It’s bad when it’s not even Thanksgiving yet and I feel very, very, late to the Christmas party.
I get it, I really do, in the third wave of a pandemic “we need a little Christmas right this very minute.” So, if you had your house all gussied up for the holidays before your carved Halloween pumpkin had time to start decomposing on your front porch I not only applaud you but I’m downright jealous.
Jealous because thinking about Christmas makes me anxious. The reason is because I (like I’m sure a lot of people are) am putting a whole lot of pressure on the holidays. This Christmas has to be the best in an attempt to make up for what a horrendous and scary year 2020 has been.
I keep on telling myself that if I create a magical Christmas for my family then it will be the start of better days to come. It’s like I’m jinxing humanity if I can’t deliver a holiday masterpiece.
There are so many problems with trying to have the “best pandemic holiday ever” that not even looking through my collection of “Christmas With Southern Living” cookbooks could ease my burgeoning panic. I even turned to the heavy hitter, the 398-page tome “Christmas All Through the South” that promises ways to build “joyful memories, timeless moments and enduring traditions.”
Certainly, a three-foot-high gingerbread pancake tower “glued” together with maple whipped cream for Christmas morning brunch sounds not only scrumptious but certainly memorable.
Then there’s a “hearty picnic in the pines” that seems very pandemic safe since you’ll be outside and who wouldn’t want to eat a caramel drop banana bread trifle dessert while perched on plaid “Royal Stewart” tartan wool blankets with matching flatware to celebrate getting your Christmas tree?
The small problem with that outing is that we get our Christmas tree from a nursery so although that trifle sounds next level delish I don’t think eating it in a parking lot would be quite the festive outing. Really, are there enough plaid blankets to make that excursion one for the memory books?
I did make a list of all the new things that I wanted my family to do since a lot of our traditions would be different this year due to the coronavirus. I then looked at that list and cried. Not a big boohoo but a few tears of anguish because the list I made meant one thing – a lot of work for me.
It’s not that I’m not exceedingly familiar with being the Christmas Sherpa in the family, I don’t know what mom isn’t, but to create new traditions and whip up a one-of-kind holiday, well, I don’t know if I have that in me.
To admit that freaked me out. It also made me feel old and a little bah humbug. But then I substituted the word “realist” for old and that helped. With my new self-appointed title of 2020 holiday realist I dove back into my Christmas books with a more pragmatic attitude.
Then in the 2006 “Christmas With Southern Living” I saw a note my mother had written on the inside cover. It read, “The magic of Christmas is being together and knowing that a family’s love is unwavering.”
I felt some of the pressure ease from my body, not all mind you, but some. We would be together for Christmas – just the four of us – and anything else will be icing on the gingerbread pancake tower.
Although, I still plan on trying some new traditions. I’m thinking of doing an outdoor Christmas Eve scavenger hunt.
Scratch that. I just told my daughter about it and she asked me, “Why do you hate us?” So, I’m guessing that’s a hard pass. At least I’ve got that pancake tower and I’m sure it will be glorious.