Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The 12 Weeks of Christmas

I know what you might be thinking, "Did she just mention Christmas? Is she seriously going to launch into some Christmas-related post?" The answer is yes. Yes, I am. But before you abandon ship and click away to visit a non-Christmas post on a different blog, allow me to explain.

I love Christmas. I mean, I LOVE it. Always have for as long as I can recall. And every year since entering adulthood/parenthood, I have vowed to experience a leisurely, relaxed-pace, mostly handmade, tradition-filled holiday. I usually end up filling the pre-Christmas weeks with heavily exasperated sighs, rushing and running around like a madwoman, spending too much buying what I would have made myself-- if I had more time. As my husband pointed out to me last year, "You know what day Christmas is. It never changes. Why are you always caught off-guard with too much to do and too little time?" This coming from the man whose wife chooses and buys/makes gifts for his family as well as her own, I might add (snarkily). So, of course, the holiday crunch doesn't quite hit him as hard as it does me. However, I digress...

So in January of this year, I joined the Rudolph Club (online group whose members take the 25th of each month to do some Christmas-related task, thus spreading it out over the entire year instead of cramming it all in at the last minute). I participated in January and, well, just January. Yep, one month in and I ran out of Rudolph steam. Pathetic, I know.

Part of the problem for me is that I cannot find the will to do Christmas stuff when the weather doesn't cooperate. Sewing a Christmas stocking while sweat dots my brow just does not compute. I need cloudy, gray, chilly days in order to "do" Christmas. We don't see a lot of those days from April through October.

However, I have found that if I dress lightly and work at night (when I can't see all the lush green-ness outside my door) with the air conditioning cranking, I can coax myself into finding a bit of Christmas spirit. Cup of cocoa and lots of mini-marshmallows required, of course. And Christmas music. Obviously. My Christmas music collection is always at my fingertips because I have been known to listen to it at odd times of the year. When we were little, my sister and I would listen to our Christmas records (records--am I dating myself here??) in the middle of summer. My Mom's only rule was that we had to turn the music off before my Dad came home from work. My Dad is not a huge fan of Christmas music at Christmastime, let alone on a day in mid-July.

So, with September fast approaching (scratch that -- September is HERE!), I thought I would fully commit to my idea of the 12 weeks of Christmas. Why 12 weeks? Well, in the perfect world that exists in my dreams, I am finished with all the heavy Christmas preparations by December 1st. This way, I can wile away the three weeks before Christmas doing the light and fun stuff: baking cookies, watching Christmas movies, nightly walks to look at the Christmas lights, ice skating, sledding, reading Christmas books, gazing at the decorated tree, etc. I'd rather not be wrapping and shipping presents, writing out Christmas cards, scrambling to find that last-minute gift, coming up with holiday menu plans, fighting my way through the baking aisle of the grocery store, or frantically sewing (and, thus, using my seam-ripper because of said frantic sewing) late into the night.

September, October, and November = 12 weeks. For me, a little accountability goes a long way. Therefore, I will be sharing my progress here on a weekly basis. Stay tuned (and join me if you'd like! I'd love to hear ideas from others out there!).

*Edited to add: Before publishing this post, I googled "12 weeks of Christmas" and found that I am not alone. Several others are trying to get a jumpstart on the holidays as well. Nice to know I'm in good company. Go forth and plan!

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