Don't, under any circumstances, contract some sort of plague that causes you extreme neck discomfort for 3 weeks in December. Don't let yourself get a virus or cold. No sore throat, no fatigue, no general malaise.
Also off limits in December? Bright Ideas. Don't decide that you want to change your entire career path (one weekend at a time over what you assume will take years). Don't dream big, make wishes or, be hopeful. Don't set your sights on a goal and then spend every free minute cultivating it.
Finally, don't watch about 12 episodes of The Secret Life of the American Teenager in less than 2 days. Actually you shouldn't do this ever, not just in December. Especially not if you're 35.
Christmas should not come as a surprise to anyone. It's December 25th. Every year! And yet somehow, it snuck up on me. I kept saying that I'd buy presents another day. I'd wrap the presents I did buy another day. I'll plan a menu for Christmas dinner another day. I'll maybe send cards this year. I could even make cookies. I will clean the house! I mean, I am off on Fridays, surely I can fit in these holiday tasks.
All of a sudden, it's December 22nd. I need to wrap teacher gifts tonight since tomorrow is the last day of school before Christmas. And on Tuesday afternoon, I realized that I somehow missed the notice that school closes at 1pm tomorrow, so I don't actually have until 5pm to get stuff done child free as I thought. So my last Me Friday before the holiday was last week when I did NOT get done all the things I should have because I wasn't feeling great.
As I write this, it's Thursday night at 6:44. I knew I wanted to write a Christmas Present post for tomorrow, and I'm doing it now instead of any number of the other holiday things I should be doing. So between now and Christmas morning, I have the following items on my agenda: finish and publish this post, wrap teacher gifts, wrap Nathan's gifts, buy and wrap my husband's presents (yes, you read that right, I'm not done shopping!), buy food for the week plus Christmas dinner, including cookies for Santa, buy additional stocking stuffers for Nathan, clean the house, go to acupuncture, have lunch with a friend, have Christmas Eve dinner with other friends. I think that's it. Of course I have my husband to help me with much of this and of course I can probably give up some TV time to accomplish these tasks. And of course I should not be putting writing this ahead of the other stuff that needs doing.
I'm not as in the spirit this year as I usually am. There are a lot of factors, it was a hectic season and being ill on and off for most of it definitely made it harder. Working in an industry with a big crunch time at the end of the year is also a real mood-killer. I don't know where my John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together CD is and I really need that. And the South Park Christmas album. These are the things that get me in the mood.
Flash Forward: It's now Saturday morning, December 24. Yesterday I was up by 4:45. I ran around like a maniac, had lunch with an old friend (which on top of the great company was a great opportunity to sit down for a little while!), did most of the laundry, some of the cleaning, the rest of the shopping, most of the wrapping. I forgot to buy one of those stupid foil pans for baking the ham (roasting pan needed replacing LAST year, didn't happen), so it's back to the grocery store for me later. The whole house was up at 4 today, so there's threat of a family nap (who wants to take bets on whether or not that actually happens?). The rest of the chores need to get done today so that we can have company tomorrow and I just brewed a pot of full-caf coffee so that maybe they can.
Tonight we'll have the aforementioned dinner with friends, Nathan will get to open one gift (the joke's on him because it's jammies and a robe!) and then he will be shuffled to bed as quickly as humanly possible. Tomorrow will be a fun day for us, gifts and snacks and dinner with family. In a way, I'll be glad to have it over and get back to normalcy - a term I use loosely - but I'll also be a little sad that I'm not as into it. Who knows if next year will be any better or different, but maybe I'll actually try to plan a bit for it.
Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate. If you don't celebrate, then I wish you the happiest of holidays that you do celebrate. May the season be filled with whatever it is that makes you happy and makes it important to you. And thank you, all of you, who read this blog and encourage me. That's the best gift I could receive, for sure.
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