Wednesday, December 11, 2013


It's one thing to have a really harsh stretch of cold days, but usually we only endure 3-5 of them each winter here in Wisconsin.  This year we've had nothing but frigid.  The edges of every room are chilly, there is no insulation thick enough, no wall dense enough to keep the bitter below-zero air at bay.  Everything is harder right now, even the lightest errand is a stiff and difficult struggle when it gets this cold and stays this cold so many days in a row.

Naturally, we're supposed to be preparing for Christmas, but we haven't.  We can't!  We haven't a strand of lights, a bough of evergreen--no wreath, no ribbon, no shred of festive cheer on our front porch.  I barely have the wherewithal to fill the bird feeders and run out the garbage.  I'd love our house to look like this, but we're in survival mode.  Survivors don't have time for frills.  We're too busy shoveling driveways and doing laundry and fixing supper to tie bows and string garland.

Add the equivalent of full-time work to my plate this month, basketball schedules and the holiday extras like concerts and such, and we were lucky to even trim our Christmas tree.  We managed to squeeze in the tree trimming between basketball games and practices over the weekend, and I felt a tiny surge of joy.  See? I told myself, You're freaking out over nothing.  Christmas is easy--baby steps--get the tree up, then bake a couple dozen cookies, get gifts next week, wrap them.  It's fine.  You'll be fine!  It will all get done.  Just sip some egg nog and ENJOY the season!

 A few hours later, that fully decked-out fir, bedazzled with lights and ornaments and holiday cheer, slumped to its side.  The tree stand cracked and Eileen (which is what I named our tree) crashed against the wall.

Eileen the Christmas tree.
That happened on Saturday night.  It's Wednesday afternoon and we have no concrete plans of how get the tree standing straight.  Will it be easier to try lifting it fully decorated into a new stand and hope nothing gets damaged in the move?  Or undecorate, reset, and redecorate?  We haven't been home long enough to decide and I don't even care.  I can't care.  The tree leans.  The shopping list collects dust while I collect a paycheck.  I'm blasted with extra errands this time of year: find two ugly sweaters for one party (hahaha) and bake a couple dozen cookies for another, return the WRONG item via the post office and order the right one so Mr. G isn't disappointed and scrounge for an extra card so I can tip our newspaper delivery lady.  The boys need to bring in stuff for the angel tree at school and remember pajama day, too!

I used to mock people who'd hire a service to decorate their house for the holidays.  Isn't that part of the fun of Christmas?  Why wouldn't you want to do that for yourself and enjoy the tradition?  Who'd want to celebrate Christmas by proxy?  

Oh.  I get it.  I GET IT.  

So, right now we have a tree that leans.  No outside decorations.  No wrapped presents.  No fudge or caramel corn or candles or garland.  I'll get to the post office, the store, the Salvation Army kettle.  I'll clear the ice from our front porch, get the guy over to fix the fireplace and keep the bird feeders full.  This might be year all our  cookies are store-bought and we don't watch It's A Wonderful Life.  It won't matter.  Christmas will come in two weeks, and the only thing I really need to have ready is my heart.  I'm learning to let go of the rest.


  1. I'm right there with you and Eileen. Eileen is either relaxing, or leaning against the wall for support. We haven't been hammered by snow, but it's bitter cold here, and hard to run errands. I'm also learning to let go of what doesn't get done.

  2. Oh gosh.... and it's such a pretty tree too, with great decorations. Good luck finding a fix for the problem... tie it to the ceiling perhaps? LOL

  3. Sending 50 degree thoughts from northern Cal where it's been cold but nothing like what you are going thru. I hope it warms up soon for the rest of the country.

  4. We are having a heat wave today we are at 1 above zero. Headed back into the basement for temps tonight. I have the exact same issues as far as getting things done. very hard to do in temps this cold, and so early in the winter too. Farmguy tried to set a couple extra fence posts yesterday to keep the errant cattle where they belongs. Not going to happen, the ground is froze solid.
    As for the tree, well, depends on just how much hands you have to hold it steady while someone(s) lift it from one stand to another. My suggestion, is to remove any breakables and leave the rest in place.
    As for the rest of Christmas, tons of cookies are great, but they take time, and there are other more important things to deal with. In correct gifts can be exchanged after if need be, you never know, you might have the right one after all.
    Another option is the wrapped box with a note inside, yeah, not the kids' most favorite thing, but they will understand as long as that isn't the only thing under the tree. I wrapped a brick once with a note tied to it, the gift showed up the day after Christmas.

