Helga’s Post # 61:
Pre-holiday party time is upon us in full force, a mere week after American Thanksgiving and Black Friday. A hop, skip and jump from one event to the next without so much as a breather.
The most grueling tasks are rolling in like an avalanche: attending office and social parties, cooking for friends and finding gifts for loved ones in the mere 18 shopping days remaining.
There’s more. Much more. Such as selecting, writing and mailing Christmas cards. Yes, some people do check their mailboxes in anticipation. If you have relatives or friends in Europe, then you are painfully aware of your duty. A word of advice: avoid sending Christmas cards left over from last year’s supply! People do remember. Many have kept their cards and will open those shoe boxes filled with decades of such things. They love to compare! Woe unto you if you sent them the same card as the previous year.
In true Christmas spirit, we also want to decorate our homes. We are good troopers after all, having worked for years (decades) to earn that reputation. Get that plastic tree from the basement, the one purchased over a dozen years ago, or succumb to the pressure from friends (no artificial tree over my dead body!) and spend fifty bucks on a Douglas fir? Then, when all that stress has abated, it’s time to pick up the phone and make excuses when multiple invitations for concurrent dinners and parties arrive.
Have I mentioned baking? Not in your books? Well, I guess then you’re not blessed with friends and relatives from the old country. A Christmas without home baking is the most unimaginable, most blasphemous act you will engage in. People will remember! And talk.
So out come dog-eared recipe pages from decades past, and the shopping for exotic and hard to find ingredients like marzipan starts. Raisins and currents are soaked overnight in dark rum, then the Kitchen-Aid mixer is earning its keep the next day. After a full day of kneading and chopping, and finally baking the product of your hard labour, it’s time for a break. A glass of wine, or something more elaborate.
And the kitchen smells heavenly. Like I’ve arrived in Nirvana when I remove the six loaves of ‘Stollen’.
It’s eight o’clock at night and I recall I was supposed to post my blog. I’m way too tired. I figure, since my posting day is Friday, my followers have all weekend before they can read Silk’s post. And it won’t hurt to give Joe’s followers some extra time before my post arrives. All to say, my tardiness is for a good cause. No harm no foul.
If you guessed that there hasn’t been any time for my writing in recent weeks, you’ve guessed right. But no, that’s not quite accurate. I chose to prioritize my tasks, and that put writing somewhere near the bottom. And it annoys me, because it’s my passion. How can you put your passion on the back burner in favor of writing Christmas cards and shopping, and decorating, and baking?
Commitment. Tradition. Wishing to make people happy. Nostalgia of times past. All mixed with a pinch of guilt. A good thing Christmas comes just once a year. Much as I love it.
So this is my plan: I will reduce some of these tasks that keep me from writing. A Christmas present to myself. Cut back on the decorating. Shop online instead of joining armies of frantic shoppers fighting over parking spots. Give presents in kind instead of more stuff nobody needs. Stuff that needs dusting or cleaning and that ends up on Craig’s List For Sale before the year is over. Donate to the local Food Bank instead.
Spend quality time with people I love.
Maybe I’ll be able to do some of my better writing with that resolve. But before I sit down to write I have to bake that Christmas stollen first. No compromise there. My family and friends would never forgive me.
And this year I won’t do my traditional Christmas wreath for the front door, because we now have a glass door. I miss it though.
How are you dealing with your writing commitment in the midst of this crazy holiday season?