Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dear December

Dear December,

If August is a 'Blur', then you are a very long 'To-Do List'.  Without a doubt, starting from the end of Thanksgiving weekend each year, I begin to fret about my list.

December is supposed to be a month of warm holiday festivities.  But for most of us, it involves a lot of hurdles to jump in order to enjoy what little festivities there are, if we even have any energy left for it.  And since there are only two weeks of school, December seems especially short, making the goal of checking off all the items on my list seem all the more unattainable.

First, there is the holiday photo card, with which I have a love-hate relationship.  I love holiday greeting cards, and I always want to create a nice one of our family to send out.  This is when I go through all my pictures to realize that we don't have good enough many pictures of the four of us together.  (And this is when I make a mental note to take more family pictures next year... oh, wait, I'm having a deja vu.)  Then there's looking for the perfect pictures of the kids: ones that are not too old, too blurry, or too obnoxious.  Oh, there isn't any?  Hmm.  Whip out my camera phone when it's already days into December, force take a few of the kids, and wish on a very bright star that some will turn out okay.  All of this does not even include downloading and uploading the pictures, finding a suitable card design, ordering them, and sending them out.

Next, we always include a newsletter that highlights the events of our year.  Some people think that newsletters are impersonal, but I have always enjoyed writing them, and the recipients are at will to read it or not it does tell a nice story to go along with the card.  Last year, inundated with items on my to-do list, I enlisted DH to write the newsletter.  And if you were fortunate enough to read it last year, you'd know that DH's writing skills far exceed mine, so much so that I have officially resigned from this particular job, for good (he just doesn't know it yet).  So all I have to do to check this one off the list this year is give DH a deadline.  (Yes! as I pump my fist.)

Ever since I can remember the kids came about, I have had 'calendar duty' in December.  One year, I decided to make personalized calendars full of kids' pictures for DH's and my family, and they were such a big hit that everyone has expected them asked for them ever since.  Again, love-hate relationship.  It involves sifting through a year's worth of photos, uploading them to a vendor site, arranging each month's photos and captions just so, and having them ordered and received with enough time to send some overseas and make the Christmas deadline.  This task usually takes several sittings to even get close to being done.  But as much as I hate starting it, I end up loving the process and the end results.  Lucky for you recipients.

Let's continue.  What's the holidays without gifts?  Gift-buying is not the hard part; deciding what to buy is.  This usually involves several trips to various stores, then finally giving up on price comparison due to frustration, and resorting to shopping online.  Only to realize that I should have bought more wrapping paper at one of the trips to a physical store. 

Next on the list: mailings.  First things first: compiling the mailing list.  Find new addresses, toss old ones.  Add new friends, delete people "we once knew."  Print mailing labels.  Print newsletter.  Stuff envelopes.  Package gifts and bundle cards so that I can stand in line at the Post Office for much longer than I have time for. 

This is not even to mention hauling home and decorating a Christmas tree; baking and icing holiday sugar cookies to be given as gifts; planning and cooking Christmas dinner; helping with DD's violin practices, rehearsals, and final performance in her music school's annual holiday concert; cheering on the kids at their school holiday performances; wrapping enough Christmas presents to swear off buying so many next year (again, deja vu); and, most importantly, remembering to leave Santa Claus milk and cookies on Christmas Eve. 

Finally, there's usually always travel plans during winter break, so just thinking about packing for the trip alone is enough to make my head explode.

<Insert a deep breath here>.

Now that you're here, December, I notice that it has gotten cold.  A fresh layer of baby-powder snow greeted us this morning.  I have a feeling that you purposefully hand me a long to-do list to distract me from the inevitable arrival of freezing temperatures and snow storms.  I suppose I do appreciate that.  As for the list, as much as I begrudge the items on it, I will not let you come and go without checking off every item, because there is not a single one that I would be willing to forgo.  My list is what makes the holidays jingle.



  1. ahh yes.. the baking.. the tree.. the decorating.. the calendars.. the cards.. the newsletter! i'm going to try to get jason to write the newsletter next year.. he'd probably do a much better job than i. :-) i do wish more people would take the time to do a little written update.. but it seems to get fewer and fewer each year... it's more impersonal to send just a card! jason and i always look forward to your cards each year.. your stories are anticipated and enjoyed.. and now we have your wonderful blog too! :-) i'm at the envelope addressing stage.. so ours should be going out soon!

  2. ctj, I'm *way* behind you. I don't even have the photos picked out for the card or calendars yet!! I'm blaming it all on this blog, LOL! I was on such a great schedule last year. Well, let's hope I make the deadline. We also enjoy your newsletters, too, and we don't get very many others. Looking forward to your holiday card (and letter)!

  3. Are you living my life? I haven't started the photo calendar or the Christmas cards or the annual newsletter or ... ugh. I'm currently getting ready for bunco tonight. Can't you tell?

  4. Michelle, Well it's funny that so many people do this (or all of this) each December. Do we just like to torture ourselves or is there a greater purpose? My answer varies depending on when you ask me. .

  5. Wow. I could cut and paste 90% of this and post on my own blog if I had one. I haven't even gotten as far as picking out a picture! Is that why my Xmas cards are more like new years cards? I loved this! Thx Sandra. My entry would include working more shifts to pay it all and my friends thinking I have fallen off the face of the Earth! Sorry friends! ;)

  6. Helen, I had a feeling you were working nights again. I hope you get all your holiday stuff done. 10 more days to go... Good luck!