I love Christmas. I love everything about it, even when the demanding schedules and self-imposed expectations occasionally send me into a momentary tailspin. The week leading up to Christmas, I feel like I could pop right open with the anticipation and joy of the whole big event.
The day arrives, and the world (or at least my living room) explodes into a frenzy of gift wrap and candy-cane-shaped M&M containers and (give-those-to-me-RIGHT-NOW-so-you-don’t-lose-them) gift cards. And socks, of course. They don’t especially have anything to do with Christmas, but where two or more of my children are gathered, there will be mismatched sock explosions in their midst.
And then it’s over.
It’s not that I feel sad that another Christmas has passed; on the contrary, I feel more and more blessed every year for my family and the sweet things we’re able to do for each other. But the wasteland of wrapping paper and un-hung stockings and toys left behind in the wake of the festivities? It’s that mess, for some reason, that slays me every year.
The kids turn the living room upside down with their new goodies, and I’m excited for them, of course. But I curl up on the couch (which has been pushed out of its rightful place to allow for the crowds) and I find myself wondering when the mom is going to show up and restore this place to some normalcy.
(Oh, that’s right. I am the mom.)
It’s this realization that gradually awakens me out of my post-holiday stupor. I roll up the sleeves of my sweatshirt (which I may or may not have been wearing for two days straight), and I enlist the help of my sugar-rushed children.
Methodically, gradually (breaking for bouts of Guitar Hero, of course), we get the trash properly stuffed in bags. The tree comes down. The angel chimes are re-wrapped in tissue paper and gently packed in the box. Invariably, as I put back the normal decorations, one or two things get an extra dusting. A couple of other things (why on earth was I saving that?) get thrown out.
Order returns, or at least it momentarily pokes its head in the door.
Every year I’m struck by this strange confluence of events. We barrel through the busiest, messiest, most expensive time of the year, with exactly one week to prepare for the start of a new year – a new year in which most of us hope to be a little less busy, messy, and spendy. Aren’t we starting out of the gate a little behind?
With this in mind, may I suggest that we just re-write the entire Western calendar? Could we move New Year’s Day to, say, February 1st? It would give us a little more time to come down off the carb high, pay off the credit card bills, throw away the wrapping paper, and (for the third year in a row) find out where the kids hid the camel from the nativity scene. Is it too much to ask? Maybe all these years I’ve been failing at my new year’s resolutions have been less about my self-discipline and more about my distraction over the missing camel. It could be.
If anyone could forward me the address of the Great Calendar Keeper Man, I’ll get right on it. Who’s with me?