Thursday, December 11, 2008

Past Deadline: What? Christmas is WHEN This Year?

Hey, look! Me, on the verge of annual panic! Hurray! Here is the latest "Past Deadline," published in The Perth Courier on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008.

What? Christmas is when this year?

Did they move Christmas up this year? No?


I’m not ready. I won’t even have a chance to start feeling remotely ready until the week before Christmas. Why? Work-life balance. Balance schmalance.

From about the end of October until mid-December is Silly Season for me and, ironically, it has very little to do with Christmas. For whatever reasons – planets aligning, fates a’calling, lords a-leaping (who knows?) – my work-from-home schedule goes psycho bananas. So in an effort to sort out what’s left to do between now and Dec. 25, I thought I would share my list with you.

1. Christmas cards. I haven’t sent mine out yet. The problem is I’m still waiting for my friend (former supervisor) to send me a picture of his family so I can accidentally attach it to a Christmas e-mail and send it out to a whole bunch of friends, family and clients. Just to make sure everyone is paying attention. Like last year.

2. Christmas baking. Several weeks ago Girlchild and I were on a baking spree. Every other day she would ask if we could make cookies together and I would opt for the handy-dandy peanut butter ones on the back of the Kraft jar: quick, easy and superb with some chocolate chips added. I got to thinking, if I’m going to be baking this often I should get the Christmas stuff done. I went shopping for all the ingredients: peel for the fruit cookies and real butter for Grandmom’s shortbread and ginger and icing for the gingerbread men. I told people about my clever plan, which is always a dumb thing to do because then your cleverness will never see the light of day.
Baking? What baking? Who has time for baking? Besides, my assistant has changed hobbies and has taken a fancy to making bead necklaces and paintings, which is what everyone we know will be getting for Christmas (see below).

3. Christmas gifts. For months when I’ve thought of a clever (there’s that naughty word again) gift I would write it down. Despite some feeble efforts to go shopping, mostly the list has stared at me balefully while I’ve been working like a lunatic at my desk. All I can do is stare back, count the necklaces and paintings and think, “Maybe next week.” When it comes to Christmas you can only say “Maybe next week” so many times before it’s too late, not like those diet and exercise resolutions that can be put off indefinitely despite the typical Jan. 1st start date.

4. Speaking of Jan. 1, have I mentioned how utterly freaked out I am about the Polar Bear Plunge? It’s keeping me up at night in breathless anticipation – or something. Have I mentioned I’m in the market for a wetsuit? Deep breath. Okay – back to Christmas.

5. Christmas decorations. Groom-boy, who has a light fetish, has draped sparkly luminaries over everything that isn’t moving, and the tree was set up on the weekend – hurray! Boychild waited patiently (ha!) for the Tall People to string the lights and garland while Girlchild diligently removed Every Single Ornament from its container and piled it on the couch. This got me a bit twitchy because I am Type A – I mean because I feared some of the breakable ornaments would not survive the “help” of a three year old. Fortunately I found the bag of breakables before she did.

Christmas is so relaxing.

As soon as I can remove a layer of dust and a mountain of clutter from the horizontal surfaces in my house I should be able to finish the decorating (just before the people come over). That is assuming I get that balance-schmalance thing under control.

As much as I wish I could have had more accomplished by now, Christmas is a bit like weddings – there’s only so much you can do in advance to prepare. Some of it, like putting out the deli meat at the reception or making the gravy for the turkey dinner, just has to wait.

That said, ideally I would prefer not to have to wait until Dec. 24 to get things finished.

At least I have until Jan. 1 to get the wetsuit.

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