After a restful, long-weekend break for Thanksgiving, it felt like an abrupt, somewhat shocking-to-the-system return to routines on Monday. (Some might even call it "drudgery"...particularly the Middle Schooler who had to resume the dreaded 6:45 a.m. wake-up schedule...) But a non-eventful week ensued, and everyone made it through, getting where they needed to be, completing their required tasks, keeping on top of things. (Oh--and for the younger set, that would mostly be thanks to whom? That's right: M-O-M. And for the nagging...I mean tushie-kicking reminders...um "organizational motivation", you're welcome.) Where was I? Oh yes--now it's time to flip the calendar to December (pause: aaaarghhhhh! okay, continue...) and commence with Operation Holidays. I know, already? Stick with me, elves, we've got a lot of work to do!
Several things signal the merry fa la la season for me. First, there's the arrival of Christmas music on the radio. I'm not talking about in stores, where they start running I'll Be Home for Christmas on a continuous loop immediately after stowing the Halloween costumes. And I won't mention one particular station in our area, which since the dawn of time had kicked off the musical celebration as it should be, the day after Thanksgiving, but which made the unforgivable decision a few years ago to start a week earlier. (Blasphemy! There shall be no First Noel-ing or Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, before the turkey-fest!) Anyway, next we have my family's fun annual tradition of secretly exchanging gift ideas. Imagine it as the equivalent of passing clandestine notes back and forth...only using Facebook these days. Then, of course we have the actual purchasing and wrapping (and hiding, in the case of my nosy children) of said goodies--although nowadays I try to shop mostly online, to avoid the inevitable driving and parking and dealing with the crush of frenzied humanity that typifies the December retail scene. But then you have the thrill of mysterious brown boxes showing up on your porch, so that's a bonus.
And let's not forget some of the other pleasures of this month. Festive fetes--lots of delectable food + sparkling conversation with adult friends = relaxed and happy revelers. Gingerbread lattes, which are soooo yummy they must be healthy, right? Even whipped cream doesn't count from now until January...because....er...it's cold outside, so your body burns the calories while shivering! (Yeah, that's totally what I'm going with...) And since I mentioned the abhorrent "c-word", at least at this time of year when it's nippy and the sun disappears so early, we have the twinkly lights on people's houses to brighten our long, dark nights. Speaking of which, I have my own bedazzling to do, tomorrow when I pull the stockings and other trimmings out of the storage room. The WestEnders helpers (funny, they're all MALE) will take on the extremely important and delicate job of assembling the tree. (Yeah, we've gone artificial due to allergies--so it comes out of a box each year and lacks that piney aroma, don't judge our fake greenery!) Then we'll all hang ornaments, reminiscing about the story behind each one as we add them to the branches. (Later, I'll go back and move things around when no one's looking, since the boys tend to clump their favorites together, while everything should really be evenly spaced...do you think there's a support group for Type-A decorators? Sign me up...)
Well, there you have it. Tomorrow it's "hit the ground running" to get December off to a successful --and yes, joyful--beginning. After a nice warm mug of coffee, of course...and maybe some browsing on Amazon...and picking just the right CD to inspire our efforts. So then, noon-ish is quite a decent, civilized hour to tackle one's Saturday To-Do List, don't you agree? After all, we wouldn't want to burn out all of our holiday spirit too quickly...