Thanksgiving is over and we have had a quiet period in which to prepare for the next big holiday. Because Thanksgiving was so late this year, we now have only 3 weekends of shopping before the big day.
Though I didn’t host Thanksgiving this year, I am hosting Christmas and I may have bitten off more than I can chew. If everyone who is invited comes, I will have 17 people over for Christmas. I can already feely my anxiety kicking in.
If you are like me, you envision Christmas to be perfect with great food, wine, family and friends. I picture my house completely clean (ignoring the fact that we have a Newfoundland at home), decorated like Macy’s and filled to the brim with laughing people and the sound of Christmas music. A perfect tree sits in the corner with all color coordinated ornaments (forgetting the fact that I have two cats, one of which is a deaf kitten with absolutely no fear of heights and a love of anything dangly or twinkly). Under the tree are beautifully wrapped presents, color coordinated to match the tree (insert cats here, again and add curious hound dog). Homemade decorations and table settings to rival anything Martha Stewart could dish out would round out the décor. Sounds perfect, right?
Now reality sets in. On top of everything else I usually have to do, you know work for living and all, I now have to shop for a tree (I have an artificial pre-lit tree in the attic, but have been out voted this year), buy, wrap and even ship presents, and cook for a potluck at work. On top of Christmas, we also have my boyfriend’s birthday and our anniversary this month. And all this must get done in 3 weeks!
So how, you may ask, am I going to accomplish all this? Well, I will not lie to you and say it will be easy. In fact, I foresee some yelling and arguing along the way. My goal is to make it as painless as possible without taking on all the work myself.
I am lucky in that my family doesn’t require a big formal meal for Christmas. We always go potluck. So this year, to try and make things fun, I am setting a challenge. Each family can bring a dish they would normally bring for Christmas, you know, that one thing they are famous for and everyone looks forward to? And then they have to make one item they have never tried before. The rest of us get to be the Guiney pigs so-to-speak. No one gives away what the “new” item will be, they just need to let me know what category it would fall under. That way we make sure we have enough appetizers, main dishes and desserts to go around.
We’re not big on presents, either, which is something I like about my family. There’s no stress in trying to outdo the year before or making sure you spend the same amount on everyone. We agreed that presents would be bought only for those under 18, which works just fine for me. It saves time, money and a ton of stress. It’s not like anyone goes without and our gift to each other is bringing a home cooked dish to share.
My house is still what I call “under construction.” We have throw rugs on top of plywood floors in some rooms and our living room furniture should be burned. But that’s okay. I’d like to think that my family has captured the true meaning of Christmas, where everyone gets together to enjoy good food and good company.