I don't know if this happens to you, but most years, I have a Christmas problem. I have a feeling that it's not uncommon among those who are the Makers of Christmas. I work so hard at making it nice, at making all the traditions, at making all the food and the cookies and presents and then wrapping them, that by the time Christmas actually comes, I'm some weird, exhausted mess with tape in my hair, right on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Even when things are underway, I often feel like the work I did only serves the rest of the family. Don't get me wrong, I am happy to make a beautiful Christmas for them, but early this year I wondered if there wasn't another way. A way that would mean that when the halls were decked and the candles lit and the family gathered, that I would be sitting there with them, instead of cloistered in a bedroom frantically wrapping, or in the kitchen cooking like a lunatic while they all play cards by the tree - eating gingerbread and sipping egg nog.
I did what I usually do when I want something to go better. I made a plan, and schedules, and spreadsheets and daily to-do lists. I enlisted Joe - telling him that not only did I think this was going to be good for me, but good for him too. (The promise of the possibility that he wouldn't be married to someone furious about us having the wrong candles and RUINING CHRISTMAS was a powerful motivator to him. We got organized, (Well. I got organized. Mostly Joe got even more co-operative than he usually is, which is really saying something.) and today, at 10pm, if all goes well and the planet doesn't throw us any curve balls, We will be done.
Done wrapping. Done knitting, done shopping, done cleaning, done buying - stick a fork in us people, because we are ALMOST DONE, and do you know what that means?
Who won't be frantically wrapping presents at 2am and crying because it's all been too much? Me. Who won't be throwing in a load of laundry at 10pm on Christmas Eve because there aren't enough towels for the whole family in the morning? Me. Who won't begin the journey to my mum's by screaming "WHAT DID YOU THINK "WE ARE OUT OF WRAPPING PAPER BUY MORE ON YOUR WAY HOME" MEANT JOE? WHAT DID YOU THINK IT MEANT?" Me. Who isn't going to have a single present wrapped in something weird like tin foil or napkins this year? Me. Who isn't going to be staggering through an assortment of strange convenience stores on Christmas afternoon trying to find just one godforsaken little lemon for the carrots? Me! Who isn't giving a single, solitary, for the first time ever in the history of the world, giving a present on still on the needles so that she can be teased by her family? Me.
I'd say it's a miracle, but it's not. Joe and I have busted a serious move this year, and tomorrow, everything is going to be nice. Really nice. We have been a Black Ops Christmas Lightning strike force. We've had daily State of the Union meetings, and missions and starting tomorrow, this family is having a beautiful three days together.
I know that a clean house and finished presents can't make everything perfect, and my family will still be my family, and all the regular crap will still go down - but this year, when my daughters ask me if I want to be a fourth in euchre, I won't have to tell them that I don't have time. This is the nicest change we've made in a long time. For today though, I'm going to need the focus of a Ninja. The schedule calls, the sheets need washing, the second batch of peppermint bark needs finishing (I decline to comment on the exact location or condition of the first batch of peppermint bark. Let's just say it's "missing") I've got one half hat to knit and the last round of wrapping has to be done.
Christmas Ninjas. We are them.
Gifts for Knitters, Day 23.
This is an easy one. Gift Certificates. Your local Yarn Shop has them, and your knitter would like that. Go now. They don't close for awhile.