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11 Ways I’m Failing This Christmas

Erin Zammett Ruddy

Every year I say this Christmas is going to be different and I will be organized and ahead of the game and have everything accomplished by December 15th. And every year…it doesn’t happen.

Don’t get me wrong, we are in decent enough shape. Our house looks nice and Christmasy, the carols have been pumping and the kids are still feeling very magical. But from my perfectionist perspective, it’s beginning to look a lot like…panic mode. I know we are lucky beyond words this season and that the fact that my family is together and happy and healthy is all that matters. I also know that none of the stuff on the list below is important in the grand scheme. That said, I can’t be the only one who woke up this morning thinking “how the $@&#! is Christmas three days away?” And so for anyone else feeling a little overwhelmed and behind and frazzled today, I give you my list of tis-the-season shortcomings. Hope this makes you feel better!

1. I just sent out Christmas cards yesterday, only I way underestimated my list and didn’t order enough. So I took back the cards I’d sent to my sisters’ and my parents and sent those out but there are still friends and family who won’t get one. And considering how long I hemmed and hawed to make the card perfect, this really bums me out.

2. I haven’t finished shopping. At all. Seriously, this is not a joke. I have ordered a lot of things and there are tons of boxes in my office waiting to be cracked so I’m hoping there’s good stuff in there. I can’t remember at this point. I’m at least hoping Al’s violin is in there and maybe the wallet Nick asked for though that’s probably not going to happen since I never actually ordered it—d’oh!

3. I am simultaneously overspending and under-spending, and both make me uncomfortable. My knee-jerk reaction to not being prepared is to overspend on certain people to make up for my lack of creative thought. On the flipside, when I feel backed into a corner by the epic list of to-buys, I do a little “it’s ridiculous to be spending all this money” rant and start cutting back.

4. We haven’t taken our kids to sit on Santa’s lap yet. We decided we'd go tonight except tonight is the Friday before Christmas and driving all the way up to the mall just sounds awful. So this will likely remain on my to-do list through the weekend.

5. Two words: Wine consumption. It’s not that I’m overdoing, it it’s just that I’m not not doing it. Every day I think eh, I’m not gonna have any wine tonight and then every night, well, my mind is changed.

6. My housekeeping skills have gone to the dumps—literally. My friend brought a beautiful caramel tart to our Christmas party last weekend. It was delicious and there was some leftover, which Nick and I nibbled on for days. When it came time to toss what was left, the caramel was so caked onto my Christmas platter that I just dumped the whole thing in the trash. It wasn’t a super nice platter or anything special but it was still beyond wasteful...(and I didn’t recycle it, which makes me feel awful). Also: There is something sticky on my dining room floor and I keep stepping over it instead of cleaning it up.

7. Alex’s Christmas cordoroys don’t fit him. The length is perfect but he’s been blessed with my shape—thin arms and legs, big belly. I don’t care enough to take them back, which means he will probably be popping a button during Christmas morning mass.

8. My kids have eaten pizza and mac and cheese more nights than I care to count this week. Also: candy canes, peppermint bark, chocolate-covered pretzels, gingerbread houses, gingerbread men, and lots and lots of gelt.

9. My elf of the shelf skills suck. I can’t decide if this deserves a plus or a minus on my mom scorecard.

10. There are still two boxes of “Christmas stuff” hidden somewhere in my garage that I haven’t found yet. I’m thinking/hoping it’s stuff I don’t care about because I can’t quite figure out what we’re missing but I’m sure I’ll discover post-Christmas that they're full of things I’ve recently re-bought because I didn’t think we had.

11. I just sent Alex to school with his teacher’s gift—including a fragile glass ornament—in his backpack because I wasn’t sure how else to get it to her. What are the chances this will make it to her in one piece?

OK, the list goes on but I need to stop writing so I can go accomplish some things and right the Christmas ship. I hope all of you are doing well and enjoying and not stressing about any perceived (or, um, real) shortcomings. But if you are, please share them here so I don’t feel so bad! Happy Friday, Happy Weekend, Happy Holidays!