Thursday, December 30, 2010

Crazy for Christmas

Jennifer Huffman
Napa Valley Register
Monday, December 27, 2010

It happens once every year during Christmas, just like clockwork. I know it’s coming, but am I prepared for it? Nope.

It’s Mom’s Pre-Christmas Meltdown.

Mom’s Pre-Christmas Meltdown always occurs about 10 days before Christmas. The pressure is on. There are gifts to be wrapped, packages to be lugged to the post office (just imagine the lines!), Christmas cards to be printed, addressed and stamped, and school photos to be labeled on the back for distribution to relatives.

There are holiday parties to find matching shoes for and bake some kind of food item to bring, and decorations to hang. Someone needs a black pair of tights. Someone else can’t find her umbrella. Someone else makes it very clear to me that she hates the new shirt that goes with her new Christmas skirt.

The girls have their Christmas lists memorized, and take advantage of every moment to drop hints about the 500 things they’d like Santa to bring them. During dinner they fight over who gets to light which Advent candle and in what order. I want to scream.

Dec. 25 always seems so far away during the week after Thanksgiving. There’s plenty of time, I say to myself at the end of November. What’s the big rush?

It’s my own fault. I’m my own worst enemy during the holidays. It’s my idea that the teachers at school should get an original craft creation. I insist that photos of the girls from the past year need to be mailed to aunts and uncles. I want to give Grandmas and Grandpas and sisters and brothers just the right gift, all within a budget price range, naturally.

Who am I trying to be — Martha Stewart? Martha has an entire staff devoted to her every holiday whim. I’m a working mom with a limited budget and a glue gun. When Martha wants to make a craft, she opens up one of her craft barns. I’m squeezed onto a corner of the dining room table with piles of wrapping paper, tissue and envelopes balanced precariously on the chair next to me.

The day of Mom’s Pre-Christmas Meltdown this year, it all got to be too much.

I’m overwhelmed, I told my husband.

I put my head in my hands. How is it all going to get done? Who will glitter the homemade ornaments? Who will write clever messages on the Christmas cards?

He nodded sympathetically and patted my hand.

About three nights later I managed to finish most of the wrapping, mailing and stamping. I relaxed a little bit.

I always say the same thing at end of each Christmas — next year, I’m doing things differently. I’ll cut back. I’ll eliminate. But this year I really mean it.

In the meantime, I’m stocking up on glue sticks.

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