For most plate spinners, the time span between Thanksgiving and Christmas represents all that we love (time off from our day jobs, being able to sleep in) and loathe (the mile-long to do lists, the packed parking lots, mobbed stores, the expectation of home-baked goods, etc.).
According to my mother – my multi-tasking mentor, Christmas prep separates the plate-spinner wannabes from the real pros. Which would explain why she and the other moms in our neighborhood would gather around our kitchen table to toast their success on Christmas eve while we kids slept with visions of sugar plums (whatever those are) dancing in our heads down the hall.
There would be no celebrating around my kitchen table this year. What with my day job, my deadlines, my family, my incessant need to run around in circles while wearing overpriced shoes and lots of spandex, Christmas snuck up on me this year.
Before I could say, “Santa who?,” my two youngest had burst through the front door and run up the stairs to their room where they promptly shoved their back packs to the nether regions of their closets – a sure sign that their Christmas break had commenced.
I’ll admit it. I was distressed.
I hadn’t sent out a single Christmas card. Hadn’t even selected a group shot to use in one…maybe because we weren’t all in the same place at the same time during all of 2015. I promptly reminded myself that the world would keep spinning if I skipped that little U.S. Postal Service revenue-generating holiday tradition and moved to the next item on my list. Gifts.
Normally, my husband commandeers the boys’ gift lists in, oh, August so he can start shopping for deals. After asking what he had done to date to procure the presents, his blank stare dashed any hope I had that he was on top of things. In knew in my heart of hearts, that I was on my own.
I promptly delegated the task of erecting and decorating our fake, pre-lit tree to the kids while my spouse slunk outside with a strand of lights between his legs to brighten our gutter and porch railing.
Still, there was so much to do to make the holiday perfect – whatever that means – because, God forbid, I let anyone down. Sheesh.
To kick off my pity party, I cracked into a package of store bought Christmas cookies (it’s true – five bucks to not tell my mother).
Just as I was about to pop a powder sugar-coated confection into my mouth, I realized I still have three whole days to make this holiday memorable, if not absolutely perfect. That being said, I weighed my options:
I could dip into my mother’s potent reserve of bourban balls and sleep straight through the holiday, wake up on December 26th incredibly well-rested and ready to face my incredibly disappointed family…
I could whip out every credit card I have and get the kids whatever they want, damn the familial budget and responsible parenting…
I could suck it up, pull out the store ads, gas up the car and hit the mall. And look forward to sitting at my kitchen table on Christmas eve to cheer my success – but only after I find out what sugar plums are.