Sunday, December 2, 2007

Why I'm Exhausted by the Holiday Season--Part 1

Just wanted to give you an update on the weekend. Not that you probably care very much how I spent my time, unless there was some cardmaking involved (and there was, so hang on or skip to the pictures), but I offer this treatise on why the holidays exhaust me.

I started yesterday at 5am, because I worked the opening shift at Starbucks, and I have to be there at 6 to get all the pastries on their trays. (The shift supervisor makes the coffee, in case you're wondering.) I worked 6 hours and drove home.

Once I arrived home, I joined work that had begun in earnest the night before and had continued in my absence to get our house cleaned and decorated (inside AND out--i.e. lights on the bushes and eaves) for the 12 progressive dinner guests who were progressing to our place at 7 for the main course. Why I glibly volunteered to host this I'm not sure, but obviously I did so because I thought I could handle it. How hard could it be? It wasn't hard, but I didn't factor in all the non-food prep related work involved in agreeing to host! In the middle of the prep, which tremendous stupendous most fabulous husband did a TON of (including washing the floors in strategic spots)before I got home from working, things seemed in hand, so I snuck off to the craft room to embark on a small project: making these mini notebooks as a sort of favor for the ladies who were participating in the evening.

Beautiful, aren't they? I certainly thought so as they came together over the course of 2 hours. More on those later.

I left these on my desk about 5 to make the main side dish for our main course, which was beef tenderloin. Bob was in charge of the meat, and it was FABULOUS!! I am not a big fan of beef, but this was so tender and moist, it was amazing. The side dish went together smoothly, I trimmed the asparagus while Bob sauted the mushrooms, I warmed the gravy, and we pulled the meat from the oven in the nick of time (another story).

The basement looked like this after I'd lit the candles, so I went to shower with 15 min. to go before the guests were due to arrive from the first house.

Everything went off without a hitch--even the asparagus was perfectly cooked!--and everyone complimented us on our home and our efforts on the meal. Everyone brought their dishes upstairs, I loaded them in the dishwasher, and happily trotted next door for dessert.

It wasn't until around midnight, when I was finishing up washing the last of the pots and pans, that I realized that the notebooks I'd made were still sitting on my craft table.

I was so bummed! I'd spent two hours working on them, creating cool details like the controlled glitter and embossed snowflakes.

This is why the holidays exhaust me. We go to all the effort to get the decorations in place, to present a perfectly picked up home, to make cookies for the neighbors, to serve at a shelter, to send Christmas cards, to buy and wrap gifts, etc. ad infinitum. WHY? So that we can prove how insane we are, how proud we are of our ability to work ourselves silly?

I went to all that effort because I wanted to bless these ladies with a little handcrafted nicety from me, and because I exhausted and distracted, they got lost in the shuffle. I want to find a way to do less this Christmas, because LESS IS MORE. I didn't do that yesterday, and something I really wanted to make happen didn't. I don't want that to happen the rest of this month, so I'm going to make a concerted effort to focus on what's really important and let some other things go.

Now I have to decide if I should try to deliver the notebooks or not. Would I just explain in a note what they were originally intended for? I'm overthinking this, probably, which is why I am off to nap now. If you've read all the way to this point, I want to hear from you. What should I do to do LESS this Christmas? What are YOU going to do so that the frenzy doesn't consume your special season?


NC said...

Hey Jenn!
If you can get them delivered without going to a whole lot of trouble, then deliver them. You can always just say that they are "thank you" gifts for a wonderful evening.

as for doing less ... I am a gift giver by nature and I tend to over give, which as you know, requires excessive planning and worrying, LOL! I've decided to scale back this year, and I really had to streamline and prioritize my list - some people require larger gifts, some will receive a tiny treat from the kitchen (all the same gift), and others will get a heartfelt note in a card. I have a master list with names and exactly what I plan to do. Sometimes it helps me just to see in on paper.

Pace yourself, and don't set your expectations too, too high.

Nicole :D

sandra said...

It is a couple of years now that I start with the holiday very early, at least with the gifts and the cards (by Thanksgiving all the major gifts have already been bought and they are ready to be wrapped). Few little left, so that I don't get overwelemd and I also try to think that these Holidays are for the family, so I keep it on a close circle of people (it probably helps that my family is so far away that we do not ship gifts-too expensive.)
A Xmas card, a note, and remember that it is the thought that counts!!!