Lifestyles: Getting Ready For Christmas
Without the Hassle
Margaret B. Davidson
last years holiday season -- barely. January 2nd found me
frazzled, five pounds heavier, and no longer on speaking terms with
Aunt Ritas entire family. Exhausted, Id slumped into
a chair and listlessly thumbed through the November issue of Better
Hmm, "Ten Ideas for Remaining Stress-Free Throughout the Holidays
Season." A bit late for that.
to the next page I found, "Fifty Ways to Slim Down Without Feeling
Hungry." Yeah, right. Still, I tore the leaf from the magazine
and attached it to the refrigerator door with a pink plastic magnet
in the shape of a pig.
Many months later I admitted to myself that "Fifty Ways to Slim
Down Without Feeling Hungry" was more annoying than inspiring.
About to throw the offending article into the trash, I turned it over
and once more encountered the instructions for remaining sane during
the holidays. I read them.
As suggested in Phase I, I made lists: lists of cards; lists of gifts;
lists of things to do; lists of when to do them. I made lists of when
to make lists. Was this really I, being this organized? Was this really
I, feeling so in control?
I proceeded to Phase II. Fortunately Id plenty of unused Christmas
cards. In past years Id never been organized enough to know how
many Id need so had always overbought. I had cards that were printed
in 1966, but who was going to turn one over and inspect the back? I
spent September writing cards -- and stuffed none of the envelopes with
those irritating brag sheets either. No, real individualized notes were
written painstakingly inside each and every card. And I enjoyed the
process. Sure I did. Well, it was better than having to finish up writing
Christmas cards in January like usually happened. Wasnt it?
Next the gift shopping -- all completed by the end of October. Wonderful.
Bargains galore, and no crowds to contend with. Heck, not even any Christmas
decorations in evidence yet. Just ghosts and goblins for Halloween.
Holiday recipes selected, arranged in order of when needed. Schedule
of when to cook what: fruitcakes in November; cookies beginning of December
to be stored in freezer. Party invitations all accepted and neatly
written on calendar. Mustnt miss any that would show poor
Christmas spirit. Allot one hour for each open house, and two hours,
three max, for a dinner party.
Now its the middle of December and Im done with it all,
still with time to spare.
But whats wrong?
Im depressed is whats wrong.
Everything organized, no last minute panic, no wondering what to cook,
what to wear. Nothing. Nothing at all. The hassle isnt here this
year. Unfortunately neither is the Christmas spirit.
And Ive just discovered Ive gone and mailed Aunt Ritas
Christmas card. Trouble is, Aunt Rita died in November, and I forgot
to remove her card from the to be mailed pile. Ill
explain to her family about how I wrote all the cards in September,
but I doubt theyll understand. Especially the part where I inquire
as to the state of Aunt Ritas health.
B. Davidson October 2003
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