My house is covered in glitter. I know, I know, everyone I tell this says, “Well, it is that time of year … so what’s a little glitter?” But they don’t realize that it’s not just a little glitter in my house. There is GLITTER with a capital G all over my house.
Every holiday season it’s the same (yes, yes, I know it’s the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s season, and I know that society seems to be mad at everyone who uses the generic HOLIDAY word, but I have been using the phrase “Happy Holidays” for the last thirty years to lump them all together and it’s just too bad that now it’s a society no-no. Really, if I feel like saying Merry Christmas, I say it. But doesn’t Happy Holidays sum up the whole five weeks and include all my Jewish friends too?).
I have lots of plans for this time period every year. First, I always plan on making tons of all of my family’s favorite cookies to send to everyone as Christmas presents. I always plan on making homemade jams and jellies from the berries that we grow and sending those as presents. I always plan on stamping and embossing our own Christmas cards. I plan on actually writing and signing those Christmas cards and really truly getting them in the mail (though one year the half done pile sat until April). And I’m thinking that this year we will throw a Christmas party ( I can go dig out the stuff I bought two years ago for the party I almost threw back then).
I know I am sounding like a major procrastinator, and I probably am sometimes, but the truth is that we over-plan for this season. Our aggressive to-do lists get us into trouble. Some years, when I don’t get to everything on my list, I can see it for what it is and just laugh it off as a list made by superwoman on steroids after having a double espresso. But other years I look at my partially done list and feel as if each one of those tasks I assigned myself and didn’t get to are like your favorite earrings falling down the drain: I am reaching for them, wishing I could get a handle on them, but they just get washed away and time runs out.
For eight years I have owned my own business, and the Christmas gift season is a big part of that business. I work from the day after Thanksgiving until late on Christmas Eve almost non-stop. When Christmas day comes, I am not prepared for Christmas at home. The day AFTER Christmas I am ready to get started on my holiday season. I am ready to make my cookies and send my cards. One year I did my stamped embossed cards, but I made them New Year’s cards instead of Christmas cards.
Since all of our children are grown and gone, I am saved by not having to deal with Santa coming.
One year, my husband suggested that we just go away for Christmas, to get away and have a stress-free holiday. Knowing that he is not a real beach fan and I’m not a mountain or camping fan, I asked, “Where would we go?” He suggested Germany, because of their reputation for really going all out for Christmas decorating, which I could enjoy without having to do any of the decorating myself. And my response was, “Are we allowed to do that?” Because, as parents, even though all of the children don’t come home for Christmas, some of them might, and aren’t we supposed to be here if they do? But I asked that mostly because we had never gone AWAY for Christmas, just the two of us, for a vacation. It was UNHEARD of!!
Well, we never made it on that trip away at Christmas time. My business keeps us here right up until Christmas Eve, so we wouldn’t be able to leave until Christmas day. And at that point we would be traveling with all the hundreds of thousands of holiday travelers, and that didn’t really sound wonderful to either of us.
So here I am, stamp-embossing my Christmas cards this year three weeks BEFORE the big day! It looks like I am going to get these out this year! The process of stamp, shake glitter, dust off, and heat until set is repeated for fifty cards. But as the process continues, I get sloppier and sloppier. The two dogs have come to “help” and snuff more glitter all over the table (note to self: next year don’t do this on the coffee table because it is the same height as the dogs’ noses). One of the dogs, sitting next to me, chooses the exact moment I was shaking the glitter out to bark like the house was coming down on us and I jumped, and of course that jerk of my hand threw glitter across the space between the coffee table and the sofa, so now the sofa is decorated for Christmas. The cat was sitting on the back of one of the chairs watching it all, almost actually sniffing down her nose at me as if to say, “You are making the biggest mess I have seen in a long time.” And then the cat and one of the dogs choose that moment to play, running circles around the coffee table and me (they really are like three-year-old children who instinctively know when you are busy and choose that time to tear the house apart). And while I am doing this wonderful job of getting our Christmas cards ready, I am eating the pecan sandy cookies that I made to send as presents. Well, I guess I’ll have to re-do that chore on the to-do list.
At bedtime, I got up from the floor in front of the coffee table and surveyed the damage. There was so much glitter that I had to go and get the vacuum and clean up the majority of it. I told myself that this plan is just not working because it just seems self defeating: I do a job, like make wonderful cookies, eat them, and then have to do it again. I made the Christmas cards but have to fit in cleaning up all the glitter that is now covering everything in the family room and kitchen, even after the thorough vacuuming. I went to bed with glitter on my face and woke up with glitter stuck to my pillow, so will have to wash the sheets. And now that the Christmas cards are embossed, I need to sit down and write in each one, address them (those sterile-looking labels that some people use are looking better and better), write the newsletter, get it printed and inserted, and mail them.
For the next few weeks I will be leaving my house with glitter all over me, and I think that that’s okay. The mini glitter explosion this year might just have evolved into a great idea! When people point it out I think I will just smile and say, “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.” I will be my own walking Christmas card! I’m wondering how I can evolve this into one of those singing Christmas cards: break into song when someone points out my glitter? Hmm. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Copyright © 2011, Maura White. All rights reserved.