Every year, as soon as Christmas Day is done, I begin thinking about what I wasn't able to accomplish rather than what successes I enjoyed. Then I vow to decorate and shop earlier, choose recipes sooner, and gather baking supplies long before the big day arrives. I also promise myself I will thoroughly enjoy the season, but every year, I fall short of my goals.
For most of my adult life I've entertained the notion Christmas decorating should be done after Thanksgiving. Since I've always waited until then to begin thinking about my own Christmas, I've often felt rushed to get out decorations, plus, I've shortchanged my baking and shopping plans and ended up feeling humbuggish instead of joyous by the time Christmas arrived. I intend to change that.
I do hereby make, publish, and declare this to be my Will and Testament, hereby expressly revoking all wills and codicils heretofore made by me:
I WILL . . . reject the notion Thanksgiving must be observed before any Christmas plans can be made.
I WILL . . . cease trying to do all things and be all things to all people during the holiday season.
I WILL . . . send Christmas cards to only my closest and dearest friends and family members. I will donate the money I would have spent on cards and postage to a local food bank and/or animal shelter.
I WILL . . . request help from my spouse or other family members instead of taking all the holiday planning upon myself, then feeling resentful I had it all to do.
I WILL . . . begin to prepare for Christmas whenever the spirit of the season nudges me to do so - even if that's in July.
I WILL . . . limit my holiday baking to a few things I truly enjoy making instead of trying to outshine my Aunt Martha from seasons long past.
I WILL . . . list the various shops, displays, or towns I want to see before Christmas and make every effort to visit them.
I WILL . . . downsize my expectations of what Christmas "should" be and embrace the reality of what Christmas actually is, not what it used to be when I was a child.
I WILL . . . make every effort to get enough rest, sing enough carols, and offer enough good wishes, so my Christmas season will be something to enjoy, not simply endure.
How will all these things be accomplished? I'll take them one by one and share some ideas I have about how any of us might make our holiday seasons brighter, less stressful, and more joyous. Stay tuned . . .