Who thought it was a good idea to put Thanksgiving so close to Christmas? The Canadians are smart, their Thanksgiving is in October, putting more than eight weeks between the two holidays. I’d like that, I feel like I need more than eight weeks to recover from Thanksgiving, yet I only have about eight days, less even, before I’m thrown into the next holiday frenzy.
I really shouldn’t complain. My Thanksgiving is tiny compared to most. Dinner for five, two house guests for two to three days, easy-peasy, right? Yes and no.
Every year our house guests are my in-laws. Lovely people, though slightly neurotic, and even after 22 years of marriage to their son, I still feel like my house needs to be spotless when they visit. A week of shopping, cleaning and laundry prior to their arrival usually makes me feel confident that I’m prepared properly, and then she arrives and starts talking about the leaves.
My mother-in-law is so tidy and clean she tries to control the leaves on her trees. She is so worried her yard looks too messy between leaf pick-up one and two that she cancels social engagements with friends because she doesn’t want them to see her disorganized yard. While she’s telling this story, I’m noticing cobwebs in corners I missed, spots on light fixtures I should have wiped and, of course, the leaves in my backyard.
But they love my Thanksgiving dinner. I’m sure that far makes up for my less than picture-perfect house. I do every dish from scratch, favorite recipes I could now make blind folded. It’s probably enough food for 10. The following day I take the turkey carcass and make broth, the day after that I take two quarts of that broth and the leftover turkey and make gumbo. I must fill and empty the dishwasher a dozen times over a few days. I know I run it three times on Thanksgiving Day alone.
So how is it fair after all that pre-cleaning, decorating, cooking and post-cleaning I have to turn around a couple of days later and get ready for yet another holiday? I still have fine crystal glasses sitting on my counter that need washing, too delicate for the dishwasher. I still have leftovers in the fridge and china on the dining room table.
I carried the boxes of Christmas decorations out of the basement, but they’re still sitting unopened. I put out my happy holidays gift tag-shaped welcome mat, but I haven’t taken the corn stalks off my porch pillars yet. I bought Christmas stamps at the post office but haven’t ordered any cards. I definitely suffer from pre-Christmas procrastination.
I’ll get it all done though, I do every year. While I sit here wallowing in procrastination and jealously watch other houses getting decorated, I know full well my hesitancy will only lead to anxiety, but I still don’t change my ways.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll finally get those dishes and glasses put away. Maybe I’ll get some lights hung or buy the tree. Or I’ll buy a few more gifts, maybe make a list. Thanksgiving is done, Christmas is coming, whether I like it or not.