For the Sake of Sanity, Can We Spread Some of This Cheer Around?

christmas cat

In the last 24 hours, I have:

  • bought cupcakes for Carlos’ class party
  • talked to my therapist about how to deal with grief at the holidays
  • made two wreaths to donate to a charity auction
  • texted with my mother to arrange Christmas lunch at Grandmama Irene’s house
  • wrapped gifts that my department is donating to a family in need
  • texted with my siblings to talk about how we’re going to get through Christmas Eve
  • explained why the elf didn’t move
  • drawn a red nose on my son for his school sing along then sat with him as he refused to both sing and go along (but we had a good time anyway)
  • made “reindeer food” with his classmates and decorated ice cream cone trees with green frosting and candies
  • performed my day job, which includes helping with the holiday party for 3000+ employees, advertising the carolers who visit the hospital, finding a photo of a surgeon in an ugly sweater, evacuating the building because someone’s kid pulled a fire alarm in midwifery, encouraging Toys for Tots donations, etc etc
  • picked up a plate of sweet treats from my friend Jo’s baking extravaganza
  • sung along┬áto “A Very Soulful Christmas” with songs like “Back Door Santa” and Otis Redding’s “White Christmas”
  • wrapped 21 Little Golden Books for C’s classmates
  • agreed to make two more wreaths for the auction because we don’t have as many as we did last year and WHY NOT??

This last week of school before the Christmas break is NUTS. I know people are celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Yule, solstice, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas (…and the list goes on) for religious or cultural reasons right now, but why have we attached so many other activities to this time? Many of the things that have become associated with the holiday season don’t have to be tied specifically to Christmas.

I say we spread some of the holiday cheer around to other months–for the sake of our sanity and to inject some fun into the more neglected days on the calendar.

January – My friend got “elfed” the other night. It’s a game her neighborhood is playing where you leave a stocking of treats on the doorstep and challenge the recipient to “elf” two houses the next night. It’s a cute idea and all but who has time in December? I suggest we move this to New Year’s Eve. You sneak 100 firecrackers onto your neighbor’s front porch with a long fuse and a note that says, “You’ve Been Banged! Go bang your neighbors!”

February – Instead of Christmas cards, let’s send Valentines to each other. Include a gorgeous picture of your family, wearing all those new clothes they got for Christmas. And we all will have had six weeks to lose a few pounds after Thanksgiving and Christmas!

March – March is the perfect month for neighborhood potlucks and office parties. People need to let off some steam after the long winter. Let’s make office parties like grown up prom!

April – April Fools Day and Earth Day are both woefully under-celebrated. Let’s schedule big family dinners on April Fools Day so we can play pranks and get liquored up and tell funny stories. On Earth Day, how about we go outside and decorate a tree. If you don’t have a tree, plant one!

May – May is for MOTHER’S DAY and nothing else. In fact, let’s look into expanding this one.

June – Canned food drives always happen in November, around Thanksgiving. But food banks need support throughout the year. I say we move food drives to June and while we’re at it, we work in a community garden too!

July – Caroling moves to July. The weather is nice, the days are long so it’s safe to walk from house to house. There are tons of patriotic songs out there. Why not get all the neighborhood kids who do marching band to put on an impromptu show? Sparklers and singing!

August – This is the month to focus on teacher gifts. Instead of drowning our teachers in bath oils, infinity scarves and coffee gift cards in December, let’s treat them at the start of the school year. It will help ease the pain of saying goodbye to summer. If your kids are handfuls like mine, starting the year by greasing the wheel is a pretty wise investment.

September – Now it’s time for baking! Let’s make all those candies, cakes and cookies in September to celebrate the end of swimsuit season!

October – Forget about Elf on the Shelf. Get your family a Ghoul on a Stool. This terrifying stuffed toy (with optional shrieking) sneaks around your house at night to make sure kids stay in their beds. The Ghoul doesn’t tattle to Santa–it handles shit right then and there. Eats your kid’s face right off if they get out of line. By the time Halloween rolls around, your kids will be fighting over who gets to take out the trash. They won’t be sleeping, but they’ll behave.

November – It’s the perfect month for school programs, orchestra concerts, dance recitals, middle school poetry slams. All the events that require parents to sit on narrow chairs in an overheated gymnasium will be moved to November.

December – Now it’s time for Christmas and we’ve actually got time for Christmas because we moved all that other stuff around the year. Breathe in, breathe out. Every one is a gift.


5 thoughts on “For the Sake of Sanity, Can We Spread Some of This Cheer Around?

  1. Jill

    I have heard of banging your neighbors, but it wasn’t at all like you described. I am 100% on board with your whole proposal.

  2. Kathryn

    Love this Ashley. Giving you a cyber hug. Another option for October is getting Boozed for Halloween. A friend had this happen.They got a ding dong ditch ring and found a bottle of wine and two beers with a cute note and a request to pass it along.

  3. Chris

    What you describe is a mom’s life well lived, but I definitely see merit in assigning some of the heavier activities to other months throughout the year instead of adding more to December. We could start a ‘movement,’ or would that just be something else to do?

    Merry Christmas, Ashley.


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