As you all may have gathered through statuses and countdowns, I am a right jolly old elf during the holidays. Though I am not really all that old, neither am I forever jolly, but I do try to keep the magic and the spirit alive during this time of year. It is not always easy, I too can get stressed out, annoyed and turn altogether grinchy when overwhelmed. I do however, try to start out December filled with good cheer and like every month up until this last one, I spend an awful lot of time giving myself pep talks! So, while the time is crunching down, the clocks ticking away nearly to the hour, I thought I would list my 12 greatest Positive Thoughts for this year!
I will start with the negative- changing to the positive!
1. The mess before the big clean
Perhaps it is just me, but I doubt it, in order to decorate you must clean first. Then once the decorating starts you have bins and boxes, tissue and bubble wrap, every place you look. With The Boss Baby leaving a path of destruction, it feels like it will never stay clean, that it is pointless. So I don't! That's right, you heard me! We don't until Christmas Eve. We wait for that last night, to make everything perfect. It won't stay that way for long, but when I sit down after all my busy elf work is finished and I look around, Christmas is everywhere. Toys are in their place, the bins and boxes that held all our treasures are hidden, the table is set with that beautiful forest green table cloth and my Christmas runner. Perfection! I sigh with the knowledge that at least it will look nice in photos before the children destroy it again.
2. Shopping! Malls, department stores, people, oh my!
I don't hate shopping, I love to shop in fact! Just not during the last rush before Christmas. People are not my favorite thing during the off season, but they are way worse during this mad dash of congested malls and overrun parking lots. People get too close for my comfort. Stores are not only crowded, they are a crazy mess. However, I go at it like I am on a treasure hunt, horribly written Christmas lists in hand, a map of the mall in the other. I have a mission! Get the things, then find other things! Sometimes, I just trip over them, like the year I found the Linus Blanket for The Husband! I was shoved aside by some rude lady in the music store at the mall, right over a box almost abused in the crush. Something made me pick it up, and man, it was just what he needed, or would love! A blue Linus blanket, in a gigantic box. I knew he wanted a replacement blanket, for the one that had already been a replacement! How perfect! So, with a mission, don't think about the chaos, think about the treasures, and don't forget to drop some of those buy one get one free deals off with the Veteran Marines for Toys for Tots!
3. Wrapping- never ending... torture?
In the last few years we had managed to wait till nearly the last night to wrap. It could go two ways, we were either cursing out the wrapping, with rushed anxiety crushing our spirit, knowing in a few hours all our hard work would be torn through and unappreciated or The Husband would find me, asleep on top of a roll of gift wrap, after trying to complete it all after a 16 hour shift after 11 days of the same unholy hours! Paper cuts and lost tape aside; some of our greatest moments have been locked away in our room doing our elf work, like a assembly line. Laughing together, pausing to be a little naughty. Even just being by myself, I always put on Hallmark Channel, watched some Christmas movie and got to enjoy the quiet, only hiding away for hours can give! Oh, yes, I really like that positive note on wrapping.
4. Trimming the Tree- Why bother?
The last 5 years, my tree has looked well, like a beautifully decorated tree! This year, with a destruct-o toddler running about, it is a depressing half decorated, drooping boughs, excuse of a tree. I walk past it and cringe at it being on display when Santa comes! Just decorating it was was a hassle, a rushed, "we want to do it now, mommy!!" Fiasco! The boxes didn't just smell like the basement, they were lined with the damp scent of mold! I felt my sinuses erupt into chaos the second I entered the room. As I pulled out their very first ornaments to hang upon the tree, I waited with my breath held as they inched towards the branches. First The Oldest, then Smiles, Inch and... oh no, there was no ornament for The Boss!! Not only did I not want to decorate the tree in this let's do it now fashion, but the negative crept in, the guilt overwhelming! I took a deep breath, as the boys set out with wild abandon, hanging every ornament they could get their hands on. At the end, and some careful rearranging, since everything was all together in one section, I just left it. It is their tree, not mine! It is their memories we are building! And although, they leave chaos in their wake, it is a beautiful sight! As long as you look at it through squinted eyes!
Every year since I first joined The Pack we have thrown a Christmas party. And every year, I stress over it, get overwhelmed, counting the hours till it's over, hope it's better next year. My first year as Cubmaster we did a secret Santa! Never again! I try to teach the boys about giving, about the thought behind a gift, yet someone always ruins it. Now we only give. Of course, they receive from me and The Pack, but my positive is the 3 bags of toys we Donated to Toys for Tots, the three frozen Turkeys waiting to be given to the food bank, the 9 baskets we filled for the family shelter, the 25 homemade cards that will be delivered to the local VA hospital! It's the spirit of giving that means the most to me, that I hold on to throughout the whole season!
