Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm almost afraid to say it aloud, but – I'm finished with my Christmas shopping! This is almost unprecedented. I am one of those people who is usually still picking things up on Christmas Eve. To have all my gifts bought by December 19th – and most of them wrapped – is a shock.

To be fair, we are buying for fewer people than a few years ago. Our goddaughter grew up. Sam is beyond the age where we buy a bunch of teacher gifts. We have cut back on the wretched excess that used to characterize my exchanges with my mom and sister. Etc.

But still, this amazes me. And mildly disorients me.

We haven't sent Christmas cards since 2004, I think, and we decided to send them again this year. But then we found that we cannot locate an old address list to start with, and without that starting point the task looms too large. So we may send just a few to out-of-town people whose addresses we can easily find, and leave it at that.

Similarly, I considered stepping up to more holiday baking, since my mom and sister have become too infirm to do the amount they used to do. But the more I thought about it, the more I was convinced I would mainly only make the four residents of my house a little fatter than we already are. Oh, certainly, we would give some away. But I found it hard to believe we wouldn't eat the lion's share of them. And that just seemed like a bad idea. So I will stay with the very limited baking I have done the past few years, and I think we are all better off.

We have choir rehearsals the next two nights, then one night off before the holidays are here. And I already know what I'm wearing to the Christmas Eve Masses – yet another stressor removed. Bob and I are leading the music at the 6:30 overflow Mass in the parish hall, and then the choir does a 30-minute prelude and sings at 10:00 Mass. Christmas Day we will spend with my mom and sister, then we get a week of playtime.  I really want the season to be a time of rest and joy for all of us, not another excuse to stress out and overdo. 

Finally, we go to Bob's hometown to finish up with his family's Christmas get-together, which falls on New Year's Eve this year.  Bob's is a classic big, rollicking family, and I always LOVE Christmas with the Beasleys. It is the perfect way to end the season. We had hoped Warren could come with us for the Beasley Christmas and meet the extended family, but he was fortunate enough to get Christmas off instead.  I'm disappointed that he won't be with us, but I think some quality holiday time with his family is probably the best thing for him and thus, I'm happy even in my disappointment.

So that's what the holidays look like for us. They seem less stressful than I remember, but I suspect it's because my perspective is different than when I was younger. I am so grateful for the wonderful life we live and for the dear people who share it with me. I know that's what matters, and since I am blessed with that life and those people 365 days a year, Christmas is just icing on the cake.

Here's wishing you and yours a beautiful, blessed Christmas that features just the amount of hubub you enjoy!

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