Halloween has come and gone. That means one thing: It’s time for my hubby to start poking me about Christmas. He’s like a big box store. He gets started early luring me into the holiday frenzy—the planning, the shopping, the stressing, all of the above.
I know some of you are probably thinking, “Wow, a spouse who is excited to share what can be a big ol’ seasonal stress show. Poor you.”
The Ghost of Christmas Past will tell you that I have treated his festive enthusiasm as an added burden in my life. Really? Can’t we just enjoy Thanksgiving first? I can’t think about Christmas right now. There’s plenty of time. Relax, would ya?
I was wrong.
Here are three lessons I’ve learned from being married to Mr. Christmas. Thanks, Honey. You’re my own personal Hallmark Christmas movie hero.
Lesson No. 1: There’s no merry in the last minute.
The hubby finishes his shopping early. He wraps gifts for friends and family. He feels like he’s behind if this isn’t done in early December. He makes a plan for delivering gifts to his friends. He likes to get up really early and leave them on doorsteps. Pretty sweet, right?
On the final days leading up to Christmas, he’s only subject to secondhand holiday stress. That’s when he gets to support and soothe my crazed, frantic self. Lucky guy.
I know the thing to say these days is, “You do you.” But this year, I am going to try to be more like him and less like me. Well, minus the really early morning activities. Let’s not get too carried away.
Lesson No. 2: KISS, as in Keep It Simple, Sweetheart.
Christmas is the one holiday that brings all our adult children home—and now, our two adorable grandchildren. It’s a big deal. It feels like it’s my job to make sure that everyone has the most wonderful Christmas EVER. A beautifully decorated home. Incredible treats. Home-cooked meals. Delightful packages. You know, the perfect, Instagram-worthy, magazine-spread holiday. Cue the carolers.
The truth is, I can’t pull it off. I just can’t. And even my beloved rocks can’t make miracles happen. Not to say I don’t try … I stay up way too late to wrap gifts, check shipping status (Amazon Prime, don’t let me down now!!) and sample a few too many baked goods.
Ultimately, I run out of time to make that handmade gift, write those thoughtful cards and prep one of the 15 breakfast casseroles I pinned on Pinterest. Picture a haggard, menopausal elf with one eyelid twitching.
My hubby sees it coming and in his wisdom, he urges me every year to “Keep it simple.” “Don’t take on too much.” “Let it go.”
He’s not stupid. He picks his spots to share his thoughts, and sometimes it’s like he’s approaching a wild animal to gauge its friendliness.
When I listen, it’s a gift.
Lesson No. 3: It’s truly the thought that counts.
We’ve established that the hubby shops for those on his list. He gets items months in advance if he sees something that’s just right. He puts thought into what someone may need or simply enjoy. He texts or emails me ideas for the kids and other people on our lists.
What’s the lesson here? He makes the holiday season a time to think of the people in his life who matter to him. He’ll tell you that his friends put up with him all year, so it’s the least he can do.
Like my Mr. Christmas, I am going to try to slow down and be more thoughtful in my giving this year—to let my heart lead the way and to think carefully before hitting the “Buy Now” button just because it’s a good deal.
What I know for sure: It’s not going to be a perfect holiday, but I am going to be spending it with the most perfect people.
Ho, ho, ho … here we go!
I am Margie Reece. I am here to help you rock your chores and have some fun doing it.