This blog post is long overdue. I have been stressing about Christmas since August. As back-to-school has set in and Halloween is just around the corner, the planner inside of me sees those as mere markers along the path to the real event of the year. The countdown clock ticks loudly and my internal angst rises, as we inch closer and closer to the big day (85 days and counting … eek!).
I’ve always loved the Christmas season but now that I have two children of my own, I am taking the role of CMMO (Chief Memories-Making Officer) very seriously. Too seriously, some may think, but after all the decorations have come down and all the cookies have been eaten, even months later when that special fire truck that Santa brought sits forgotten at the bottom of the toy bin, all that’s left are the memories, right? It’s my duty to ensure that those memories are picture perfect and worthy of passing along to the next generation. Or so I tell myself when I’m lying awake in bed on a Sunday night in August, worried – not about the big day at the office tomorrow – but instead about whether tickets for the Nutcracker have gone on sale yet and if we should go to brunch on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve.
Perhaps part of my stress is that we’re the sole members of our family in San Francisco. With our extended families being out of state, it’s entirely up to me what we do for Christmas. Liberating, yes; I love being the one to dictate the schedule and plan activities that best suit us. But it comes with its fair share of stress, especially when I begin to inquire about friends’ plans… ski vacations, trips to Europe, cabins in the mountains. I feel compelled to come up with equally memorable plans for my family.
For me, the best way to deal with stress is to organize. So organizing I’ve done! A few weeks ago, I created a Christmas itinerary, a detailed account of how we’d spend every day of Christmas break. I made reservations for The Napa Valley Santa Train, decided which mass we’d go to, made plans for New Year’s Eve. I booked our Christmas vacation rental, thinking that by doing so in August I would have been at least a tiny bit ahead of the game. (Though an email exchange with a friend who has booked her Tahoe rental back in March instantly changed that!) I have food lists, gift lists, wine lists, wish lists. I’m determined to finish my Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving. My husband thinks I’m insane but thankfully he loves me anyway.
Unfortunately for you, dear reader, this post doesn’t come with any helpful advice or tips on how to make it through the holiday season. But if there are other mamas like me out there, rest assured that you are not alone. We will get there!
Here’s to the most memorable Christmas yet.