t get used to a quiet Christmas Eve. I’m too old for those all-night wrapping sessions, but I don’t want to have everything done in advance. I’m still figuring out the balance. I definitely over-procrastinated this year. I love wrapping presents and it’s a lot more fun if I spread the sessions out over a week or so. I’ll try to remember that next year.
I’ll also try to remember that stuff happens. You may have enough time to get everything done, but if it’s just barely enough, what do you do when there is unexpected severe weather? Or when you can’t leave the grocery store parking lot because you parked near a Corvette which is being winched on to a wrecker just behind your car? These kinds of things are out of your hands. You have to be able to allow for unplanned incidents that impact your ability to keep to your schedule.
I’m only sixty. I still have time to learn. Right now, I need to publish this blog post and then go to the kitchen and put away my last batch of lemon cheese bars. Then I’ll be ready to go to bed. It’s past my normal bed time, but it’s nothing like those days when my children were young. Tonight, the presents are already under the tree, and I get to sleep.