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Don’t Let Christmas Chaos Overwhelm You

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

It is the night before Christmas and I think I am feeling like many mothers (and fathers) out there, overwhelmed!! Each year I try to plan to have a “calm” holiday with an organized gift list, and everything wrapped early so that our family may spend quiet time together today in anticipation of Christmas. xmas_treeWhy is it that I have failed again? Not only are we in the midst of Christmas preparations, but we also have a wedding in just seven days. If you could see my “office” right now, you would be surprised that I could even blog today. The top of my desk is strewn with journal articles, rehearsal dinner seating charts, year-end CME (continuing medical education), and lots of ribbons and gift enclosure tags. I am not even sure what goes with what; I hope I don’t send in the seating chart for my CME hours!

I am also decorating the mantels with fresh garland, arranging flowers and trying to keep the new puppy (old post) from eating the Christmas ornaments and the fresh greenery. While I am doing all of that I must tell you that the sons are either asleep, watching TV or working from home and “cannot be bothered”.

It is at this time each year that I know I have “FAILED” as a mother. The visions of family singing carols beside the tree that they helped decorate, are a figment of my imagination. This is when I think it must be different if you have daughters. Do girls rally to help their mothers with the preparation of Christmas? Do they come and ask to help decorate the tree (if they are older than eight), or are they dying to learn to tie a bow on a gift? About this time while I am in a major reflective mood, a precious patient of mine who is now a freshman in college, drops by to deliver a coffee cake and at the same time admires the berries that I am using to decorate. It must be a different world with girls.

So, on this Christmas Eve, I wish that I could tell you “all is calm”, but I think I still have a lot to get done before I sleep tonight. I am sure that mothers and fathers everywhere feel the same way, and that is what is wonderful about parenting. We are all in this together. By Christmas morning it will somehow all get finished and the family will get to gather together to open gifts, have Christmas breakfast or lunch or dinner and hopefully appreciate how fortunate we are to be a family. For those precious moments it does seem “perfect’ and I am thankful for that. I will take many pictures to remember these times together. I wish you a Christmas morning of memories after a chaotic week.  Merry Christmas.

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