I take no pride in saying that we live in the perfect representation of what the modern family looks like today. My husband and I work too much, scrape together the time to help my son out with homework every night, get the family meal time in, and pile into bed exhausted every night. What does that really look like? It’s complicated. We have one child with autism, and homework requires a lot of attention. We split duties because our 3.5 year old child also requires a lot of attention and my job requires a lot of attention too. My husband helps with homework most nights while I take my other son to our room and distract him with Wild Kratts while lesson planning. Once we brush teeth, bathe kids, and read bed time stories separately to each kids and tuck them in at night, I stay up past my husband’s bed time working, and push my husband until he stops snoring long enough for me to fall asleep. It’s no surprise that by the time Christmas rolls around, we’ve done nothing to prepare for it aside from ordering all of the presents off of Amazon (thank God for online ordering). Yes, we often have several things left undone by the time Christmas break rolls around, but I’ll just stick with the…
Top 5 Last-Minute Tasks We Do Right Before Christmas
- Put up the Christmas Tree – Most people put up the tree right after Thanksgiving. Well, not us. You see, here’s the thing–my husband goes right back to work the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday. The tree? It’s in the attic. He works six days a week from now until forever. If I can persuade him to get said tree downstairs, I’m in good shape. The thought of bringing the tree down a week before Christmas just to put it back up again a week later does not appeal. We wound up putting a really small tree up this year because our creatures took up so much space we didn’t even know where to put the tree. My husband felt overjoyed. The kids didn’t care. I felt half-dismayed, half-relieved at not having to put it up later, but mostly bah-humbuggish at not having decorations up. I honestly miss having the real tree from my childhood.”
- Wrapping the Presents – Purchasing presents and wrapping them are two different things, right? If I didn’t have so many gifts from Amazon, I’d just buy them pre-wrapped and save myself the effort, but I think that might cost some money. Oh, how I wish I lived the life of a fancy-pantsy rich person sometimes. “Mildred,” I’d say to my hired help (because I’m sure her name would be Mildred). “I need you wrap these presents at least ten days before Christmas.” Because no way would they get wrapped last-minute if I had hired help. And then I’d buy her a gift for working so hard all year and wrap it last-minute.
- Sending Out Christmas Cards – I sent them out today. To my friends and family, I love you all dearly. I truly intended to send them out sooner, but we did it even more last-minute than usual this year. If we forgot someone, I apologize. I have no created a database of addresses because we lost all of the addresses we had and I had to start over, so now I’ve gotten smart. Our address book is on the computer instead of on a physical address book and I’m using Microsoft Access. That’s right folks. It’s an actual database. If I want to do a newsletter next year, I can make a form letter and put names into that mother. Don’t get too excited about that possibility, though. As last-minute as we function, it seems highly unlikely that I’d craft a newsletter in time to print it out and send it to everyone.
- Finalizing Christmas Plans – We switch which family we go see every year, and our plans pretty much remain stable every year. We leave after my husband gets off work on Christmas Eve, spent Christmas Day, and drive back. By Thanksgiving everyone knows which holiday they get possession over. Things kind of just steamroll through after that. It’s after I get off work for Christmas break that things settle down enough for me to process information and I realize (after my mom asks me) that I never actually said when I’m coming over. It all happens so quickly! So, inevitably, we wind up making our final plans less than one week before Christmas every year.
- Packing – I know I won’t pack until tomorrow afternoon. Christmas Eve. And I likely will wind up doing it all by myself while my husband works. And I know I will forget something because I always do. That’s just how we roll. I’ll forget something really silly like pajamas and my family will just have to endure me walking my pajamas on, I suppose. I apologize in advance for my lack of forethought. I just know that tonight I’ll need to wrap presents, so it won’t happen tonight unless I can get my dearest one to do some packing, but he likely will only pack for himself. But I’m more likely to forget my deodorant, so it’s more likely that you’ll smell me before you’ll see me. Lucky you!
Somehow, we manage to fit it all in. The boys got to see Santa, we got all the presents, we’ve gone Christmas caroling, and the boys even baked Christmas cookies. Whatever your Christmas looks like or how your plans have gone, I hope it all works out in the end. Last minute or not, all that matters is that you do it together. Here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas, from my crazy busy family to yours!