As I write this, my stomach is chock full of mini reese's cups leftover from the picked through Halloween candy, and I'm trying to remember if my last year's Thanksgiving table cloth is stained beyond all hope. I think it is. Well, now, let's add picking up a 96"long white linen table cloth to my list of things to do. Honestly, when I look at all that goes into any random week of my life, my head literally spins around on it's own axis. So, I really just try to break it down day by day, keeping the remaining 6 on my blurred radar.
While, I really do get the whole slow down and smell the roses concept, less is more, blah blah blah, every other time of the year, when it comes to holiday time, I just seem to loose all wisdom. It's like a 7 year old wetting the bed suddenly. It's humiliating, but I just can't seem to help myself. It starts now, planning for the perfect Thanksgiving for my family, neighbors and friends. Now, if you've grown to know me, you will probably guess, I don't just have a simple sit down dinner with my family. No, no, no. I have a small army to my cabin in WV every Thanksgiving. And, it's always so wonderful (more wonderful in retrospect then in the moment, and that's what gets me again and again). You can imagine the amount of work that requires. Last year, I had a sit down dinner for 22 people, with a cocktail party prior, and ten spent the weekend. Also add to that list: a dog, a guinnea pig, a bunny and a cat. This year is shaping up to be just slightly bigger. Here's how I imagine things will go. I'll arrive 2 days prior to begin the decorating, and preparations, and I'll stay back a day to put everything back in order, and then it will be a mad rush to get back into the office and do all the work I negated by having such a grand "holiday". I'll rush back to the office to do next year's forecasting, end of year financials, holiday specials, next year's catalogue finals, and to prepare for two trade shows in January, one in Dallas and one in Shanghi. I've never been there, but they tell me it sucks. Then, it's Christmas shopping, (yes I said Christmas shopping, not holiday shopping, because for me it's about the birth of Christ), getting a tree, decorating, trying to inflate that hideous giant snow globe that snows on a family of jolly penguins in scarfs (we do this for my son, Sebastian, who at 15 still adores "Mr. Pengins), cookie baking, card sending, and the time honored traditions the kids love like seeing the lights of 34th Street, strolling through some lighted up zoo or park, watching It's a Wonderful Life, going to church and preparing a box of love, and putting up our snow village. All of which are absolutely wonderful. Yes, it's busy, but I mean, really, what could I not do? If I failed to do any of these things, the children's childhood memories would be ruined, and now that they are getting older I have this sense of life as I know ending. I means Sebastian is in 10th grade, and soon will be in college, and then married to some girl with a life of his own, and well, there are really only 2 Christmas's left when he's still my little boy and Raiff isn't far behind. So, I work overtime to ensure we have our wonderful Christmas morning in our charming log cabin in the woods. Papa in his kerchief and I in my cap. Kids waking up, laughter, hearts overflowing, warm cocoa, all so beautiful. O.K., we've enjoyed that, now clean up, get ready, we have a Christmas open house at 1. Wear that new sweater, I don't care if it itches. Bing Crosby singing on the Ipod, happy faces stopping by, ahhh, so nice, so wholesome. Then, a great Christmas dinner. Maybe duck, or maybe a standing pork roast. Then, major clean up, and fall into bed, absolutely exhausted. Well, the next day is slower, everyone enjoying their presents, for the first couple of hours, but then you realize you have two restless teenagers, stuck in the middle of the woods in winter. A plan needs to be hatched. So, I plan snow tubing, and skiing for the days in between. And, then, we get our wonderful guests for New Years. Yes, I said it. We have our two favorite families to our place for New Year's each year. They arrive on the 30th, leave on the 1st or 2nd and it's a blast but so busy. Then, it's quickly put the house back together, and back to work as fast as you can. I feel so fat because I ate my body weight every single day, and I am so exhausted. But, I'm sure everyone had a great time, and I managed to pull of another memorable Christmas season complete with photographic evidence. See, everyone is smiling.
HOWEVER, I'm exhausted, bloated, overspent, and a little bit bitter. So, I'm vowing to make things a little different this year. I'm putting the boys in charge of the Christmas cards, while I look on with a glass of wine in one hand, and holding hands with Stephen with the other. I'm forgetting the "open house" idea for friends, and opting instead to spend the day doing whatever the kids want. I have a feeling we'll play poker and watch Jaws. I am having everyone over for Thanksgiving, but it's going to be a bit of a pot luck, and there will be jobs assigned, and I won't be on clean up. I'm shopping online a lot and buying a whole lot less. I'll get Stephen to bake with the boys for a change. And, I will not eat my body weight each day. Hey, it's a start. I'm wishing you all the best of the season, and reminding you, great memories are best had when you're laughing.