“Down, girl,” I thought to myself as I sweated through the summer heat. “This is much too early.”
Manhandling the first thrills back into their red and green closet, I headed out to the lake.
The next attack came in mid-September as school children returned to Academia. A smile broke out across my face. It was still much too early, but it was fall and thus a step closer.
As winter crept into the late autumn air I felt I would explode with anticipation. It was coming. Another season of carols, TV specials, twinkling lights, broad grins, merry words and goodwill toward man.
Finally, the season of cheer is here.
How can you contain yourselves? Every day is a festival. Do you think me ridiculous? Well, I am, but not because I am so in love with this time of year. How can I refrain from responding to the happiness warming my heart even as the cold bites my nose?
Nov. 29 marks the beginning of a race. Or rather, last-minute preparations for the 25-day-long race. It’s like the Jolly Santa 400 or something. People are going to lose their minds. Bows will roll.
Whereas I spin faster and faster in my own torrent of gleeful emotions, other people are stressing. There are wish lists to make! Gifts to buy! Photos to be taken with Santa! Shindigs to attend! Parties to host! Ugly Christmas sweaters to find! Shelf Elves to hide!
“Delaney,” the world seems to scream, “don’t you realize there are things to be done?”
Well just call me Mary, because I think this time of year is much too fun to waste on silly stress. It only comes once a year and its gift is not a heart attack — unless said heart attack is from too much holiday cheer.
So all you Marthas, what is up?
Stop to smell the sugar cookies and enjoy the Christmas lights. That is a holiday order, Martha.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I will admit my one holiday stress: last-minute gift purchases. I know, I know — I have a whole year! Why would I wait until the last minute when mall crowds are in full force?
I digressed a little bit, didn’t I? Let’s see ...
Oh yes — the Jolly Santa 400. Advent calendars hit the shelves about a month ago. Children (and 20-somethings whose mother still sends them the chocolate goodness) will gleefully find Dec. 1 and consume the sugary goodness. And the race will be on.
My intention is to turn my stress into extra cheer by getting a head start on the gifts now. First step, determine the recipients. Check. Second step, assign the gifts. Um. This one is difficult. What to buy for these wonderful individuals in my life?
I’m just kidding, I have no idea what to give them.
Although, I am headed in the right direction. The other day I took myself over to Paint the Town on Keith Street and painted a [censored] for a friend. That, dear readers, is what I call progress. Painting the [censored] was not only therapeutic, but it took another name off my list.
Fifteen more to go.
I enjoy giving gifts as much as receiving them. Knowing you have found something a loved one will enjoy is a thrill. A gift, in my eyes, is just a physical reminder of the care and attention you have for another person. So when I receive a gift it is not the present itself I am excited by so much as the intention behind the gift.
And yes, I do believe all of this holiday cheer, gift giving and goodwill does have its root in the true reason for the season. Only someone as precious as Jesus could manage to break out of the confines of Dec. 25, to affect the rest of the month with his love. I am happy Christians and non-Christians alike can enjoy this time of year.
My hope for you is this month will be less hectic. Call me an optimist, but I believe you can host the parties, decorate the house, bake the cookies, purchase the gifts, wrap the presents, visit the in-laws, attend the play practices and string the lights with cheer to spare.
And, if not, then take strength in knowing the season comes only once a year. Make it through the 25-day-dash and then rest for 10 or 11 months.
I guess you Marthas just mean Marys like me will have to work extra hard to smile brighter as we do battle with the Humbugs. December only comes once a year and I am determined to enjoy every last drop of hot chocolate, TV specials and family gatherings I can.
In the words of Jim Carrey’s Grinch, “Now you listen to me, young lady! Even if we’re horribly mangled, there’ll be no sad faces on Christmas.”