Friday, November 21, 2008

So it begins...

I think I've done a fairly good job of keeping the holiday stress low this year. You might remember that I kind of lose my mind between Halloween and New Years every year. So far, so good.

But it really starts this weekend. I have to get everything ready for our Thanksgiving meal, I still have no idea who is coming and who isn't (ahem). I have to start getting the house clean. And when I tried to start a little Christmas shopping, someone told me that he's "just not in the mood yet."

The mood doesn't strike this particular person until about 3 pm Christmas Eve, unfortunately, which drives me a little insane. I'd rather have all of our holiday shopping done before Thanksgiving.

The calendar is already starting to fill up for December. I know that we're going to be making at least 4 separate trips to Grammaland before Christmas, probably 5 before New Years. With two small kids, a huge dog, and a business to run, that gets a little overwhelming. Allison will, of course, be headed home for the break, too, so there goes my childcare. Thank God for the Mommy's Time Out program at preschool - I plan to do a lot between 9 and 11:30 on Wednesdays and Fridays.

It seems like we've increased our commitments exponentially this fall, between preschool and having both the girls in gymnastics, regular playdates, my work, and everything else... well, time is flying, and I'm not sure how I'm going to manage it all.

Do you other moms feel like you're responsible for everyone else and their happiness during the holidays? I sure do... I feel like if the food isn't exactly right, if the gifts aren't exactly right, then I'll ruin the holiday for someone. It's a lot of pressure. I haven't noticed this tendency in the dads I know. I'm trying to just relax and have fun, for the kids' sake, and to tell my inner Martha to go jump. They're going to remember whether Mom was a stressball or a relaxed, happy, fun person a lot more than they'll remember what they got or what they ate.

We have close friends who got married in their early 20s, and who told their families, "We aren't leaving our house on holidays - if you want to see us or the kids, you come here..." I wish I could do that. We tried one year, and everything was off. No one ended up having much fun - us included - so we're back to doing the circuit and running around like crazy people for the next month and a half.

On the one hand, we're blessed to have so many people (many of whom are reading this right now) who want to see us and spend time with us during the holidays. On the other hand, I don't think everyone always appreciates how difficult it is to do what we end up doing every year with two small kids, a big dog, and a business. (All the end of the year tax stuff? Yeah, that starts soon, too...)

I guess what I'm saying is, if I don't get you The Perfect Gift this year, don't let it ruin your holidays. If my baked goods are burnt around the edges or, God forbid, have a long curly hair in them from one of my helpers, please don't judge. Remember that I'm doing my best... And that it wouldn't kill you to come down here once in a while. Last I checked, the interstate actually did flow in both a northerly and a southerly direction.


Anonymous said...

I'd visit if I could. You sound like a superb hostess.

Heather said...

Amy, you need to tell your inner Martha to go shoot heroin - that will get her out of your way for a good long time.

I, unlike you, am a slob. Maybe not a horrible one, but still, a slob and a mooch. I have lots and lots of fun eating and praising everyone ELSE's cooking, at THEIR home and not mine. Even better, I have the kind of friends and family who a: love to host, and b: are just not formal enough to allow stress to ruin their holidays. (Except my mom, but damn, she gets uptight over every shared family dinner.)

It probably also helps that my dad's side of the family literally qualifies as a "clan", so if someone brings something spooky to the potluck dinner, you can just skip it. You're never going to have room for all fifty dishes anyway. (Seriously, I've seen smaller church congregations.)

I think it's too much to ask to have you traveling all over the gods' green earth AND host other people - when the heck are you supposed to have time to get your house ready if you're constantly on the road? With the Husban'd family down in South Carolina, we alternate years traveling, but I don't know if you have that luxury.

If you're traveling, throw some crescent rolls in the oven, wrap them in a towel in a pretty basket, and call it good. If you're hosting, throw something meat-based into the crock pot, and call it good.

If anyone is coming down, they can bring the food and gifts - you can save your presents for when you visit them.

And as for ruining someone's holiday - sweetie. Ruining a holiday usually requires either severe intoxication, hideous fighting, or revelation of shameful family secrets. Burnt cookies? You have GOT to be kidding.

Also. Anyone who is willing to be shitty and judgmental over the holidays, especially over something that trivial, does not deserve to share your company or your food. Either show them the front door, or show yourselves out - there's no rule that says the holidays have to be miserable, and you have every right to make them FUN.

Brandi said...

ohhh I think I like Heather!!!

We used to to a lot of running around every time we came home on our 30 days vacation. We would run all over like chickens with our heads cut off. The kids were grouchy, we were shitty, visits were not as pleasant as they should be. Until one year I said no more! I told everyone we were staying home for the holidays and that when we did come to Indiana we would have a few centralized locations we would gather at and it was tons more fun for everyone. Now that we are back in IN it still could be hectic if I let it. Thanksgiving we go to DJ's dads, Christmas Eve at my dads, Christmas day at our house. It works and everyone enjoys it.
While you are doing your holiday baking layer all the dry ingredients into mason jars, type up the reciepe and slap it on with some ribbon, makes great "crap I forgot a gift" gifts, lol.
Enjoy this time with the girls and BJ and the rest will fall into place!