  5. I say, let as much go as you can. As for shopping, sit down with your laptop and your credit card one night and do it all in one fell swoop.

  6. I am with you. Except next year, I might hire myself out as one of those decorating services.

    I managed to get out and get some shopping done yesterday. I baked cookies for the orchestra concert last night- I've decided those count as cookies until Edie can get some made when school is out.

  7. I am so with you except for It's a Wonderful Life. that's actually one of the very few must-do items on my Christmas season list.

  8. I haven't started shopping. I haven't even decided what ANYONE is getting for Christmas.
    I have doctor appointments, a really bad sore throat and I have become doggy day care for my daughter's new dog. He has really bad separation depression.

    I don't stress about Christmas anymore. Sometimes I cross undone things off the list and say "maybe next year".

    As for Eileen..I vote to leave her decorated and carefully lift her into a new stand. The big people can lift the tree and the little guy can crawl under and place the stand.

  9. Let it go. Stick a can of V8 by Eileen and call it a day.

  10. Oh, giiiiiirl! I hear you!!!!!
    This weekend I have my Christmas concert with the symphony. My rehearsal is at 6:30 tonight (probably til 10) and then tomorrow is the concert. Todd and the kids aren't coming because I thought it would be a bit long for them to sit through. I knew Todd was chomping at the bit to go up north so I told him he should take the kids up. I figured that would give me all Saturday morning/afternoon to get some Christmas shopping done (I have NOTHING yet. NOTHING!!!!), get my Christmas cards out, bake some cookies and peppermint bark, and then get to my concert. Of course now there is a winter storm headed out way that is supposed to dump 4-6 inches on us. Unfortunately I can't work the snowplow thingie (the level that lifts the plow is so heavy that Todd has to stand to do it and I have NO CHANCE of doing it over and over again) so I will be using our tiny snowblower to clear our driveway so I can get myself to my concert. Ugh. Go figure. I'm praying that all the weathermen are WRONG and we only get a dusting.
    I have NO IDEA when I will be getting all this stuff done, but I'm over worrying about it. Seriously. It is what it is. It'll get done, somehow. And so will you!
    Good luck to us both. :)

  11. I guess this is one Christmas when you really need to keep the spirit of it in mind and never mind about the trappings. It may be the one you remember most in years to come. Guess what matters the most in the end? I think a good meal and the fact that you will all be safely together. That is worth all the gifts in the world.

  12. The last couple of years I have not been as on top of things I would like. I'm trying to be easy on myself and just do what I can. Christmas should be fun not stressful. I keep reminding myself it's okay of the only outside lights are the few I put on the porch and everyone doesn't need fancy Pinterest inspired handmade gifts. :)

  13. I like Eileen just the way she is! She's perfect. ♥
    I feel like you -- way too much of everything taking up my time. The 17yo just asked if his girlfriend could come over for a few hours. I said yes, and would the 2 of you please go to the store, get the ingredients and then make the Christmas cookies to take to church tomorrow? Because otherwise it was not going to happen. (The 3 teens put up our tree last weekend. I'm learning how to take advantage of them.) Without my husband retired and usually shopping/cooking some of the meals, we probably would be running out of groceries.
    I only got to watch the first half of "It's A Wonderful Life" last year. I simply envisioned the ending from memory.
    So I understand. You are not alone. Your tree is gorgeous just the way she is -- and I bet it will make some really fun memories for when your kids are grown up with their own families!
    Also, the chocolate bar arrived last night and it is delicious. I hope you bought one for yourself, too! Happy Advent, Merry Christmas, and RELAX when you can. ♥

  14. I just wrote a comment and I think Google ate it. :(

    Basically, I love Eileen just the way she is and she will help make some wonderful memories to laugh about ten years from now. Or even this year!
    I'm with you on the BUSY! BUSY! BUSY! and sad about the favorite movie lack of watching.
    I hope my other comment shows up, but I think it was truly eaten by Google.

  15. Your tree is charming, and will create a nice memory placeholder for your family. "Oh, that was the Christmas we had the leaning tree." It sucks that the weather won't let you get out to decorate, but ultimately that's less stuff for you to have to undo in January.


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