An alternate blog title could easily have been “Scale back before you make yourself insane; half of what you’re scheduling yourself to do is because other people want it done for them and those other people happen to have more time and more money than you do”.
So ya. I know I haven’t been around the blog lately, to be honest I don’t have much to say but I felt like writing a quick post outlining how I have revised Christmas this year to suite myself…since I am the one doing all the work.
First, I decided on a menu that works for me. For instance, I hate trying to figure out when to roast the brussel sprouts so that they are hot while everything else is getting cold and since we eat the little green balls at least once a week all fall and winter, they aren’t anything special for us….therefore I am not making them. Perhaps some of our dinner guests may be disappointed in lack of teeny cabbages…but I suspect that they will not be permanently scarred.
Along those lines, I am not making an appetizer outside of opening up the traditional oysters with toothpicks and a jar of premium garlic stuffed olives. We are all adults (and an infant) capable of sustaining our bodies for around 1-2 hours of socializing without having to be constantly stuffing our gaping maws with my effort, time and money. So. No appetizer. (note that I have put out the message that anyone who wants to bring an appetizer should let me know and as yet, of 10 people descending on our house, no one has stepped up….which means that they don’t want an appetizer badly enough to prepare and bring it, they want one that I have prepared.) Again, probably no permanent scarring.
The final comment about the dinner is that as festive and wonderful Christmas is (and it definitely IS, I love this time of year), I am making dinner. Not a feast, not a banquet, not a never-before-been-served-cornucopia-of-delight. I am making dinner. Meat and veggies. I make dinner every day of my life. This one just happens to be with extra dinner guests. Thinking about it like that makes it so much less stressful. Anyone who is not pleased to get a free and delicious meal that they don’t have to make or clean up can suck it.
Oh, and I rented dishes, silverware, table linens and glassware this year. Pick up, use, rinse, put back in the totes and they come and get it the next day. Score! AND for less than $35!
Oh! And I didn’t make a centrepiece this year. I’m not kidding, I create a centrepiece every year, stress the shit out about it and then it gets moved off the table at dinner time into the spare room never to be seen again. This year I opted out and saved myself the time, stress and money of it. No one will care. Or notice.
Let’s move to the decorating aspect of this insane time of year. We are only half done. The other half….well….we never got around to it and we’re not going it. We were tired or busy or, more likely,) felt like sitting on the couch snuggled up watching Lifetime Christmas movies rather than standing out in the rain hooking teeny little fairy lights into our Japanese maple which no one besides myself would even notice. Therefore, what is currently up is our decorating and everything else is put away and no one would be the wiser was I not broadcasting it here).
And then there’s gift giving and charity hampers and donations and gifts for your butcher, hair dresser, waxist, charity box and every other person who decides that the 2 paycheques in December are the exact and only time that they need as much time and money as you can possibly not even realistically spare. This year I begged off, I decided what was important and realistic in my environment and I’ve done that. I gave my butcher a nice bottle of wine because he is my hook-up for quality meat and bones for 12 months of the year and that is extremely important to me. I gave my waxist a similar bottle of wine because she’s the one who pours hot wax on my nether regions every 6 weeks and I will do whatever it takes to keep her happy! As far as the rest of the “pitch in”, “kick in”, “collection”, “donation” nickel and diming that gets requested, I said no thank you. I give a lot of time and money throughout the year to charities that are important to me (yes, important to ME….which may not be important to you, but that does not make it any less valid) or which have athletic events linked to them or which have motorcycle events linked to them. That’s it. I feel perfectly fine about that.
So, do I feel less stressed out? Surprisingly, yes! In addition to all the things I changed up this year to allow myself to enjoy the season (rather than try to kill myself to make things absolutely perfect for people who probably won’t notice anyway), I also shared around the duties. I’m only making one Christmas dinner this year instead of two. My sister, hubby and I grouped our gift giving funds and time to gift some unique and awesome gifts instead of going off separately and therefore requiring more time, more wrapping, more searching. I also shopped online as much as I could and wrapped the items as they were delivered to my home.
My gift purchasing and wrapping cut off was last Saturday (for shipping and event reasons), the cut off for buying Christmas groceries is tonight due to event and timing issues, my birthday is tomorrow, my staff Christmas party is Friday, my birthday celebration day is Saturday, there is a brunch on Sunday, Monday night I have dinner prep duties for the turkey, Tuesday I cook the turkey and Wedensday is Christmas Eve. And as hairy as it could be, I’m feeling alright about it.
I should mention that Christmas comes but once a year (thank heavens) and for that reason I also released the reins on alcohol and reasonable treat consumption. Januauary 1st will come and the holidays will be over and there is plenty of long, dull, gray winter left when all the Christmas lights have been extinguished, to Whole30 and dust off the gym and put the corkscrew away. This mindset has also helped me de-stress for these couple of weeks.
So cheers, to you and yours and Happy Birthday to me and mine Sister!