Ready Or Not, Here Come The Holidays

How do we ever survive the holidays?!

Between cooking, cleaning, staining bathroom vanities (Yes, I was that dumb to take on a home makeover project during the holidays) shopping, family get-togethers…Well, you know the routine.  I had every intention to write a new blog entry this week but here I sit with stained fingers, a filthy kitchen, kids coming home for Thanksgiving, a dog that needs to be walked, and…Well, why bore you with what you too are probably going through at this very moment.

Do you ever feel on top of it?

On top of these bigger-than-life-family-get-togethers that you want so desperately to be perfect but never quite make it? Well, maybe in my mother’s house they’re perfect. I swear, Martha Stewart looks like a slacker compared to my mom. She’s well into her 80s and she doesn’t move with the same speed as she used to move, oh and yes, the last couple of years she’s said, “I just don’t know if I even care to go through all this fuss for the holidays.”  But the other day I noticed she’s already decorated her table with the autumn colored tablecloth, the Pilgrim See’s Candy foiled turkeys; the Thanksgiving wreath is on the door, the little wooden pilgrims are perched on top of the t.v., the pies are already made, and the stuffing is too.

And this is mom at half-speed.

Maybe my brother might have to help her pull the huge turkey out of the oven nowadays, but damn if she’s not still doing it.  Even with all her aches and pains (and Lord knows she could put Job to shame with everything that ails her) she still stands strong at her kitchen counter and gets the job done.  Her house is always immaculate, and her life just seems to click along like the finest of calibrated machines.

My mom just amazes me.

So this week’s post celebrates all the women (and some men too) who are shining stars during these holidays.  The ones who do the crafts, bake the cookies, decorate their homes, do all the shopping, take care of their families, and maybe even hold down a job or two. I’ll never be one of them, but I sure do love and respect the way they organize, accessorize, and do the holidays right.

To the rest of us, the ones who try their best, and run themselves ragged, but just end up tired, frazzled, and certain that mashed potatoes are supposed to be lumpy: Be kind to yourself, people. Thanksgiving is only the beginning of a very long marathon of shopping, cooking, cleaning, and trying to keep the family happy.

Pace yourself!

(Do you always feel on top of the holidays or do the holidays always end up on top of you?What are your tips for making the holidays a less stressful time around your house?)

(Are you new to my blog? Read how Can You All hear Me In The Back? got started.)

36 thoughts on “Ready Or Not, Here Come The Holidays

  1. LOL, Darlene, I’m so done with the holiday blitz I used to put myself through. Fortunately, I’ve passed down all our traditional dessert recipes to my girls and they now do the baking (though my presence in the kitchen is still requested). I’ve given up on the Christmas decorating — unless the girls want it done, it doesn’t get done — last year we unpacked and put up 1/4 of the stuff we’ve put up in the past and I wondered where the heck I’d been putting the other 3/4 all those years past!! I enjoy the holidays, but I’m ready to enjoy them at someone else’s house now!! As for gift shopping, I’ve told the girls, if I can’t order it online, don’t ask for it – LOL!! Very timely article – thanks and Happy Thanksgiving to your lovely family!!


  2. My Mother-In-Law is like this. At 67 she works three jobs, babysits the grandkids, looks after my Father-in-Law who had a major stroke, and more…Oh and she has 8 kids who with their kids and significant others all gather at her place…we live far away so we don’t now (I’m glad the chaos is too much for me) but boy she can out do most! lol
    I’m from Canada so we had our TG. already but it is just Hubby and I, our dog and snake. We are so knew to where we live that we don’t know anyone yet. I’m good with that.
    I hope despite the lumpy mashed potatoes, you have a Happy Thanksgiving 🙂


  3. Boy, have you hit the nail on the head with this one!!! Why do we do it? We love tradition and family and even though we might want to break the routine, we don’t want to lose the time and tradition….so we do it!


    • Yep, it’s habit forming. Don’t get me wrong – I love this time of the year, but I just wish we could simplify the holidays a little more. Maybe not have Black Friday right after Thanksgiving and rush, rush, rush to get those gifts bought before the turkey is even cooled off in the fridge.


