Sunday, 22 December 2013

#364: Christmas Stress

Two days to go, and Christmas is in hand.   I am not freaking out. The tree is up, most of the presents have been wrapped, and I know what we are eating on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day.  I have even managed to contract out a lot of the cooking to my clever son-in-law. 

I won’t say that the run-up to Christmas 2013 has been completely without stress, but the anxiety has certainly been manageable.  Perhaps my standards are slipping as I age.  Perhaps I simply have more time in retirement for Christmas prep.  Whatever it is, I like it.  I like it so much that I even envision a future, as I move into my 70's, in which the weight of Christmas responsibility is light as an angel's wing.  A true Christmas miracle. 

Then again...

As I entertained this sanguine fantasy, I made pre-Christmas visits to my female readers at the retirement home where I am volunteer librarian/book fairy.  That is when I realized that I would never, ever get off the Christmas treadmill.

For the last couple of weeks the ladies have asked me the same question:  Are you all ready for Christmas?  And I have assured them that I still had lots to do, but that I would be ready or at least done by December 25.  They nodded with understanding. They knew all about Christmas pressure.  So many cards to write!  (This was no fantasy – I could see addressed envelopes waiting to be mailed.)  I also admitted that the sweater I was making for my grandson was still unfinished.  Just one more sleeve to knit!  “Oh", sympathized Ethel, “I know.  I still have to knit the neck on my son’s pullover and I don’t think I have enough wool.  Don't bring me books until the New Year. I won't have much time to read!  ”

To Irene, I sheepishly confessed that at 69, I still “do” stockings for my daughters and their partners.  “Yes”, she agreed, ”and it gets harder to find nice little stocking presents when you can’t get out much.”  90-year old Irene, it seems, is still filling a stocking from Santa for her daughter Marilyn. (I've met this Marilyn and she is easily my age.  We've even discussed the challenges of retirement.) 

I guess it would be weird if I went out this January and bought 20 years' worth of stocking stuffers for 4 people and then squirreled the treats and trinkets away.  What do you think?  Totally weird?

Or completely brilliant!

Because now that I know my future, I am sorely tempted.