In the front of my house, sit two happy pumpkins. They were never carved, just placed carefully into empty planters. I realize that Christmas is on it's way like a runaway train, but I have not had time to deal with those pumpkins. The jack-o-lanterns we carved were composted long ago, but rather than stare at empty planters, I allow the pumpkins to stay. They may be completely rotted through. They may turn to dust when I finally touch them, and yet there they remain, a friendly reminder of everything I'm not accomplishing.
My Christmas tree is in my garage, fully decorated, wrapped up (don't knock it until you try it). I don't know when I will get the chance to bring it inside. We have all been sick for a month now, with head colds, flus, inner ear infections, tonsillitis, throat infections, rotten moods, and exhaustion. It's dreary, it's cold, and two days ago I fell asleep whilst ordering groceries online... so it's also been thrilling. I think we are leaning toward full hibernation mode, but I cannot stop making plans, even if they involve castle visiting with various penicillin doses brought along.
On Wednesday I visited Chipping Campden with a good friend. It was snowing large fluffy flakes for most of the drive. The countryside looked like a quilt of white and green. I don't have any fear of driving in snow in the UK after driving to Scarborough, North Yorkshire, and back, alone with my children last spring during snowstorms, so I really enjoyed the picturesque views and cheery conversation- despite the narrowing roads . In Chipping Campden, we listened to Christmas music and drank tea in adorable pubs by roaring fireplaces. We bought jams, jellys, and chocolate frogs from a shop where the elderly woman behind the counter didn't even bother to count out change but loved to chat. The village looked like something out of a Christmas illustration. Then I was called home early to pick up a poorly child and it was back to reality and those pumpkins.
Orange is one of my favourite colours, and I don't see why it cannot enter the Christmas canon. I love bowls full of mandarin oranges or clementines this time of year. Perhaps if I add a bit of sparkle or twinkly lights to those pumpkins they won't look so out of place.
Canada Post is on strike and most reports state that packages will not get to their destinations within Canada by Christmas this year. This is not helping me with my project avoidance and anxiety surrounding Christmas. Also, Canada Post, last year you were not on strike, but half of my family got their packages in January, even though they all live in the same city and I sent the packages all on the same day. Dear Family, I love you all, but you may not get your gifts until the new year. Also, as soon as anyone wants to stop the tradition of gift exchange, please let me know! I don't want anything except for sleep. In my perfect Christmas paradise, gifts are for Santa and children, and the rest of us just drink a lot of mulled wine and relax instead of torturing ourselves. Yes, I have seen the new Grinch film. No, I do not see the resemblance.
November is increasingly becoming my least favourite month, and although I love the holidays, I find myself longing for quiet boring January. I feel like January is overlooked. A few years ago I realized that I quite enjoy January, the house is cleaner, everything feels like a fresh start, your social obligations slow down and you eat less cheese and pastries and instantly feel healthier.
I want to enjoy Christmas. I want to have the time to connect with my children and my partner in a relaxed way. I know we will get there, we always do, it's just hard to see it through the marathon that comes before.
To all those overwhelmed and overworked parents out there, and that's all parents I am sure, it's okay. It's fine if you still have pumpkins out or have not begun Christmas shopping. If you don't get your Christmas cards out on time or don't do Christmas cards, if you bake, or end up buying bakery items from the store, if you leave your Christmas food order too late and all that's left is fish fingers (this may be me this year), if you plan three family Christmas activities and your partner warns you that is his limit, if you mean to call your parents and your sisters but usually fall asleep instead due to the time difference, if you forget a dose of medication or go to the doctor four times in one week... it's all okay. You will survive, and you are amazing. You are the true heroes of Christmas. You and those pumpkins.