  4. This year, I have a very easy task; I’m going to see my sister at Thanksgiving. My Mom is making half the food, and my sister’s making the other half. 🙂

    The tough part will be getting up early to go visit, as my sister’s very definitely a very early hours day person, and I’m a night-time “vampire.” But we’ll make do.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Dar! (I enjoyed your piece and hope all will go well despite the projects and the stress, etc. And I agree with you — simplification is a *must*. I plan to stay out of the stores on Black Friday; that’s my way of speeding up the simplification process. ;-))


    • I’m in the same vampire club you’re in, Barb. I just can’t wind down any earlier than midnight. I used to do theater so my internal clock is still set to the late hours. Your Thanksgiving sounds like it will be a great one with your mom and your sister. And yes, I’m also staying out of the stores on Black Friday. Hopefully, I’ll sleep in and maybe even get a chance to do some reading.


      • That sounds like a good plan, Dar . . . today I’m going to try to concentrate on the “four F’s,” those being “food, family, friends, and football.” (Football is always a conversation starter in my family. We all watch. I guess you could say it keeps us amused, except that as most of us are Packers fans — and the Packers weren’t too good for many, many years before they got Brett Favre and respectability, then excellence came calling — we’re more like obsessed.)


      • I like that – the “Four F’s.” My dad and uncle were big football fans and we always had the games on over the holidays. But they’re both gone now and my son is with his girlfriend’s family so football won’t be playing on the t.v this year. I’ll really miss that. I may have to commandeer the remote and switch it from the CNN channel my mother insists on always watching – if only long enough to see the scores. Happy Turkey Day, Barb!


  5. My parents and one sister lived in Florida making it to costly to go home and my in-laws were 300 miles away. We visited them for Thanksgiving until bad weather and a car full of kids got to be too much. My other sister lives nearby and is single. I did the entire meal for years. As time passed she started bringing a dish and once my children were grown everyone brings a dish. She has had the celebration at her home when she is not visiting our baby sister who lives in Virginia. Now that my parents live near us we take the whole celebration there. All the family will still do all the cooking (mom’s cooking is not too good anymore) but the mess is not at my home. However, my hubby and I will go over early and help with the set up and stay late for the clean up. More work in some respects but it brings so much joy to my parents to have everyone at their home.


  6. Tom Brokaw wrote about The Greatest Generation and most everyone thinks about the men’s accomplishments. Our moms were in the background, the unsung heroes.
    Holiday stress is something we can accept or not. The work gets done, friends and family are celebrated and memories are made. Make time to enjoy it and remember, don’t flip the bird. Happy Turkey Day.


    • I’m okay when we are still in November. But as soon as December 1st rolls around I start hyperventilating. I start to feel a little bit better when I figure out the gifts I want to buy for everyone, but this year my mind is a complete blank when it comes to gift ideas so yeah, I’m a wee bit nervous at the moment.


    • Isn’t that chair priceless?! Usually I use my own photos or buy them from Fotolia, but I found this photo on a blogsite and borrowed it. I need to find it again so I can give credit to the blogger. I hope it’s not the poor frazzled woman in the photo!


  7. I’m not sure whether I’m on top of the holidays or whether they are on top of me–but I don’t start shopping until Dec. 20 at the earliest. I figure that I’ll be frazzled for a shorter period of time.


    • LOL! Do you really wait until December 20th before you start shopping??? You must have nerves of steel. I start hyperventilating after Thanksgiving weekend if I haven’t started to buy Christmas presents (or know what I am buying). But your logic makes perfect sense. I just wouldn’t be able to wait until the 20th – I’d be too stressed out to wait that long.


  8. I’m fascinated with the truth of every word within this article Darlene. It’s a great blog post! Thanks for sharing it – I enjoyed it immensely!!


    • Thanks so much for reading it! I know what you mean about very busy malls. As a recovering agoraphobic, I avoid most malls like the plague. Luckily, there’s one mall here in town that is an outdoors mall with many different exits, and I can just tolerate going there. But indoor malls are almost impossible for me, and the busier the mall, the more I will go out of my way to avoid it. All I can say is thank goodness for online shipping!


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