While scrambling to catch up from a holiday that filled the house with giggling cousins, loquacious family members and friends, and eight rambunctious dogs (yes, I said EIGHT), I was left a little drained and frazzled. For those who are new to this blog, chaos and clutter does not suit me well, and I struggled to hang on to my love of Thanksgiving in the midst of a storm of activity.
I think I weathered it pretty well. I afraid the Grinch, who is usually the instigator of chaos, did not fair quite as well. Can you say major meltdown right before the meal was served? That little incident made my “I’m thankful for …” statement a little strained, because I was not very thankful for the Grinch or his attitude that moment, but it was Thanksgiving and I bit the bullet for the ocassion.
Monday was difficult of course: I felt sick and achy and completely disorganized, which happens when I’m out of sorts. Not to mention, the basketball season had kicked into high gear and every day the week we have been carting the kids up and down the three-mile hill to practice for one of six teams the kids are playing for. (Kids in our town have to play on a house league if they want to play travel, everyone made travel, thus six teams). And I’m still playing catch-up with work, the cleaning, meals, the leftovers, bills … Oh, and I’m heading out in a few days to Washington D.C. for a conference (and sneaking in some couple-time, too). So you can imagine my feelings about jumping right into the whole Christmas-thing.
But over the years, I have found some ways to make this holiday less about the presents and commercialism of the whole month — or two or three (when did ABC Family’s Countdown to Christmas begin?) — and more about spending much-needed quality time with family. In particular, spending time with our immediate family — the kids, the dogs, my husband, the cat (there was no particular order there it just came out of my fingertips that way, read into it however you want.). With Thing 1 and Thing 2 now official teenagers with much more important lives to lead than mine, and Thing 3 at 11 trying to discover his likes and dislikes by trying every activity out there from sports teams to play rehearsals, family time is a precious commodity at our house. So there will be no enormous credit card bills this year and running to and fro to every holiday activity around the Berkshires — I’ve been keeping that list for my other site Berkshire Family Focus and its enormous. This year I have decided that I am going to try to give my family the gift of peace and sanity and family togetherness, whether they like it or not!
We will chop down and trim the tree, shop for some children on the giving tree and chill out with popcorn, hot chocolate and one of our favorite Christmas DVDs together. We will choose a couple of the seasonal activities to do together and we will spend some time away from the gym and basketball just hanging as a family. And this year I will make sure the entire family heads to the 4:30 church service that has been reserved for father and daughter while the rest of us (read as I) get ready for company at 7.
And then when Christmas morning arrives I will sip my big mug of coffee, while I watch my children open a few thoughtful gifts and pat myself on the back for a job well done in keeping the true spirit of the holiday alive.
And then I will sit down in front of the computer and tell you all about how the festivities really went down, and how oh, so frazzled I am. Especially since I just remembered that my sister, her husband, her 3-year-old daughter Dora and then 5-month-old son George (we have given them fake names, too), plus one lab puppy Bear (that’s his real name) will be here celebrating, too. Well, there’s always next year to get it right.
Read the article that inspired me to write this post from pbs.org.