Thursday, November 21, 2013

The end of the year is nigh, and I AM UNREADY

Is it just me, or has the end of year season snuck up on us really fast this year?

Part of it, of course, is that I'm working fulltime outside the home, but I was working (more than) fulltime hours this time last year as a consultant, and it didn't take me by surprise quite as much. But all of a sudden, this week, the invitations, commitments and event notifications have started flowing thick and fast, both for professional appointments as everyone rushes to finish stuff up before the shutdown, and for the chaos that is the build-up to Christmas in our family life.

This is leading to the usual seasonal stupidities - being triple-booked for work meetings on two days next week (it's nice to be wanted, but seriously); looking down the barrel of a 10-day stretch from 2 to 11 December where there is something on every night / day (11 events thankyouverymuch, and would've been 14 if I hadn't turned things down); relinquishing personal time altogether with a sigh, because there just aren't enough hours, let's be honest.

I've also realised that, other than my mum (for whom I bought an early present of a ticket to the Agatha Christie play, A Murder is Announced, which we enjoyed a great deal together last Saturday), I have yet to purchase or really plan a single Christmas gift. Oh, I know what the big shared gift for the kids will be - a springless trampoline - but I haven't *ordered* it yet. As for working out the rest, well. Haven't done it, haven't thought it through, am slightly panicked about it...

The things I need to do, really, are:

- Work out what teacher / coach gifts we want to give and procure or make them. I'll probably make my life easier here by doing same as last year - a bottle of wine, a $5 charity gift card, and homemade cookies. We'll bake in bulk and this should be OK.

- Plan out what the kids will be getting, and get it. The tramp is a big, expensive gift, so I'm looking to go small but cute here.

- Do the Christmas cards. Man, I hate this job, but I feel compelled because lots of my relos and friends are so good about it.

- Plan out the rest of the family presents (my Dad, my brother and his partner, my MIL and SIL) and get them.

- Do a Christmas prep day (putting up the tree & lights, baking, planning the food purchasing for the meals we are hosting here)

That sounds completely exhausting, truth be told, especially because work currently resembles nothing so much as dead run to get everything wrapped up with a bow by 12 December, which happens to be both the date of a major final decision-making meeting, and the last stop on the road to a town I like to call No-One Is Here and Even If They Are, They Are Not Interested In Doing Anything Urgent For You. I expect work will downshift markedly in the week of 16 December, and indeed I start my 2 weeks of leave on the Friday of that week, but that doesn't help me in the mad three weeks to come.

I really don't even know what a good solution to this mayhem would look like. With the merciful exception of dancing (October concert FTW), the kids' activities and school all do, naturally, come to an end at much the same time. There isn't much that can be done about it; it's just the way it is. I suppose December is really just about sucking it up and enjoying it as much as we can, and will make the lolling about I intend to do from Boxing Day to New Years all the more enjoyable :-)

This is post 21 in NaBloPoMo. 21 down, 9 to go!

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