I realized something this year in talking with some friends.
Not everyone uses spreadsheets to track gift purchases (and budgets) year over year. Or sorts out their weekly menus on the spreadsheet with the corresponding grocery list attached. Or prides themselves on being finished with their holiday shopping and wrapping by early Dec.
I do. I find peace in the organization and structure. Honestly, if I was still wrapping (or buying) gifts at the last minute, I'd be very stressed out.
I have activities planned for the kids and family for each day they are here. I don't do last minute shopping. My pre-holiday baking is done on a schedule. I'll stock up on Christmas wrapping, cards, and ornaments the day after Christmas and already have purposes for them when I pack them up for next year.
This is pretty consistent to how I approach caring for the home. It's all on spreadsheets or on mobile apps. I clean as I go, which means someone cooking in the kitchen with me may find their 'stirring spoons' are cleaned up a few moments after they set them down. When I'm cleaning up the first meal, I'm already planning for two meals down.
I'm not in the moment.
I'm ten steps ahead.
When something unexpected happens, I'm already thinking of how that will impact things down the road.
While in some ways that means I'm an excellent, thoughtful hostess... it also means I'm flitting around in the background, always cleaning or planning when to take dessert out or when is the optimal time for coffee and tea without over-caffienating our guests so we're not wide awake at 4 am. It does make it hard for me to focus since I'm always scanning a room, checking for trash or empty glasses or plates that may need a refill. I rarely sit for long periods because I'm bustling around. My mind doesn't rest.
On Christmas, however, I do my best to take a few moments where I'm not the unfailing hostess with the perfectly timed agenda. Of the craziest of all days, I want to just let it go, and just be.
Love and be loved.
I encourage you, no matter how family-filled and jam-packed your holidays get, to take a few moments to breathe deeply and let it all go. To recharge, and refocus.
Be in the moment, with all that surrounds you.
I know that it is a struggle for me to do so, but that my family is better served by my doing so.
Happiest of holidays to you and yours.