6. Teachers gifts
My boys teachers are more than deserving of gifts, all year long, especially Smiles' teacher, saints! However, almost every year I forget, or I run out the night before the last day and I grab whatever is left, shove it in a bag and hope! This year, with the help of my mother(another Saint) they made presents! GIFTS FROM THE HEART! For every.single.teacher! Teachers aides and gym, music, art.... if they bought lunch those ladies would have gotten gifts too! I am shocked they stopped there. That they didn't do secretary, principal and janitors too! The joy though, the knowledge that my boys love to give! That is my positive thought, I am cherishing that one for sure!
We have Christmas traditions and some of them didn't happen this year, which believe me, those boys noticed! Like going going to see Santa at the Mall- for overpriced pictures that I forget to give out. Most kids don't like that tradition, but to my boys, even the ones who may only believe for my benefit, they look forward to it! Every year. So I am holding out for the other traditions, like piling into the car to go in search of decorated houses, making cookies for Santa, gingerbread houses- the special Christmas eve delivery of pajamas. Oh wait! If you are over 7 they no longer make Christmas pajamas for you unless custom ordered? The pain in my head was real after the 6 store search, and nothing could be found. Traditions can and will add to the stress! However, we are determined and like the shopping treasure hunt, we will make it happen! So positive- Never give up, never surrender!
Every year we go a little crazy! What I mean is, The Husband goes nuts with stuffers for the stockings! It never fails and at the end of the night, I don't know how those little hooks hold up those over stuffed stockings! My positive, leftover candy goes into mine, prizes get put into little bowls on display, toys placed in pretty bags under the tree. Quantity counts with the younger children and their piles of treasures spread out before them like a pirate bounty, is quite amusing to see!
There never seems to be enough time! For shopping, for the last minute crap, the hours turn into seconds, the weeks into days. Even today, the last full day before winter break starts, suddenly it was 2:15 and I had to rush to grab them all from school. Add to schooldays; scout time, work hours, all the mom things, and trying to squeeze some personal alone time in, whether shared with The Husband or to get some writing or whatever done, time gets away from me. I find myself dreading adding anything else to the schedule! Positive- the nearly two weeks of winter break- I can breath now, get some personal to dos done!
10. Stressed! It's everywhere!
I feel it in the currents of the air, even if I am not stressed, everyone else's stress creeps in and grabs me. Nasty attitudes combined with a sense of urgency really likes to cloud my bubble! So what do I do when weighted down by the stress of the season! Well, I sing- "Do you want to build a snowman?" This is fun because Smiles and Inch join in, embarrassing The Oldest! "O, Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining!!!" Sing it loud, sing it proud! Let it Go! Excuse the Frozen reference, but that was entertaining on the walk home today!
11. The Mad Stair Race.
This year The Husband works midnight shift Christmas Eve, so it will be Grandma and me helping Santa get the stealth elf mission complete without getting caught! Silence and prayer! That's all we got! Truth of the matter is, this this is the hardest most stressful part! I imagine, I am not alone dreading mission impossible! One ear on their doors while hoping we can get it all completed and set up without issue! Positive- one day, I will get to pass the E.L.F. badge off and giggle with the knowledge that now they are going through the craziness I went through, that my mother went through! Cheers boys! It's fun when you think about it!
12. Christmas Morning!
Mission complete! Stealth skills well executed! A lovely sight to behold beneath the tree! Beds are found sometime before dawn. Sugar plums finally dancing, only to be interrupted by "He came! MOM!!! Santa came!" I swear my eyes just closed! I just want to sleep, just a little! I am not a morning person on a regular day, but after a night of using my ninja skills to the fullest, I really appreciate sleep! If it was up to me I would sleep in till noon! Sadly, that is crazy talk! Best part though!
They must wait for the elves to have their coffee! They must wait till we all gather around the tree! And believe me they wait, impatiently yes! And though I cry a little at at the mass destruction of wrapping paper and abandoned glee, the greatest part are their faces! The cuddles, the love, the pride when I get the homemade cards or presents they picked out all by themselves. The days we will spend playing, being together as a family! The love we share, the memories we create, the moments we cherish! Oh yes, they make every single second worth it! This family of mine! My boys, The Husband, my mom!
Twelve Positive thoughts become 100, moments we are building, time we share, something that can not be wrapped in paper and placed beneath the tree!
And with that, I wish you all a wonderful, cherished Holiday! From my family to yours! ♡
Keep up the challenge! Think positive! What What are some of your dreaded holiday thoughts that you need to turn to positives?