I heard that question the first time this year on the day after Thanksgiving. What question you ask? Oh, you know the one. The one people greet you with whenever they see you during the month of December. Yep, that’s the one . . . “Are you ready for Christmas?”
This year I’m taking a stand and just saying NO. I’m not ready for Christmas, and I’m okay with that. Nowhere is it written in the Christmas rulebook that you have to be done with all of your preparations by the first of December.
In fact, I’d argue that you actually have until December 24th to get it all done. Am I jealous of all of those people that are totally finished early in the month of December? OF COURSE I AM! But, I’m simply not going to be done with all of my holiday preparations until Christmas Eve. It’s not going to happen.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done a few things already. Our tree is up, the stockings have been hung, the nativity scenes are out. We’ve shopped, given, spent time with family and friends, worshiped, and have enjoyed some of our favorite holiday traditions. We’ve been to holiday parties and programs, and we’ve even had snow! That being said, there are still a few things that I can openly admit I haven’t done yet. If I’m going to fess up to being unprepared for the holiday season, it’s only fair that I tell you how:
1. All of my Christmas shopping is not done. There, I said it. I have made a written list, and I’m steadily marking things off of it, but I still have about half way to go. Don’t have a panic attack. It will be fine. My children will be no worse for the wear come Christmas morning.
2. Our Christmas cards have not been stuffed, addressed, stamped, sealed, or mailed. The fact that they’ve been printed is pretty good as far as I’m concerned!
3. My outdoor decorations have not been put up. This one is simply not my fault! How was I to know it was going to be freezing cold in Alabama for the first time ever in the month of December? No self-respecting Southern girl can get out in that to put up lights!
4. There are no presents wrapped under my tree. Well, that’s sort of a lie. There are wrapped boxes under our tree, but there is nothing inside of them. A few years back, my children were sad that our tree didn’t have any gifts under it like their friends on the first of December. I took care of that problem and wrapped a bunch of empty food boxes. Now every year I put our pretend presents under the tree until I get the real gifts wrapped and ready!
5. I missed the deadline and didn’t get to turn in our Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. We have always gotten our family boxes in on time, but I feel certain they moved the due date up a week this year! Luckily, I found out that we can still build a box online, so it’s not too late for us (or you!). We have donated and given to other people and causes this season, but this is one ministry that is a must give for us each and every year.
6. My kids do not have any Christmas outfits. None that fit anyway. I can’t help it that Target stopped selling holiday shirts and put out their bathing suits! They must not have gotten the memo that we are currently under a freeze warning and have been since Thanksgiving!
7. My Christmas music collection is in the same place it was when I put it away last year! The only Christmas CD I’ve listened to so far this year is the one I bought the day after Thanksgiving. It’s a good one, but I need to get all of my classics out to enjoy. That John Denver and the Muppets CD is just waiting to be heard!
8. We haven’t driven around town looking at Christmas lights. Well, we did go to Starry Nights over Thanksgiving in Memphis and that was spectacular! But, we have yet to drive around our town to see what our friends and neighbors have put out for our holiday enjoyment.
9. Of my four children, only one has a clean room. That’s right, and she is only two, and I basically keep it clean for her! Before Christmas Eve, we’ll be going through each of their rooms and deciding what they want to keep, what needs to be thrown away, and what they want to donate. Unless they want coal in their stockings, then they are going to have clean rooms and give to those in need. I know this is a self-imposed chore that I have made up for my kids. But I think it is important that they are as actively involved in giving as they are in receiving during the holidays.
10. I have not made any special food yet for the holiday season. Nothing! Well, unless you count the beer I helped my husband brew last weekend (which I don’t), then really no holiday food has been prepared in my kitchen. And we’re less than two weeks away from Christmas! My grandmother’s egg nog pound cake is my all time favorite, and I will be sure to make that a few times before Christmas. And we always have to make some cookies for Santa. And decorate a gingerbread house or two. Just writing about it has gotten me motivated to cook something!
My list could go on, but you get the idea. My answer to the question is NO. I’m not ready for Christmas. I’m not worried though. It will all get done, just like it does every year. In fact, I almost prefer using the whole month to prepare. It keeps me in the Christmas spirit until the very last moment. Now, if only I could train our elf-on-a-shelf to actually work instead of just making messes then I’d be in business!
P.S. If this post has stressed you out, then you need to read my Holiday Stress Busters. It might help calm you down. Maybe.