My husband and I sat down on Saturday morning and made our list. Who was doing what and what were we doing together? I think that every household must do this at some point or another, and when one celebrates Christmas, it most likely occurs on the weekend that falls two weeks before the big day.
What is a one-person job, and what can and should be done alone? I went to get my blood tests done this morning while NRB wrote the notes for an inspiration he had about a piece he was arranging for Big Band Sunday in January. Together we went to the resale shop and bought the small sideboard/bar that is likely to take us through this house and well into our retirement years in the highrise lakeview apartment/retirement condo to which we aspire some day. We spend quite a while fixing the closet system in the front hall so my tablecloths don’t weigh down the rod. He vacuumed the closet once we finished the rod repair and I put the winter coats on the rack and put the spring and fall coats in the basement. It was finally necessary to switch out the coats because it was 13 degrees when we woke up this morning. Apparently winter has finally arrived in Chicago. I washed last year’s salt off the boot tray. I got a new shower rod and a new shower curtain liner. None of these normal household activities had anything directly to do with Christmas, but they all mean that our “season” is close upon us.
He cleaned behind the furniture and moved the wing chair to the family room so that we can put up the Christmas tree in the living room. I put Christmas flowers in my mother’s antique vase I inherited. The corner is ready for the tree and the low table is ready for the manger scene. As soon as we get the stuff from this weekend dealt with, we’ll pull the Christmas tree and ornaments, the manger scene, the bathroom decorations, the Dickens’ village, and the outdoor wreaths from the crawl space and we’ll be almost ready for Christmas. It’s kind of amazing how it all comes together quickly once we’ve done the prep work.
As I’ve written this year’s 25 Days of Christmas, I’ve found that our lives run in a pretty predictable cycle. I’m trying to make the posts interesting, but really, we are predictable people. We go to work, we go to church, we make music, we take a vacation, we entertain and are entertained, and then we go back to work. We love our kids, our friends, our family, and our lives.
And that’s not a bad thing at Christmastime or anytime. We’ve become more secure in our empty-nester roles; we do what is important for the two of us at Christmas and we accommodate our children’s schedules and Christmas expectations while not putting demands on our grown-up progeny to revisit the past. We’ve talked to friends on the phone about when our children are arriving at O’Hare and when we will get together. We have some wonderful multi-generational get-togethers planned over the next three weeks with friends and family.
I’ve been doing laundry all weekend in the midst of all this busyness — ten loads of my personal clothes have stacked up over the last couple of weeks. I think it’s time to go sit in my recliner and watch my favorite “before Christmas” movie, The Holiday, which includes visits to England and Los Angeles and Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslett, Jack Black, and Jude Law. What’s not to like?
See you tomorrow with photos of our new acquisition (and it might be decorated for Christmas if I get there). I hope you got something done this weekend! If Christmas has become a habit in your house rather than a tradition, maybe it’s time to rethink. How can you make it fresh and exciting again?