I hate to admit it, but lately I've had a hard time finding my Christmas spirit.
It's not that Scrooge has taken over. It's that all of the gift buying and present wrapping and package mailing just seems like that much more on my already-long to-do list.
I'm all about the planning -- I've had things planned out for months. Batches of homemade jams and chutneys and pickles were canned back when the weather was still warm. I've had other little gifts ready to go for weeks. I made candies yesterday -- can't really do candies too far in advance. My dining room has turned into Santa's workshop, with boxes and ribbons and cellophane bags ready to hold all the treats.
But instead of being good to go, I've ground to a halt.
This Christmas stuff... what, just a few weeks ago, was fun and festive, now seems an awful lot like work.
Like most working moms, when it comes to work, I'm full-up without adding anything related to the holidays.
Lest some crutch-wielding waif starts getting on my case, though (I'm looking at you, Tiny Tim), I've tried to jump-start my holiday motor.
On Saturday, before the latest Nor'Easter hit New England, I went out and bought The Tree, and my husband dragged the snow-covered fir inside and soon the whole house smelled fresh and piney. That was a boost.
Yesterday, while the snow flew and the winds raged outside, I candied orange peels and dipped them in chocolate while my youngest two kids raced around the kitchen like a couple of tiny, sugar-fueled banshees. There's nothing like loud, excited, happy children to make you remember what the holidays are about.
When it got dark, I strung the lights on The Tree, declared it officially Christmastime, and gained the undying admiration of my 3-year-old for creating a "twinkly tree" of our very own. She helped me decorate it, happily hanging everything on the same two branches. When we were done, we fished the bits of tinsel out of the 1-year-old's gaping maw, turned out the lights, turned up the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and admired our handiwork.
I never thought to hang all of the red ornaments in the same place before, but it looks kinda festive.
And, you know what? I think I feel a little Christmas spirit coming on.