I find it difficult to balance holiday cheer while staying true to my earthy self. There is mass frenzy to get so much done in such a short amount of time. I am always behind because I'm trying to do so much at school, at home, and at church. Here's a rundown of my recent compromises that cause me small but real anguish.
Why does it bother me? I think it is just who I am.
All last week Janice and I made cut out Christmas cookies for each student and staff member at Highland. It is a huge project but so worth it when the classes line up at the end of their library time and see a tray full of cookies ready for them. They each get to pick one from the tray and carry it back to their classroom to eat. Too me this is one way to celebrate the wonder of the holiday as kids get to pick up a homemade cookie to enjoy. For me I balance the joy I feel at giving out the cookies with the huge process of cutting out, frosting each cookie with the fact that each cookie I just made has shortening, white sugar, powdered sugar, and dye in it. I understand it is just one cookie and my own kids have certainly enjoyed holiday treats like this but I cringe at the yucky ingredients that go into such a "treat". I can't justify the expense of doing an all-organic cookie though and their little taste buds would not care. I am happy it is a homemade cookie with out anything in it that we can't pronounce!
Another family and I through school has an adopt-a-family to buy gifts for and I finished wrapping my gifts on Wednesday and loaded them into the car, unloaded them at my house (so they would not freeze) and reloaded them back into the car yesterday to drop them off for the family. Luckily my extremely handsome husband drove me there and back because driving in snowstorm-like weather is not on my favorite to-do list. My hope is always to get the gifts to the family while the children are still at school-it takes a little of the magic away if you watch a young man unload the gifts from the back of an SUV-but since it was a snow day everyone was home and happy to see the gift boxes come rolling in. We tried to balance fun things for the family with four small children with practical things like shampoo and diapers. It truly is the thought that counts and we did our best and hope they are happy. My unbalance here came from the fact that I had to walk through the doors of a local Wal-Mart to buy a uniform item for the family. I haven't been inside a WM store for about 10 years or so. I felt a little dirty but I made it through.
I'm trying to finish gift purchasing and every year balance my Target shopping with downtown small store shopping. I feel much better about the gifts I purchase from local retailers than tapping my toe in the long Target line. I purchased only three gifts this year using mega-Amazon market place-only gifts that needed to head cross country were purchased through them. I wish I could be so organized that I'd purchased special gifts all year long and had them boxed up and ready to go by December 1st. I wonder how my stepmother, mother, and mother-in-law get all this accomplished as all their gifts are already under our tree. Amazing.
Our meal for Christmas dinner will at least be farm fresh and healthy. We have a local chicken thawing, cranberries to simmer, sweet potatoes from our local co-op, salad grown locally, and a strawberry-rhubarb pie made in Southern Minnesota by a small local group.
I am on a committee that will serve breakfast this Sunday, which I love taking part in this community activity. The unbalance comes from the hot dish "we've" chosen to make for this breakfast. It uses boxed hash brown patties-which are just disgusting to me. I am a real potato kind of woman and would prefer to buy a bag of potatoes, shred them, and add them to the egg dish but then each one would not be just like the other. At least I'm not asked to dump any processed sausage material into the egg dish. People loved this dish last year and it is difficult to speak up for change for two reasons; I am the youngest on the committee of more formidable church ladies. It is one of those things I'm willing to let go for the trauma it would cause. No one else is going to want to put that much effort into creating a dish that many will eat in a short amount of time. Just me. We do at least serve a cornucopia of fresh fruit at the breakfast. Not seasonal but at least fresh.
The list goes on and on and it is so often difficult to justify my moral ideas of what I want to feed and gift my family compared to the masses. I don't belong with the masses but often in trying to hold up my own moral high ground I add more work to my list when I should be relaxing with my family. It's the circle of life with a picture of me yapping at my own tail as I go merrily around and around!
What kinds of compromises do you make to share the joy of Christmas?