Spreadsheeting Christmas

A quiet moment is a rare thing these days. I grab them where I can, even when they show up in unexpected places. I love the busy-ness of Christmas but my goodness, my schedule is packed. All these hours I think I will have to clean the house, set up the Christmas tree, wrap presents, watch Christmas movies…they all fill up with the signs of the season. A Christmas concert here, a movie party there. (Ok, that’s not really because of Christmas. More because I really wanted to see Narnia, which was excellent.) Tree buying, tree setting up, tree swearing-at when tree won’t just stay upright for fuck’s sake, tree kicking, toe bandaging, tree stealth needle attack – you get the idea.

My house is a mess, and there’s nowhere for my tree to go. (The tree set-up incident was at my parents’ house, where there is never any mess. Not because my parents are so fabulously tidy, although they are much tidier than me, but because they have the world’s greatest cleaning person.) My spare room is still filled with boxes, and my sister may be sleeping there tonight. I have yet to test out the new inflatable bed, so my sister may have to be the guinea pig. Sorry about that, Beth. At least we have sheets!

Presents pile up, unwrapped, disorganized. I have a spreadsheet but I don’t really feel like that’s keeping a handle on things. It is so much more complicated to hide presents when you live with your significant other. We have established territory, and he’s not allowed under the bed. I’m not entirely sure where I’m not allowed to go, so I open closets with trepidation, torn between wanting to stumble over surprises and knowing that I shouldn’t.

It’s hectic, this time of year. There’s never enough time to balance everything you want to do with everything you need to do, and juggling is inevitable. It gets more complicated over time – when I was single, I only had to worry about my own schedule, my own family, my own friends. Now Jamie and I negotiate, barter, trade, compromise, and end up with a ridiculously detail holiday schedule that looks more like a legal document than a holiday season. But we keep on muddling through, and in the end, it’s the frantic pace that makes it Christmas.

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