Amid the pain and panic, a pinch of satisfaction

Paula Tessier
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How the heck did this happen? It’s like we completely forgot about the mind-blowing madness exactly one year ago. And the year before that. And the 20 before that!

Here we are, but a flick away from the big day, with very little time left, and once again, there is so much to be done.

I recall last year very clearly. There was a vow, a pledge, a promise, to never, under any circumstances, let this happen again. It wasn’t enjoyable, all the last-minute, panic-stricken scrambling and bouncing from store to store. If you saw something on the news about an unidentifiable streak zipping around in the metro area, well that was probably me.

This is a magical time of year, but because of work schedules and other commitments, it’s very challenging to take the necessary time to fully enjoy it. Like many, I am happy to have a few days off between Christmas and New Year’s, but am usually so zonked from the last-minute scramble, it’s difficult to fully appreciate it.

Back to the vow of making this year different: I have always been up to my neck in Scotch Tape and rolls of paper the night before Christmas Eve.

That would actually be an improvement, because there was a time when the wrapping bedlam happened when we got the kids to bed on Christmas Eve itself.

Not sensible! And it was particularly hard to accept that in just a few short hours, all my hard work would be crumpled up and crammed into a recycling bag. I always started off so cautiously, curling ribbons, adding bows, matching gift tags with the wrapping paper.

By the end of it, though, it was a bonus to not have to match up ends of odd paper to wrap one gift, and there may have been times when black electrical tape was used to close the last of the paper seams.

Back to the vow: like all other years before, there hardly seemed time to breathe leading up to the month of December.

Then we blinked and suddenly this month had reached the halfway mark. Seriously? I still had yet to make a list, much less check it twice.

But things are about to be very different. Well, not exactly “very” different — one must walk before one can run, after all — but changes were about to transpire.

Now I’m not one of those people who can boast that all my shopping is done, wrapped, with packages in the mail, in November.

Certainly not one of those people who has the tree up and house decorated early in the month. Heck, I’m lucky if I have the house half-cleaned at the beginning of December, much less twinkling and festive.

So, once the first week passed and our house was still quite plain, it was time to make a move. With our busy lives not slowing down, I forced the brakes a little myself. In an unprecedented move, a vacation day was scheduled, a day to break out the boxes and get ’er done. Well, the night before the men in our house lugged out the boxes, I simply unpacked and accessorized.

By the end of the day, our house was indeed looking the part, and while sore and stiff were easily standing out as my predominant feelings, I suppressed them (with Advil and a heating pad) and allowed myself to feel, oh yes … satisfied.

Well, here’s the problem with satisfaction; you kind of forget that there’s so much more to do.

So, last week, to hubby’s complete dismay, we hit the stores. The intention is to have everything not only done, but wrapped and ready, nearly a full week before the big day.

I love the magic of Christmas, love having the time to truly appreciate it, and love being rested enough to actually be awake for it. That way, I can appreciate one of the best gifts of all, the gift of time with my family and friends.

Email Paula Tessier


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