♪ ♫"It's the most pressure-filled tiiiiime of the year..." ♫ ♪

It is December 22nd and I have not sent out a Christmas card. I have the cards, I think I have the stamps, and I have the addresses (somewhere, written down or on labels ripped from envelopes of cards people have sent me), but it seems that my procrastinating tendencies are setting me up to fail once again. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me, but every year it gets worse. It’s just one more thing to do piled on top of many more. I feel like everything was late this year. We didn’t get a tree until the evening of the 18th, which upset my husband like you wouldn’t believe. The original tree-killing date was the 13th, but it rained, and since it was a Sunday, we figured there wouldn’t be time to get a tree during daylight hours until the following weekend. My husband even threatened to go to a lot with pre-cut trees. This is the devil to me. We live less than five miles from an orchard with Christmas trees. I love the idea of walking through rows of living trees and finding the one you choose to sacrifice. The choosing is sort of done for you already when you go to a tree lot. I don’t like that you have no idea how long those trees have been sitting there, already cut, dropping their needles and drying out like nobody’s business. I don’t really think it’s so awful to get a pre-cut tree, but it reminds me of how my father would haggle the poor tree lot person for a bargain. If it was December 23rd
(yes, we really did wait till the eve of Christmas Eve to get the tree one year) chances were those trees left on the lot were as good as mulch. I remember one year (it was probably the same year but the haggling was an annual event) the tree cost only $20. We waited until late in the game to get a tree and this was done only to ensure that we got a deal. You can’t really haggle when the trees still have their roots and will live to see another year.

There is a lot of pressure during this time of year. I will admit that a lot of it is self-imposed and exasperated because I’m a procrastinator, but there is an expectation that you will send cards and give gifts in a timely manner. You have to be on top of things because there aren’t a lot of places selling “Happy New Year!” cards (and damn it, there should be, but never mind that). Sometimes I can’t deal well with expectations. In September, I joined a snail mail music club. Basically you make a mix tape CD of songs from your collection, mail it out to a selected group of people and in return you receive those people’s music. I signed up thinking, Oh, cool, something new and maybe I will get to hear something I would have otherwise missed completely. Some of the songs are absolute gems and you can tell the sender put a lot of care and detail into their selections. I put mine together and sent them off, and then I immediately felt inadequate. What if my mix was pedestrian? I didn’t use a fancy pants labeling kit, I just drew on the CD with a Sharpie. What if every person who got my CD already had that music? There was no theme or rhyme or reason to what I chose. I just picked a bunch of songs in varying genres and that was it. One person sent a Robot Love story of techno songs and artwork. Someone else’s clearly had a punk rock vibe. Mine was a disorganized jumble (“Eclectic mix!”). I am hoping I don’t become the sender no one wants on their list. I vow to do better next time.

I skipped the most recent round of music mail outs. I knew it would be too much for me on top of all of the other stuff that happens around the holidays. I didn’t want the pressure. I also didn’t participate in Secret Santa stuff this year. I have given up on myself in the Secret Santa category because that is too much work. It’s really sweet what some people put together for gifts, but if you say “Thirty dollar limit, these are her favorite colors, she says she likes silver jewelry and chocolate and picture frames” it’s like I can feel the walls closing in. If I have refused to participate in a Secret Santa thing, please trust me that it’s me and not you.

But back to the tree, and the cards. I just feel like a big fat failure. I should be more into the holidays with a four year old in the house, but I’m not feeling it. Maybe the Christmas spirit will finally hit me on the 26th, in true procrastinator style.

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