So far this week, I have made:
Two dozen chocolate chip cookies and three dozen mini cupcakes for the Girl Guide Christmas party;
Peppermint bark and Nicole’s Vegan Fudge for the Brownies Christmas party;
More peppermint bark and more fudge for the Christmas Piano Recital;
Two dozen chocolate chip cookies for one kid’s school Christmas party;
Two dozen shortbread cookies for another kid’s school Christmas party;
14 dozen more cookies – coconut, snickerdoodles, crackles, chocolate chip, shortbread with cherries, shortbread without cherries, soft molasses – for the mixed cookie boxes we take to all the houses and relatives we visit over the holidays
Still to come: sugar cookie shapes, dough currently chilling in the fridge.
I list this all out not to show you how totally awesome Martha Stewart I am, but rather to show you how COMPLETELY STUPID I am.
I was having coffee with some of the other School Moms on Tuesday and we were talking about how we KNOW we should do less at Christmas, how everyone tells us to just sit down already with a cup of tea, how unimportant it all is, and yet we cannot stop ourselves. Why is that?
I hear a lot of talk about the pressure to create the perfect Christmas, but I don’t think that’s it, at least not for me. I do a lot of baking so that my kids always have safe treats to eat when we’re at an event or someone else’s house, but I do not believe they really need 10 different kinds of cookie to choose from. I send Christmas cards but I think the vast majority of my list would be just as happy with an email. I decorate the house but my husband would be just as happy with paper snowflakes taped to the walls and a wreath on the door.
Here’s the real problem: I love it.
I love the baking, I love the many kinds of cookies, I love the cherries and the coconut and the chocolate. I love the way my nephews get excited to see what’s in the cookie box we brought, and delight in trying each kind (that kind of praise is like crack cocaine to the under-appreciated stay-at-home mom, trust me). I love the way the mantle looks with greenery on it, I love the way our family newsletter comes together as a perfect little snapshot of our year. I love Christmas carols and Christmas movies and Christmas specials and I want to play them ALL, at least once, every single year.
I suppose the pressure to create a perfect Christmas, then, is the pressure to create the perfect Christmas for ME. To feel like I have done everything I would want to do for a perfect Christmas, every single year. To feel like life could not possibly BE any more Christmassy.
And on the plus side, it doesn’t quite feel like too much yet, it doesn’t quite add up to more than I can handle – yet – but it’s riiiight on the very edge. I’m tired (did I mention also sick?) and more than anything this Christmas, I need to give myself permission to sit the heck down with a cup of tea. I need to believe that Christmas isn’t about the cookies, or the cards, or the shopping, even though all that stuff makes me really happy.
I need to just take a moment to breathe it all in. Christmas is about peace, too – remember that, Lynn.