After Novemberance Day, people really seem to get in the holiday mood. They start shopping, decorating, sending out greeting cards over a month early (hi, April!), and generally sortof freaking out. Small talk invariably turns to "preparedness" - "What are your holiday plans?" "Are you ready for Christmas?" "How is your planning coming along?" Like there's a war or a zombie apocalypse brewing rather than a mid-winter calorie-and-booze fest.
I'm generally pretty organized, so most years when people start asking those kinds of things I first carefully gauge their level of panic to decide whether or not I should tell them I finished prepping back in October. By the end of November, I'm typically left with the tasks of walking my long-completed stack of holiday cards to the mailbox and setting up a tree. (Then writing about the tree.) Easy!
This year, those folks can go ahead and hate me for a different reason entirely: this year, I'm not planning anything at all. Sure, I'll take my stack of cards to the mailbox this weekend (yup, they're already done), but other than that, nada. Instead, I'm taking the family on a tropical beach vacation.
Because I paid for the trip back in February, this has lifted the holiday planning burden from my shoulders for the entire year - there has been no stocking up on stocking stuffers, no buying an extra of anything "just in case", no warehousing of baking supplies. Why bother? We're not going to be here! This is shaping up to be the single most stress-free holiday season I have ever experienced.
And speaking of shaping up, I know lots of folks (okay, women) who count down the weeks to their tropical beach vacations with a punishing schedule of salads and gym visits so they can lose "those last five pounds" or "look hot in a bikini". Ironically, witnessing this phenomenon has also lifted a holiday planning burden from my shoulders, one that I didn't even know I had - I am so far, so light-years away from a bikini body that there is no point in even bothering with the pretense of the gym in the coming weeks. Sure, pass the cookie tin, 'cause why the hell not? And what is this "base tan" you speak of, anyway? Turns out, I don't have to do anything to prepare for this vacation. I worked hard, I earned it, I'm going to darn well enjoy it, and no "last eighty pounds" are going to stand in my way!
Sure, I'll be hitting the gym and the salad bar again come January. But for now, it's Mele Kalikimaka to all and to all a good night.