Tick Tock. Do you hear that? I do! It’s the IMPENDING HOLIDAYS.
And like literally everyone else – we are really feeling the pressure turn up this week.
By way of example, for me, the next seven days hold 40+ hours of full-time work, plus a holiday party at my house for roughly 20 girlfriends, the arrival of my mother-in-law for the weekend, and the subsequent arrival of my own mother, step-father, brother, girlfriend, and possibly others for the following week. There is wrapping to do, meals to plan, shopping errands. I literally have NO IDEA how I’m going to pull it all off.
As the pressure mounts, I guess you could say a little something called reality sets in, and things change a bit. What is interesting, however, is how mellow I’m getting about all of this. As in… I really don’t even feel that guilty anymore. In fact, the better the shortcut, the prouder I am. I think this is healthy, if not progress. Here are just a few of mine.
Intention: Do all of my shopping online. Have it all delivered, wrapped and ready to go. Be done at least a week before Christmas so I can enjoy the holiday week with my family.
Reality: I’m soooo not done. So I’m (seriously!) using CluckCluck to book my sitter, keep track of how long she is on the job, pay her via PayPal (together with a little extra for being awesome all year long), and to keep track of my kiddos while I’m running through the mall. My daughter has TONS of homework, my son has chores to do, and I just like to hear about what my little guy is doing when I’m gone. Do you have the app yet? If not, grab it here – it’s free this week (you’re welcome!)
Intention: Build exquisite gingerbread houses with my children in the shapes of the Swedish farmhouses where my great-grandparents lived. Children will enjoy themselves, while learning family history. Post to Pinterest (lots of repins!), Facebook (Likes come flooding in) and Instagram (thanks for the <3).
Reality: Only one of my three kids actually wants to build a gingerbread house. The others roll their eyes and ignore me. Nobody cares about family history. Buy “Bad Christmas Sweater” gingerbread kit at Michael’s and tell the babysitter to do it with my kid when I’m out holiday shopping so I don’t have to be there when he FREAKS because the red frosting and the green frosting get mixed and make black frosting. You can get one here should you want to follow my lead on this one.
Intention: Years ago (when I had more time and fewer children) I made “Monkey Bread” from scratch on Christmas morning. This involved waking before my children, rising yeast bread balls, multiple rounds of cooling/warming/ rising/rolling, and a Bundt pan! It filled my home with the most delicious smell and I was sure my children would remember it forever.
Reality: Ditch the “from scratch” part and just rely on our friends at Pillsbury with a “Grands Monkeybread Shortcut”. My house smells exactly the same way as it did when I made Monkey Bread, and I’m pretty sure my children have no idea that there is even a tiny bit of difference. Plus I get more sleep.
Intention: Restoration-Hardware catalog-worthy outdoor decorations. Includes wrapping all trees in beautiful lights, some kind of inspirational, culturally sensitive and religion-inclusive pastoral scene on the grass, live wreaths hung tastefully with care on the doors and windows.
Reality: No lights. Bought a wreath and a post-it removable hook at the grocery store, affixed it to front door. Othewise let the kids fill the yard with their “art” projects from school and various inflatable’s. Oh well.
Intention: Throw festive, memorable holiday party in my home. Hearth blazing, home-baked quiche and imported Italian appetizers, finally use my china. Send guests home with delicious Cooking-Network inspired craft delicacy in mason jars with hand printed labels and burlap bows.
Reality: Holiday party is on a Thursday (read: I’m working that day). I plan to hit Costco at lunch for trays of munchies, quickly transfer to platters at home (so they look like they might not be from Costco). Bring out disposable dishes. Serve lots (and lots) of wine. Hope that my girlfriends will just be happy for a chance to get together, drink some vino, and laugh off some holiday stress (it’s a pretty good crew, so I’m fairly confident it will be fine).
Intention: Thoughtful gifts for each person on my list, wrapped and shipped well in advance.
Reality: Shopping blitz after the kids go to bed on Amazon.com. Thank the heavens above for gift wrapping services and Amazon Prime 2-day shipping (Who KNEW you could 2-day-ship a drum set? Genius.). In all honesty, the one really GOOD thing I did this year was work on this early… so now I have a little extra time to work on gifts for the people on my list for whom it’s nearly impossible to pick the right gift. For that group, my go-to this year is subscription services – here are a few of my favorites (editorial note: these are actual favorites, no sponsored posting here!):
Wine Awesomeness – Curated wines, with the mix of your choice, monthly or every 3 months, along with recipes, music suggestions and “tasting notes” (so you and your friends can talk fancy about wine). I’m giving this to my hard-to-buy-for brother. Hopefully he will share.
Birchbox – I dance with delight when my Birchbox arrives every month. Beauty samples and lifestyle items (that are amazing btw!) arrive monthly. This one is a winner for your sister, mom, babysitter, YOU!
Citrus Lane – Subscription box yumminess for the littles! Toys, books, & body care products for little ones (by age!) delivered monthly.
Dollar Shave Club – I haven’t tried this myself, but I might. For $1, $6 or $9 per month, your guy gets razor blades delivered monthly in the mail. This is a fun and practical gift (why do razors cost so much at the drugstore anyway??) – and you can cancel at any time if he doesn’t like the blades.
Peachdish – Prepackaged ingredients for some of the most outstanding meals I have ever prepared, delivered weekly. I have given this as a hostess and thank-you gift, I have used this service myself, and if you have a busy mom or dad on your list that likes to cook, I HIGHLY recommend this!
Kiwi Crate – Monthly box of crafts for your kiddos. AKA a “busy box”.
Intention: Bask in the glory of the holiday season, the gathering of friends and family, the cheerful chatter of my children. Workout daily to maintain health, and keep up with yoga practice for an extra zenny buzz. Adore my husband for helping out so much around the house, and especially in the kitchen. Scratch that last one.
Reality: Seriously, relax. It’s all fine. Nobody that I love spending time with cares if I’m serving baby carrots from Costco, or if my eggnog was seasoned with artisanal nutmeg (I hate nutmeg anyway). I’m making a very serious, and intentional, effort to just go with it, do my best, and enjoy the crazy. It will be 2015 too soon anyway.
Happiest of holidays and happy shortcutting your way to a joyful December!