November has arrived. I don’t know about you, but once Halloween is over, the mad rush for the holidays begins. With November comes a huge sense of joy and love and anticipation. Thanksgiving hovers on the seeable horizon, and I wonder whose turn it is to host it. Mine, I discovered yesterday. Sweet! I can’t wait. My family will all come to hang out Wednesday night through the weekend. That isn’t too many. Just my sister and her boys, my brother and his family, my folks, my family with or without the boyfriend or girlfriend, and perhaps hubby’s dad if every one else on the in-law side is out of town. That makes only fourteen to sixteen people unless the others decide not to go in various directions. If they are around, add sixteen more plus a baby. Note to self: Call in-laws and find out who will be home.
Next comes cleaning the house and deciding on the menu. Thanksgiving is easy, right? Turkey, Mom’s stuffing recipe, praline sweet potatoes, green bean casserole for my nephews, apple pie for my son and pumpkin pie for my darling daughter. Okay, no biggie. Except everyone is from out of town, so no potluck option. Mom could bake rolls, that would help. Oh and wait, my father-in-law doesn’t eat turkey so I need to add a ham or a roast. Okay. Cool, I can do that. If I use my electric roaster for the bird and borrow Mom’s for the other meat, that will leave the oven free for the side dishes, and I can bake the pies Wednesday night. I’m good. Crap. T’s girlfriend is a vegetarian, and I want her to feel welcome as well, so I need to look up a recipe for something lovely but easy. Not a problem. Google is my friend. I’ve got this covered.
The day after Thanksgiving the fall decorations come down and the tree goes up. Right after I clean the house. It amazes me how big a mess a few people hanging out for the weekend can create. Whew. I got it covered though. Hubby will climb on the sun porch roof to hang lights and garland as soon as the wind goes down and the snow lets up. As long as I am out there to makes sure every thing is straight, it will take him no time. He can put the nativity in the yard that same afternoon, and make sure the flood light hits it just right so it makes a perfect reflection on the house. The tree will take a few hours to warm in the garage, so I will run up and dig through the decorations to find the perfect ones to hang this year. Oh look, here are the little animal ornaments T got every year until he was ten and here are Sunshine’s Barbie ornaments. Aren’t they sweet? Why am I crying? Good heavens it’s not like the kids never come home. They’ll be in and out all month and will go with us to MN for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. Just because they don’t actually live with me anymore, doesn’t mean I can’t hang their stockings on the mantel, does it?
Oh, enough of the crying fest. Move on. I’ll check the calendar to make sure I have everything covered. The costumes I promised to sew for the church pageant don’t have to be done until the eighteenth for fitting, the school music festival is early this year, but I think my nephew and my best friend’s daughter are in it so need to keep that night free, and the festival of young voices in the following weekend. I need to make a pan of bars for the afternoon practice. Oh, and Feast and Fest is the next weekend. I need to get tickets and my niece wants me to hem her dress. Okay, I can do that right after I finish the costumes. If I take the Monday before my birthday off, I can probably get the majority of my Christmas shopping done and dodge the really big crowds. I already ordered T’s present and Sunshine’s list will be easy to address. What the heck do I get for my hubby? Dang man just buys what he needs and doesn’t leave me anything good to give him. Oh well, I will think about that later.
Thank heavens Christmas is in MN this year. I can wrap and pack all the presents in the trunk as I get them. Our luggage should still fit even if Mom and Dad ride with us. The kids’ bags will fit too as long as I pack with care. I can’t wait. I will make pecan tassies, and homemade caramel and fudge the week before, and the cream cheese cutout cookies that my nephew loves so much can be made the day before we leave. Four hours in the car with the kids, and my parents, and my hubby all together. Uninterrupted family time. It will be perfect!
The in-law Christmas will be later. We never get together on Christmas because of other family conflicts so that’s not a big deal. I can actually relax and have a peaceful holiday. It is my turn to host the hubby’s family Christmas, but like I said that is later. We will get home from Rochester on twenty-seventh. The in-laws won’t come until the thirtieth. That gives me three whole days to make everything perfect. No worries. I can maybe even get some writing done in there if I am lucky.
What’s that, honey? Did I forget I promised to host the New Year’s Eve party? Oh course not. How could I forget something like that? Heh heh. What? No, my cheek is not twitching. What makes you say that? My eyes are not looking a little crazy, either. They can’t. I don’t have time for one more thing, not even a nervous breakdown.
I adore the holidays but often I work so hard to make them perfect for everyone else that I forget to take time for myself. I am not the only one either. I see it in my friends and family as well. By January second we are usually exhausted. Go ahead and feel sexy or lazy or just perfect as you appreciate the lovely tree and the warmth of your family. Buy that cute little elf suit and surprise your hubby but make him give you a backrub of appreciation. Get a bottle of wine or a cup of quality hot chocolate and curl up with a good book just for you. Breathe. No one will notice if the garland on the tree doesn’t drape exactly like you wanted it to or that there are only ten real ice votives lining the driveway when there should have been twelve.
Maybe this is just a Midwest thing but I doubt it. Do you feel responsible for making everyone else’s Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whatever perfect? Do you have traditions that are strictly followed or do you find yourself adjusting them to fit your changing family? Whatever your holidays are like, I hope they find you and yours healthy and happy.
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