It’s hard to believe we’re only a month from Thanksgiving, and the upcoming holiday season! I jokingly say the entire month of December is simply one long party, since my son’s birthday is the 8th, mine’s the 19th, and my SIL’s is New Year’s Day. So add in Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and all the shopping/baking/family parties and it makes sense that I don’t get a lot of writing accomplished!
Who doesn’t love a party? I do enjoy seeing family members, since we’re all older now and I don’t get to see my cousins as often any more. One is getting married the week before T-day, so I’ll get to officially meet him, since I’ve only seen his picture on FB, and I wasn’t able to attend her bridal shower.
I also enjoy baking cookies the entire month; it makes the house smell yummy, and I think my kids’ teachers appreciate the goody bags I send to school on the last day before Break. I also have friends who appreciate a holiday bag stuffed with a loaf of banana bread and 4-5 different types of cookies:) Depending on how fast my family eats them, and how large the sacks are, sometimes there are a dozen of each type, or only six. It also depends on which friend has the largest family, ha ha!
Back when I was a young mom, and our income was much smaller, my extended family was larger, and my hubby objected to the amount of $$ I spent every Christmas, not for us, but for my parents, my sister, my aunt and uncle, my cousins, and all three sets of grandparents. To put this in perspective, his family isn’t as close as ours, and therefore family gift exchanges were non-existent. This used to stress me out, since my gifts were smaller and fewer than the other members handed out. Thankfully, we soon began drawing names….and even though I only had to buy gifts for that one person, my hubby still objected. Finally, we stopped buying gifts for the adults and focused on the young children, which to my hubby, made more sense anyway!
Another issue was our income always dropped somewhere around October. I’d buy the majority of the gifts in September, but the stocking stuffers and holiday ‘must haves’, and the cute holiday toys had to wait until after Thanksgiving. He still laughs about the year I stashed the presents all over our apartment…..and couldn’t find them when it was time to wrap them! When we moved into the house, I unearthed an entire container of Walmart bags with the kids’ stocking stuffers from the previous year. I’d hid them so well, I’d forgotten about it!
Traveling can also be a hassle when funds are limited and your families are two hours away in each direction. Add in snow and ice, and I know of at least two years where we celebrated Christmas closer to New Year’s Day.
I joined our church choir several years ago, and as a result, we would sing at Midnight on Christmas Eve, which meant I would arrive home at 1am, stuff the stockings, help Santa put the presents under the tree, and go to bed, only to be awakened five hours later! Depending on if we had to then travel that day, at least that two hour trip meant I could grab a nap in the car!
When it comes to celebrating all our birthdays, we combine mine and my son’s, when it comes to celebrating with my parents. We usually meet at a nice restaurant, then Grandma passes out gifts to both of us, or just a card with a check. When my grandparents were alive, I admit to using my birthday ‘income’ (usually around $175) to help pay for the kids’ Christmas. I lost two grandparents in 1995, one in 1998, and the last one in 2011. When my mother had health issues last year, the birthday checks arrived in the mail, courtesy of my dad.
So what about you? What’s your situation and do you find the joys outweigh the headaches? I went through a phase where I just wanted to skip the holidays altogether, but since my daughter has taken over decorating the house and putting up the tree, my ‘job’ has been to supervise the placement of the ornaments and explain the meaning behind our eclectic assortment. As my granddaughter and Teen grow older, I hope to impress upon them the history behind some of the more precious ornaments, and not simply dismiss them because they’re ‘old’. More on this probably as we get closer to Christmas, ha ha!
Tonight, I’m setting up at our First Friday Art Walk, then I have to work tomorrow, Monday, and Tuesday. Wed-Sun, I’ll be at the Indpls Christmas Gift and Hobby Show, which is my best four-day event of the year. My NaNoWriMo project this year is to finish my time-travel story, plus the ‘defending your life/angel’ story I’ve been working on for a few months now. Plus, I decided to go ahead and publish the 14th book in my Arbor U series, since #8-12 have stalled. I can always rebrand them as ‘Arbor U: The Next Generation’ or ‘Arbor U 2.0’
Have a great weekend!