Preparations …

Did you know that the Twelve Days of Christmas does not, in fact, start the twelve days before Christmas? Rather, it begins on Christmas Day and ends on the evening of January 5th, known as Twelfth Night, which is then followed by the Feast of Epiphany.

This seems rather festive to me and makes me a bit happy because I wouldn’t mind a reason to extend the Christmas celebration through the last week of December. As it is, my decorations usually don’t come down until well into the first few weeks of January (late enough to not feel like we’ve rushed through the season but early enough to not feel like we’re THOSE people with our decorations up in March).

I like the idea of an extended celebration because I always feel like there’s so much we do to lead up to Christmas and then BAM, it’s all over in one day. If there’s ever a feeling of letting the air out of balloon, it’s Christmas Day (and Thanksgiving, too, because it seems you do all of that cooking only to finish eating in an under an hour). It’s always a GOOD day but it’s always over so quickly in my mind, especially with all the work I’ve put into it.

I’ve really tried to make things easy this year. I was very lucky to have money set aside solely for Christmas by mid-November so I was pretty much seventy-five percent done by Thanksgiving. I didn’t go out Black Friday shopping – never have and never will (attribute it to working retail during high school and college and not having much interest in the deals that they are offering mainly because we didn’t need or want anything that badly). I actually did the majority of my shopping online (Amazon is my secret lover these days if you count the number of packages it’s been leaving on my doorstep) and have only went out shopping one day where it was in and out of the three stores I needed to go, since I can’t really buy things like stocking stuffers online.

I did take the day off on Black Friday but I stayed home and put up all of the inside decorations. So we’ve be done with those for about three weeks. Steve put up the outside decorations the week after Thanksgiving, much to his chagrin (we have those white metal lighted reindeer and every year he swears he’s done with them – I keep expecting them to be strung up from the porch). I have shipped the gifts that need to go, planned the menus for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. All of the gifts except a few last minute ones are wrapped and under tree. Now all that’s left is to hurry up and wait.

I am ok with this, for the most part. Being super prepared is both a gift and a curse. On one hand, I have time to enjoy the fun things about the season – the Festival of Lights, driving around neighborhoods and looking at decorations, going to Christmas parties, baking and cooking. Playing way more Modern Warfare 3 [1. This game is turning into an addiction. I used to play recreationally, for the most part. I would join Steve in a game here and there and it was more Halo than anything. Than he got me into Call of Duty and now, I can play it for hours online. I’m the highest rank I’ve ever been and I swear, there are times where I sit down and play by myself. It’s awful but it’s so much fun! Also, if you haven’t seen this trailer, go watch it. This is Steve and I down to the details with him being The Vet and me being the Noob. Hands down one of the best game trailers I’ve seen!] than anyone should. Catching up on Dexter because most of the TV we watch is on winter hiatus. Watching movies with Steve.

On the other hand, I feel like I shouldn’t be done so when I’m out in the stores to pick up normal everyday items, I’m like, oh, this would perfect! Just one more thing. Or when Zoya runs another one of their FlashPromos, I’m resisting the urge to buy presents for every single female I know. Or I’m panicking because maybe I didn’t write my menu down correctly and my grocery list is going to be wrong and then Steve will have to go out to the store last minute for something as small as cranberry sauce and we’ll have a repeat of the Cosby Show or any other sitcom from my childhood (seriously, pick anyone and I guarantee that scenario exists).

#firstworldproblems, I know. Also, #ocdtypeaperfectionistproblems

Regardless, both of us are still really, really looking forward to this Christmas. We are not traveling anywhere, instead choosing to stay home and build on our traditions from last year. We like to cook a nice, small dinner on Christmas Eve then sit around and drink and watch our favorite Christmas movie. Then we get up early, open presents and watch the dogs tear into their stocking. We would go to my mom’s but I told her I’d like to cook Christmas dinner this year because I want to try my hand at being the cook, so I have a great meal planned and they will be over with my little brother to consume it and open more presents and maybe play some Kinect and build some gingerbread houses and generally just enjoy our time together.

We also still have parties to go to, both for my work and his. His is downtown on a weeknight so we’ll be like real grown ups that DO THINGS. Mine is at the county park where the Festival of Lights is, so we’ll get to see the displays twice this year. And then another one downtown the week of Christmas which will be in our rooftop hotel that overlook the city, so I’m looking forward to that. And the greatest thing about Charleston is that December means oyster season which means most holiday celebrations are actually oyster roasts – oyster roasts are messy and dirty and usually outside. So, I don’t have to get dressed up and buy fancy clothes and can instead wear jeans and a pretty sweater and scarf. Perfect for a non-heel wearing girl like me!

Overall, we are really prepared this holiday season and I am so happy and grateful that we have the means to be. I really do enjoy this time of year, especially when the build up has calmed and I can sit down by the fire with a nice glass of wine and Elf on my TV and just marvel at all of the twinkling lights and shiny garland draped in my house.

It is, truly, the most wonderful time of the year!

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