This year marked our first Christmas (as parents) that we were on our own for Christmas. Meaning, in our own house, with nowhere else to be.
It was a lot of work. A lot. What, with three rounds of gift opening and the accompanying piles of discarded paper and packaging, chaotic video chats with far-away grandparents, and trying to create a holiday-worthy meal.
Oh, and attempting to upgrade the house to a state of semi-squalor. Lest my mom walk through the door on Christmas Day, after traveling for ten hours, and walk right out again.
It’s amusing, standing by – helplessly – as my ambitious to-do list crumbles before my eyes.
I began the day with high hopes of achieving a clean guest room, clean house, Christmas breakfast, Christmas dinner, and finishing my mom’s gift and picking her up at the airport.
Fifteen minutes before I was due to leave for the airport, I had to concede that I was running out of time. ‘Christmas breakfast’ had turned into sub-par Christmas scones. ‘Clean guest room’ morphed into clearing the bed of all my craft debris and changing the sheets. ‘Clean house’ was reduced to cleaning the toilet and the sink in the main level bathroom.
Oh, and washing the rug after the Hen barfed upon it. ‘It was the kale’, the professor tried to convince me. (Me thinks he has ulterior motives.) By the time we sat down for dinner, I was more interested in putting my head on the table than eating whatever was on my plate.
When we retired for the evening, I warned the professor: ‘you’re getting up with the kids tomorrow’.
And then it was Boxing Day. Our boy-children gave us the best gift of all and slept in until 8. I went downstairs to make coffee and then I went back to bed. With my excellent coffee in a brand-new mug. And my overdue library book. Eventually my guilty conscience steered me downstairs. To share the oatmeal the professor had made for me with our youngest elf.
Followed by a cutthroat game of Qwirkle with my mom and the boys.
‘Boxing Day is so much better than Christmas,’ I thought to myself. Because Christmas isn’t a whole lot of fun when you’re a parent, (or hosting a bunch of people at your house). But Boxing Day is the best day. Ever.
There are leftovers in the fridge. The kids are playing with the presents they received the previous day. They’ve stopped being crazed-balls-of-energy operating on far too little sleep. All the wrapping paper and packaging has been put in the recycling bin. And, save a load or three of laundry, and an early-afternoon sledding excursion, there’s nothing that needs to be done.
Except finish that book before the library cancels my membership.