Well, my dear R.W. friends, we are in the home stretch. Christmas is just a few days away, which means all of our frenetic warp-10 level preparations must soon come to an end. We know the holiday is almost here, not because of the calendar, not because of the 24/7 Christmas music in every store, not even because of the number of doors open on our advent calendars. We know simply because we are reaching our annual level of exhaustion and backache.
A friend of mine heard a story on a local radio station about a study that was done regarding the value of the work an average woman puts in preparing for the holiday. I don’t have the exact figures here, but the study took in the average rates for things like event planning, baking, personal shopping, etc, and determined that if we had to pay for the efforts put in by the average R.W. in the weeks leading up to Christmas, it would value approximately $30,000. No wonder we are exhausted.
We bring it all on ourselves, of course. We know we don’t HAVE to do it all. We tell ourselves each year in January that this will be the year that we will cut corners, slow down, plan ahead more and be more relaxed for the next Christmas season. That all sounds terribly logical until we get to October or November, and those damn sugar plums start dancing in our heads. We have images of the “perfect” Christmas that we strive to create for our loved ones, no matter what our schedule, financial status, or wacky family issues dictate. This is why we spend weeks moving like some sort of crazed wind-up toy, shifting directions every few seconds to focus on something else that needs to be done.
Of course along the way we run into speed bumps. Gifts that don’t arrive, budgets that get busted, family crises that pop up. I have one BFF who’s parents just had their bank accounts compromised thanks to fraudulent credit card use so she is desperately trying to help them get back a whole lotta money. I have another BFF who’s mother’s dialysis treatment just got moved to Christmas Eve thus altering the family celebratory plans. Other R.W.’s I know are dealing with travel issues, illness and lack of time. One by one, those sugar plums are no longer dancing, but falling and shmooshing.
Yet through all of this, we will once again learn our annual, very valuable lesson. Despite ourselves, Christmas will still arrive. It will still mean time with family and friends, or maybe just finally mean some quiet time of peace. And no one but ourselves will ever notice or care that perhaps something on the To Do list didn’t get finished, or that we had to make last minute alterations to plans. Just like our pal the Grinch found out years ago, “he hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming. It came. Somehow or other ….it came just the same.”
It will be another couple of days or so before we all start to slow down, start to let go, and start to relax. Our bodies will force us to rest, even if our brains are still on overdrive. This past weekend, when I was really hoping to sleep in, I woke up at 6am and sure enough, the Christmas prep thoughts kicked in. And on this particular morning the narration in my head went something like this: “Oh, I need to remember to pick up the Pickle Gift. What should I get that would be good for anyone who wins it? Maybe a gift card… Oh geez, I still have to hide the pickle. Wait. Where IS the pickle?”
To all of you R.W.’s out there, may your brains start to shut down, and may you realize that if the Grinch couldn’t stop it, neither will we. May you remember that this season really is about joy, laughter and time together, and may you at some point, very soon, take the time to put your feet up, listen to your favorite holiday song, look at your tree, and just breathe. And may you find your pickle.
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for traveling the R.W. journey with me and continuing to read my posts and sharing your thoughts and experiences.
May you all have a Blessed and Merry Christmas.