All I Want for Christmas is Balance

Christmas is less than one week away. (Sorry if you are suddenly filled with panic from this reality check.)

Last year, at this time, my partner and I were pretty depressed. We had been ignoring the Christmas tree my mother had bought us while she had visited for Thanksgiving. It wasn’t that we didn’t want the tree. We asked my mother to buy us the tree as a gift. It was just that the tree didn’t really fit with the rest of our Christmas season.

We had put the tree in the hallway and kept watering it. There were no presents. My mom had sent us slippers sometime in December and we left them in the package that they were mailed in; They were the closest things we had to Christmas gifts.

To paint an even more pathetic picture, our heater went out last year and didn’t get fixed for weeks so we had to stay huddled around a space heater to stay warm. (True story.)

We never bothered to decorate the tree. We left it naked for all of December, just sitting in the hallway. On New Year’s Eve, we finally took it outside, cut off all the branches and shoved it, piece by piece, into the Green Waste bin.

It is amazing how much can change in a year.

Yesterday, I worked a 15-hour day. When I got to the office, the sun hadn’t risen. And when I left, the sun had already set. I’m working two jobs now—three, if you count my gig as the quiz-master at Wednesday night trivia at our local pub.

This Christmas season has been a whirlwind. I haven’t watched a single holiday film.

I was so excited that we could actually afford to give gifts this year. I ordered a few things from online stores back in early November. I started shopping locally when most of the stores still had their Halloween decorations up. I had my Christmas shopping done by December 3rd.

This year, I bought presents for my family and ten different packs of holiday cards the week before Thanksgiving. We bought a tree and decorated it. We had the house all decked out by November 28th. I laid an adorable lumberjack-plaid table cloth on our kitchen table.

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Since then, I’ve written about seven holiday cards and I’ve wrapped zero gifts.

And when I say I’ve written about seven holiday cards, what I really mean is that I’ve written three. And when I say that I’ve wrapped zero gifts, what I actually mean is that there is at least one entire bag of gifts hidden somewhere in my house and I can’t remember what I did with it.

I’ve had friends call me who are visiting for the holidays from the East Coast to ask if we could get together for dinner. My responses have ranged from “no” to “would you be willing to drink eggnog in my kitchen while I wrap gifts”?

I put out tape and paper on Saturday last weekend and got called into the office. I have left my supplies on the kitchen table all week. I can’t remember the last time that I cooked a meal at home. I can’t remember the last time I checked the mail. I can’t remember the last time I took a bath. I’m just glad that my washer and dryer are willing to work nights.

I can’t wait for Christmas day. I can’t wait to give presents. I can’t wait to hang out with my friends and family. I can’t wait for time.

Last year, I had time but no money. This year I have money but no time.

Next year, I’m hoping to have balance.