Whether, like me, you're willing to face this fact or not; Christmas is upon us. I was blissfully unaware of this little fact up to a couple a weeks ago, until I walked in to my local Westfield.
I was there to run a few errands and pick up a couple of things and within a few minutes I noticed Christmas decorations everywhere. Instinctively, I looked at my watch. Which was silly really, because it only tells me what time it is, not the date, and it certainly doesn't have a screen that flashes messages like, "YES YOU MORON. IT'S ALMOST CHRISTMAS. GET WITH THE PROGRAMME!" It's just that, you know, I'm forever living by the constant movement of time on my watch, my kitchen or bedside table clock. Like, if I see it's 8.30am on a weekday, I think, 'Only 20 minutes until the first bell at school goes.' If it's 11.52am, 'Almost time for lunch.' 2pm? 'Far out. Only 1 hour and 15 minutes until school pick up.' And so on. Dinner: 6pm. Kid's bedtime: 7.30pm. 10pm: Need to make sure dishes are done and have shower. In other words, my day is constantly broken up in to small increments of time. Hanging over my head like a guillotine. Miss something and....CLUNK!
But anyway, I digress.
So, looking at the decorations, I immediately did the numbers in my head. How many weeks until Christmas? Surely, it's not that time yet? Is it? (And, ok, I couldn't work it out in my head so I had to check the calendar when I got home.) At the time: 8 weeks to go. My next thought was, 'Oh great. Now I'm going to have to start listening to my kids giving me gift ideas and asking when the tree is going up for the next two months.'
And then, within days of my Westfield trip, I received my first store Christmas catalogue. And then Hubby came home with a shopping bag from Lincraft - a Christmas inspired one. (I should point out that Hubby wasn't stocking up on fabric or scrap booking material at the time. Halloween stuff for the kids was his aim. Not that, if he was in to making clothes and decorating family photo albums and the like that there'd be anything wrong with that. Ahem.)
By the following weekend, we had about 6 store Christmas catalogues in total sitting on the hall table. My 7yr old discovered them, and quickly began to flick through them, making a list of gift ideas to send to Santa. Before too long, he came to me, envelope in hand, addressed to "Santa - North Pole", carefully decorated with scrolls and Christmas colours.
"Here's my letter for Santa, Mum. Can you post it?"
"Well, sure," I replied. "But, did you remember to enquire about Santa's health and well-being before you put your list together?"
"Huh?" he replied, looking confused.
"You know," I explained, "Did you ask him how he was? Say anything like, 'I hope you've enjoyed a bit of a break before all the preparations for this year started?' That sort of thing."
The 7yr old looked sideways, twirling his hair in sudden concern. "Um, noooo. I forgot."
"Did you just give him your list then?" I asked.
"Ah, yeah," he replied sheepishly.
"Well," I replied, "I don't think that's a very good idea. It's a bit rude to send Santa your list without so much as asking him how he is. Don't you think? If I were you, I'd open up your envelope and attach a separate letter to it. Or something."
The 7yr old looked thoughtful. I could see him weighing up his options whilst mulling over what I'd just told him. Did he A) chance it, and not bother opening the envelope and add the letter (after all, that would mean more work on his part) and hope Santa would, like, read his mind or something?; or B) write the extra letter for fear of Santa forfeiting his requests and sending him the obligatory sack of potatoes sent to the "naughty children" his Dad had told him about in previous years?
"Ok," he said. "I know what I'll do. I'll open it up, and I'll write something on the back, and have it facing the way he opens the envelope, so he can see it straight away." Good solution. Maximise the impact, and minimise the work. That's my boy.
In actual fact, that he hadn't included a letter was a blessing for me. Of course, I wanted to see the list. That way, I knew what his expectations were, and perhaps get a couple of ideas for pressies. Unfortunately, I had not expected his expectations would be quite so high. After giving me his letter to reseal with tape on his behalf, I perused the list. He had no less than 29 items on it. And some of his requests were, to put it lightly, um, unrealistic. Including an iPhone 3G, a Mario Nintendo DS Lite and an iPod Stereo. Ah, yeah, I don't think so.
Both the 5yr old and the 2yr old have also, on their own part, started to get excited already too. The 5yr old insisted the other night that his bed time story from Hubby be a Christmas book, even though Hubby tried to convinced him it wasn't even December yet. And the 2yr old keeps insisting I "sing San-ya cors coming to town song Mum." And even though I felt silly doing it on the way home from school the other day (walking past other school mums as I did so) I couldn't help but oblige.
You see, I can't really blame them, because I think they get their excitement for the silly season from me.
I am, I admit, quite a sucker for this time of year. I'm the nutter who writes an annual newsletter for friends and family, including a Christmas card containing a photo of all of us, our outfits colour coordinated, which also match the chosen paper and envelopes for the card (with new colours each year - although, Hubby usually has to break the rules and find a way not to wear what I have picked out for him. Sheesh). I put the tree up on 1 Dec, no later if I can help it, with Christmas carols playing in the background, carefully re-arranging the colour-coordinated decorations (of course) that my boys have hastily thrown on the tree.
But this year, I just don't feel quite ready to 'do Christmas' yet. I'm not organised. I haven't even started the Christmas newsletter, nor have I come up with a colour-scheme for our family photo. And the thought of heading out to go shopping gives me the heebie-jeebies.
But I have a feeling, my boys will soon get me motivated. Their excitement reminds me of mine. And my mother's. It's obviously genetic. Who can ignore that?
And so I've found yet another reason/motivation to get organised, and put my Martha Stewart hat on in the process (sure). Wish me luck with that one. Because like it, or not, the Christmas countdown is officially ON!
Until next time...