|A staged picture of Mother, 1951|
So, here we are. Christmas Eve is eight days away. If you’re like me, you’re checking your list and perhaps drawing a line through some things that just can’t be finished in time.
I have a tendency to take on too much at Christmas – much more than I can accomplish. My expectations are way too high and then disappointment brings me low. Of course, I’m the only one who’s disappointed. No one else knows that I have . . . well, failed.
You know, so many things that seem important in the moment just aren’t in the scheme of things. My brother Chuck is fond of saying, “In a hundred years no one will even remember this.” Usually it doesn’t even take a hundred years for memory to fade.
I remember one year – I suppose I was about 15 – my mother announced on December 23 that she would have to stay up all night in order to accomplish all she wanted to do before Christmas. “Oh boy!” I said, “I’ll stay up and help you.”
At first, I had a good time. She gave me jobs to do and I did them while I watched Christmas programs on t.v. Midnight came and went. Television stations went off air, and I was miserably tired and still working away. Finally, as I went off to bed at 5:00 a.m., I wondered what on earth was so important about all that. In fact, of all the chores I performed, the only one I remember was wrapping packages at 4:00 a.m. that Santa would leave under the tree when he packed the stockings. I also remember thinking that even though I had worked steadily -- or so it seemed to me -- we were both up all night.
That’s why I tuck myself in with my Grandma Ina at Christmas. Reading of her “no skimpy Christmas here” is such a joy to me, but even she said of her festivities, “I stood it all just fine,” which says to me that meltdowns had occurred in the past. She had experienced disappointment, too.
I enjoy getting ready for Christmas, but at some point, I have to be realistic about what I can do as the time for getting ready draws to a close. So, this year I’m taking a lesson from those businesses that help us create Christmas celebrations. They work at least a year in advance.
“Why not me?” I asked myself. I, too, can work a year in advance. So, this year the passing of Christmas will simply mean that I’m getting ready for Christmas 2015.
I already like it!