Laundry piles appear like colorful stalagmites strewn across floors, remains from indulgent holiday meals teeter on top of each other in the refrigerator, and unsent Christmas greetings are now destined to be new year’s greetings. Christmas has come and gone in its usual blur of activities. Have you ever noticed that during this time of the year there is never enough time? Einstein had his own theory on relativity, but here are a few of my perspectives on holiday time.
One thought is that the days are shorter. The winter solstice brings the shortest day – December 21st – and the longest night of the year. Plain and simple, there are just fewer daylight hours to get things accomplished.
But upon reflection, it seems to me this frustration with lack of time has more to do with gender. Every holiday season, in an attempt to gain control over holiday preparations, I delegate duties to my hubby. Two people can accomplish twice as much as one, right? Not so! As hard as my husband tries, he can only do about one-tenth of what I usually do. Plus, he needs direct supervision and constant reminding of his little holiday “to do” list. In all fairness, I just move faster, think ahead, don’t sleep, and most importantly, don’t watch sports on the television. I think, in general, men just don’t sweat the holiday details like women do. An example of this, my husband was in charge of putting up our exterior Christmas lights. This year only two little tiny bushes got lit and instead of searching for where he stored last year’s lights, he went out and bought new lights. This happens every year! I’m sure after he and I pass away, our kids are going to find nests of Christmas lights all over the house and in the garage! And while I’m on the subject of delegating chores out to men, why is it they always have to ask, “What needs to be done?” Can’t they just look around at the chaos and make an educated guess?
Along the same thought line, I think women tend to be the keeper of their family’s holiday spirit. That’s a lot of pressure. They set the images that will be remembered for a lifetime. They decorate the house, brainstorm for thoughtful presents, reach out to friends in correspondence and at gatherings, plan menus, and try to give back to the community. When my kids look back on the Christmases of their youth, they better have sparkles in their eyes!
Admittedly, I am a holiday overachiever. The holidays are a difficult season for me because I can easily get carried away with creative ideas. Over the years I’ve worked on becoming a more “go with the flow” holiday person. My decorations this year reflected a minimalist’s attitude and there were no visions of sugarplums dancing in my head. Next year, I vow to start my holiday preparations earlier, prioritize my creative projects, and delegate twice as much to my husband, but be more willing to accept the fact that his standard is different than mine. I have a rubber stamp that reads, “Once upon a time . . . there was more time.” That sentiment may be true, but next year I will again strive to balance my time and let myself enjoy all the wonders of the holidays.
Hope yours were merry.