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If only I had a staff of elves

Has the Christmas season driven you to therapy yet? No? Just me?

I am a bit of a nutcase this time of year anyway (see: The Christmas Party and The Local Weather Forecast of Perpetual Blah.) And even if, when I say "therapy" I mean "eating all the leftover Christmas cookies in one sitting, even if I promised to throw them out and permanently remove the word 'cookie' from my vocabulary", it's still a rough time of year.

A Few Reasons To Have A Holiday-Themed Breakdown

  • finding something to wear to my husband's office holiday party
  • cleaning the entire house for your Christmas party, only to have to clean it all over again after everyone leaves
  • trying not to eat too much cookie dough in order to fit into the dress I finally found to wear to my husband's office party
  • designing, printing and mailing 4,876 Christmas cards
  • discovering that we do not have any stamps to mail the cards, heading out specifically to buy stamps, coming home with flour and eggs and sugar to make more cookie dough, but forgetting the stamps
  • scheduling four massive present-openings to fit within two days
  • giving up and wearing a MATERNITY DRESS to my husband's office party because I could not control myself around the cookie dough

See? And all of that is before you add in the BABY.

If you have a BABY at Christmastime, especially if he is a NEW baby, even more especially if he is the ONLY baby attending the festivities, multiply your Stress Factor by the power of ten frajillion. Staying home is not an option unless you want to mortally wound the grandparents, so you and your husband must reserve an entire evening to talk strategy. Must the naps be manipulated? When will he eat? Where will he nap? How late can you stay? How much wine is appropriate with dinner? The answer to that, unfortunately, is: NOT ENOUGH.

Our Christmas Eve, a giant present opening extravaganza with my entire family, was a blast for all three of us. But blasts are totally exhausting and we were late to Christmas dinner the next day because Jack took a three hour nap. THREE. HOURS. And all he did the day before was flap his arms amidst a giant sea of wrapping paper! You can only imagine how his PARENTS felt.

One parent, in particular, had herself a minor nervous breakdown when she came home from Christmas dinner. The kitchen had not seen a sponge since November. The dining table was piled high with the Last Minute Christmas Card Chaos. There were toys, and not even the new fun toys, scattered all over the living room floor. And oh dear, thelaundry. I can't even talk about the laundry.

Does anyone else have this problem? The affliction of Can't Relax If My Relaxing Space Looks Like A Tornado Blew Through? At first I thought I would just face facts and tackle them. Start the dishwasher. Throw out the recycling. At least move the dirty clothes from the floor to the hamper. But, I reminded myself, it's CHRISTMAS. Putting things away is for December 26th. Right?

I decided not to look in the direction of the kitchen and pointedly ignored the toys and boxes and ribbons littered all over the floor. Santa had brought my husband the Transformers movie (even though Santa had staunchly refused to see it in the theaters — isn't Santa NICE?) and once the baby was asleep we fell into the couch and didn't move until Optimus Prime had saved the world. (I think. I had a glass or two of wine and while I can say with authority that wine miraculously improves movies about plastic toys from the 1980s, I'm not sure if I accurately remember the ending.)

Besides. My husband doesn't have to go back to work until the new year, so there's plenty of time to coax him into cleaning the bathrooms.

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