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mixed feelings

December 10th, 2007 . by maria

This time of year is always full of mixed feelings. Don’t get me wrong – I am about the most Christmas-spirited person there is. I love decorating. I love singing ye olde carols. I love crafting gifts, buying gifts – the whole process of really thinking about someone and trying to come up with something (you can afford) which will tickle their fancy. I love visiting with people. I love the time off work. I even love preparing for company and having a cookie party. The mixed feelings come in because of the pressures – pressure to get things done, to fit in extra activities, to spend money, to have the house more presentable than usual, etc.

Cards: I have a huge extended family on my mother’s side. She was one of six children. I love every one of them. I don’t want to leave anyone out. But I decided a few years ago that the cutoff had to be three generations. (ie I give to my grandparents, parents/aunts/uncles, and cousins. I don’t give to my cousin’s children, grandma’s aunt, etc.) Once I add in my husband’s family, a few friends, and my coworkers, I end up with about 50 people to make cards for. Plus, Alex has about 75 customers. That’s a lot of cards, whether you buy them or make them. I like making them, and on years when the budget is low – like this year – I make them.

Cookies & Birthdays: My DH asked me last night why I insist on having a cookie party. It started a few years ago when I discovered his mother’s aunt had a December birthday the day before mine, and that neither of us had had a birthday party in, like, years. So I decided that if no one would throw us a party, I’d throw a party. And since I love making cookies this time of year to give as gifts, but have trouble finding time to make them, I’d make it a cookie-baking party. It’s a fun time for women of all ages to squeeze into my little kitchen/dining room for a few hours of chatter and emerge with cookies to justify their time. I’m there making the cookies anyway. I might as well have someone to talk to, which is really what every woman wants most.

Work: It’s also a tough time at work. It’s a time when a lot of projects get finished up. That’s awesome. But it’s also a time when anything that can’t be wrapped up before the holiday gets pushed aside. That’s a bummer. The closer you get to the holidays, the emptier the work plate becomes. I’ve just completed a rollout of a DEMO of Instant Messaging for my employer. (Lotus Sametime running with our other Domino/Lotus Notes servers. It’s awesome. We’re loving it. For the users, it was like “set your password and away you go”. There was more prep work on my end than that, but overall not too bad. A little more than, say, the email-to-fax or enabling ldap or something. ) However, there are a handful of things that are making no progress whatsoever, and that’s too bad.

UPDATE: It looks like I’m not the only one who has projects get pushed off until after the holidays:

Atlantis to Launch No Earlier Than Sunday
Dec 07, 2007 05:00:00 GMT
Targeted launch time is 3:21 p.m. EST.

Atlantis to Launch Sunday
Dec 08, 2007 05:00:00 GMT
Shuttle will take the European Columbus lab to the space station.

NASA Postpones Shuttle Atlantis Launch
Dec 09, 2007 05:00:00 GMT
NASA delayed Sunday’s scheduled launch of space shuttle Atlantis after a failure occurred in a fuel sensor system.

NASA Targets Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch on Jan. 2
Dec 09, 2007 05:00:00 GMT
Space shuttle Atlantis’ STS-122 mission to the ISS now is targeted to launch no earlier than Jan. 2 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Gifts: Like I said, I LOVE giving gifts. But, you always wish you had a little more time or money so you could give the “perfect” thing. I’ve got a few people who will probably get their ‘perfect thing’ next year, and their ‘good but not perfect’ thing this year, because of budgetary constraints…and time constraints. I’m a very thrifty shopper and a creative thinker and a crafter. I have to think that makes budgeting easier. But it makes actual gifting more challenging! I know someone who can give a really cute set of tea towels or really nice expensive wool socks, and be happy with that. Not me. If I gave tea towels, I’d have to embroider them myself with your name or your favorite animal/symbol/saying, and wrap them on a tea tray with a pretty mug and bags of your favorite tea. If I give wool socks, it’ll probably be because I learned how to knit, or because they’re in a gift basket with a foot massager and lotion – but only because if said your feet were really bothering you lately, or because they were on your list.

But don’t go thinking that my perfectionist tendencies are the problem. I’ve learned from Flylady.net that I have to accept “done good enough” sometimes over “not done because it wasn’t good enough”. If you can’t tell that from the above, you should know that there are tons of other things I’d like to do around Christmas that I don’t. I’d like to be in a choir again, like I was in school. I’d like to take the kids caroling from the back of a hay truck. (They’d hate it.) I’d like to put on a Christmas pageant. I’d like to have something really awesome to give to my DH, who is getting to that stage of fatherhood where he says not to get him anything because if he needed it, he’d buy it himself. And I’d like to do something really special to acknowledge or help so many others… And that’s just the list of things I think that I actually COULD pull off, if I really had my act together. In my dream world, there’s also plenty of time and money to give something modest but special to the mailman and my coworkers and DH’s customers. I’d like to make really awesome quilts to give as presents. Plus spend time sipping cocoa in front of the woodstove with a good book while snow falls with a feeling of peace because everything got done. Ummm…that would be nice. But it’ll have to wait until January.

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