I will admit up front that I am a Christmas procrastinator. However, I do have a couple of not-bad excuses for it. (Of course I have time to make up excuses – I’m not doing much of anything else.)
I have always preferred to do my wrapping all at once. I’m one of those people who has twenty-five different rolls of paper because I love to have all the different colors under the tree. I probably got the idea from TV in the days before I realized those people don’t actually wrap their own stuff. I should look into getting “people” to do it for me. I make a huge mess. Besides, I have to make sure all my daughter’s presents aren’t wrapped in the same paper, don’t I?
I’m also one of those people who likes to see lots of presents under the tree. So I have been known to wrap a stack of books in several different packages. And I like ribbons and bows. And ribbons really do look better if you get the skinny kind and make some of your bows by hand. But that’s a lot of work, so I can’t do it at the same time as I wrap because I would be too tired to care what things look like at the end and get crabby. And my husband says I get crabby enough as it is.
At one point, I was organized enough to get my shopping done by the end of November. Then I got married, got a real job, had kids, and got medicine for being bipolar. (I spend a lot less money, but around the holidays really miss those days when I could get twice as many things done at once.) All of that took up a lot of time. But the final straw came when Rascal moved in.
Rascal was a sweet, lovable cat with one really annoying habit. She never met a ribbon or bow she didn’t want to eat. She also liked opening presents. For years, every bow we had came with teeth marks. Not only that, cats don’t digest ribbon well. So we’d spend a fair amount of time cleaning up cat vomit.
This house has a sun room we can use to store presents. But the first one was really small. It was either wait to wrap the presents or continually repair things with tape. Eventually nothing could be opened without a knife on Christmas morning. Luckily I come from one of those families where the men don’t feel fully dressed unless they have a pocket knife.
I also like to power-bake over a couple of days. Once again, I make a huge mess and would like to limit the clean-up to one major sand-blasting each year. Besides, we want fresh cookies, right? My mother used to make a lot of pressed cookies (the ones that come out of the thing that looks like a lube/grout gun) and Mexican Wedding/Russian Tea Cake cookies. Those cookies start out so dry, no one can tell how old they are (at least hers did). Mine tend more to the chocolate chip/peanut butter variety which don’t hold up so well.
Bottom line? This was my week-end to prepare for Christmas. On Friday, we had a lot of boxes to unload at work. No big deal; I have a brace to wear at night and can barely tell by the next morning. I’d been having a little trouble with my shoulder, but that wasn’t interfering with anything, so I didn’t even consider that. My plan: I’d get up Saturday morning, get to work, and be ready for Christmas Sunday night.
Wrong. Apparently whatever I strained in my shoulder is connected to whatever I hurt in my hand. (Guess the song’s right about the shoulder bone being connected to the elbow, etc.) By 1a Saturday morning, I couldn’t sleep because of the pain. I finally got up about 7a. I could barely move my hand. I wasn’t sure which was worse, the pain or the constant feeling that my arm was ‘waking up’. I tried all those pain relievers (not all at once) that are supposed to allow you ‘to get on with your life’. I had always made the assumption that they meant with minimal pain. I guess it just means they won’t kill you.
My husband told me I should go to the doctor. It was probably good advice, but unless the doctor was going to do the baking I didn’t really see it as a short-term solution. So I did the logical thing – took a couple of muscle relaxers (from the last time I hurt my shoulder) and slept most of the day. I didn’t get anything done, but I didn’t care.
So, now it is Sunday morning. My arm feels a lot better, but I have a hang-over from the muscle relaxers. I wonder how the family would feel about having all the presents in a giant box. They could guess which present was meant for which person.