Holiday mantra: “Good Enough is the New Perfect”
I flipped the page on the calendar last night and made mental holiday deadlines. I don't think it's just the reporter in me that makes me do this. I think a lot of moms count the number of weekends left before Christmas and contemplate how they're going to get it all done.
How did Christmas get so stressful? As the cards start flowing in with their nice sentiments and perfect penmanship, I start thinking that everyone is doing Christmas better than me. Just today one of the preschool moms was saying that she already had all of her Christmas shopping done. What? Oy.
I've learned the last few years that I have to have a running start, beginning Dec. 1.
This year, we're lucky enough to have four weekends before the big day. My plan looks like this:
Dec. 1-2, Bake cookies and freeze.
I did this last year and it really worked out well for me. Cookies, the whole baking experience with the boys and the fanciness, is pretty fun especially when you're not pressed for time. I usually stick with only 3 recipes — two tried-and-true plus one experiment. Sugar cut-outs and thumbprints made from my homemade mulberry freezer jelly are on the menu. The experiment is to be determined. That should yield about 6-8 dozen cookies depending on their size. It's perfect for our needs and even leaves some for Santa.
Dec. 8-9, The Tree and all the decorations.
We've been cutting a live tree the past few years and now it's a family tradition our children look forward to. If we get our car back in time (Don't even get me started!), then I think we may give the Covered Bridge Ranch tree-cutting farm in Montrose a try. After you say MONTROSE?, I'll say "yeah, why not?" Afterall, it's the experience of cutting the tree that we're paying for. The hayrides, the kids' activities, the hot apple cider, all add to this tree-cutting experience. It's family time well spent if you ask me.
Dec. 15-16, Christmas shopping.
This will be a one-day trip to every store in the town with my handy-dandy super assistant Julie, and a day for wrapping. Last year my boys cheated and found the present stash. I vowed to them they wouldn't see a single gift under the tree this year until Christmas Eve and I'm sticking to it.
Dec. 22-23 Guests and more baking.
I promised I'd be holiday hostess this year. You think I'd be stressed, but I'm not. I'll have some immediate baking to do of pie and breads, but the rest would be left for Christmas morning. I also know that there will be plenty of family willing to help.
Good plan right? Well, I failed to mention all the stuff in between and that's where it starts to overwhelm me. There's this job I have with its own deadlines. Holiday parties and Christmas programs. Angel choirs and special friends. Christmas cards and school pictures. Secret Santas and white elephant gifts. Letters to Santa. Light parades.
Perfectly timed, I got an email today listing ideas to help busy moms like me keep it together over the holidays. Best-selling author Jennifer Ford Berry says first and foremost to remember that "Good Enough is the New Perfect."
That's gonna be my mantra throughout the entire month of December. It fits with my Gen X lazitude and justifies anything that might suck.
- Making a plan and stick to it (check sistah!),
- Remember to weigh experience vs. gifts, (Oh Yeah!). "How can you bring back the true meaning of the holidays. Ideas…shouldn’t be about money and point out how advertisers are the ones that make you feel this way," Berry said.
- Keep in mind the true reason you're entertaining. Which is to say keep your holiday menu simple because you don't get extra points for being the busiest hostess, she said. I take this just one step further, in that, I've already established the rule that Christmas breakfast is EASY because there is no way in heck I'm missing out on watching my boys open and play with their new toys.
- Don't be afraid to use gift bags. (I feel like we should high-five right here.)
- Let go of the "It's a Wonderful Life" image of the perfect Christmas. Setting unrealistic expectations will only lead to disappointment.
You can find more tips on organizing EVERYTHING at Berry's website, www.jenniferfordberry.com.