Monday, November 2, 2009

Holiday Planning


As I pant over the fact that October seems to have flown by, making September seem only days ago, I am now struck with the fact that it IS November. And since it is November it is time to thrust ourselves into planning the upcoming holiday season, schedule who goes where, and to think long and hard about traditions.

Personally, Holidays are about logistics. How to get all of the necessary people together at the necessary times. I had a tiny peek into the chaos when I was dating my first husband as he was pulled from mom's house to dad's house to grandma's house to some shindig at a hotel. He came from a big family. I did not. Holidays for me had, up until my marriage, been a private affair around the family dinner table. There was no shuffling from one meal to another. It was simple and it was easy. Since the day I said "I do" holidays have been nowhere near simple nor easy.

It was difficult when the kids were little as we had to pack up a diaper bag with multiple changes of clothing and any other implements of mass destruction like portable cribs and walkers. And of course bundle the kids in cumbersome snowsuits to keep them warm. None of the homes we visited were suited for large gatherings and bringing babies or toddlers and their assorted equipment was even more burdensome. Grandparents cooed that they didn't care - they were just happy everyone was together. So we tripped over each other and tolerated cranky baby cries as little ones couldn't keep their regular nap schedules.

Getting home was insane as we had to lug all of the loot (leftovers and shiny new toys) home in our tiny car.

Then I had to get divorced and further complicate the whole chess-game. Kids are picked up one night to be dropped off the following afternoon to be picked up another day later. Thanksgiving is a jumble of seven different meals spanning half the state over four days. Fortunately my two older children are able to drive, but they also have significant others further adding to the mayhem. Christmas is a delicate ballet crammed into 36 hours. By December 26th we are worn out and sick of looking at ham and turkey left overs, pie is a dirty word and life would be much quieter if batteries would instantly die.

Since my kids have grown up in this strange world of shuffling to and fro maybe they have fond memories of it. Me? I find it horribly stressful and vow not to make it any more difficult when they start their own families. I'm not quite sure, maybe I'll follow my former mother-in-law's lead by hosting Easter in August (we really did that one year). It's about being together - the specific dates don't matter at all. And I'm screwed up enough to actually pull it off.

So how is holiday planning in your world? Easy Schmezy? A well orchestrated ballet? Quiet and uneventful? Sheer chaos but you love every minute? Do you volunteer at soup kitchen or do you host a quiet affair for friends abandoning family chaos?

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