Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space


Twas the night before Christmas and all through Tysons Corner mall

People were rushing about for last minute gifts–Frozen Elsa dolls, iPads or even a duck call

They ignored Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday deals you can be certain

Now all that’s left on the shelves is an Uncle Si chia pet and Dukes of Hazard shower curtain

Gift list? Check. Photo selected for Snapfish holiday card? Check. Red and green sprinkles purchased for company cookie swap? Check. Boxes dropped off at USPS to arrive NLT December 23 to Dad in Florida? Check. Look into availability at premiere rehab center for post-holiday melt down?…My mind started going into holiday paralysis right around November 15 and interestingly enough that’s about the same time that the sugar/carb war within my body began. It’s not because I was already overcommitting (aka feeling overwhelmed), but rather because I’ve been traumatized by the Ghost of Christmas Past. My ghost shows up in the form of me at about age 35—a slightly more youthful, thinner version. She began her nightly visitations right around Halloween—which coincides with when retailers start putting out the Christmas stuff and WKXM starts playing carols. She starts off very sweetly—“let’s get a head start this year. Let’s not wait until the last minute like last year. Remember last year, right? Remember when you pulled an all-nighter wrapping presents and forgot to get your Dad a gift?” Anyhow—she starts whispering helpful tips like “you should make a list” and “you should start exercising more so you have more energy around the holidays—you don’t want to feel wiped out and ancient again this year, do you?” I start frantically capturing notes on color coded post its and mentally making lists by category. By the time November rolls around, my ghost is making twice daily visits. “When will you have time to decorate the tree? Wouldn’t this be a good weekend to get some shopping done? You’ve always wanted to go to Williamsburg at Christmas—when will you fit that in? If you’re planning to give wedding pictures as gifts, you should have sent them off last week to be printed.” Ugh. I’m planning the Thanksgiving menu when she starts showing up with coffee. “Should you check out Black Friday sales? You probably can’t even get Nutcracker tickets now. That’s a shame—you procrastinated again. Where’s your ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ DVD? Did you see the stack of cards on the table—have you even got your list together yet? When are you putting the tree up?” She’s a mean one, that one.

All the post its and to do lists in the world can’t save me from myself. The only thing that can save me from my Ghost of Christmas Past is me and the word, ‘no’ which I just used for my first holiday veto when XXL aka husband George brought up hosting a holiday party. We both love entertaining and my knee jerk reaction is always, ‘the more, the merrier.’ This year, however, when he started hinting around about having people over, I hit the pause button. “You know what, hon? We just got through a wedding—we hosted a big party. Why don’t we go on autopilot and be the invitees this year vs. the inviters.” XXL bit on that plan pretty darned quickly. “We get to freestyle? I love to freestyle.” Freestyling in XXL world is when we get to fly by the seat of our pants—which he loves because I’m forever planning his life out to the minute. Since meeting XXL, I’ve become a fan of freestylin’ and try to do it whenever possible. I actually plan in time for freestylin’, which I think is cheating, but that’s OK. Time flies by so quickly and we are all running at warp sppppeeeeeedddddddd flashhhhh lightening, kawabunga speed ALL THE TIME. It’s not healthy—it actually interferes with our health so we have to slow down, hit pause and freestyle every once in a while, but especially around the holidays.

It’s so so so easy to overcommit. I’ve actually tried to limit myself to only committing to one calendar invite a week. By the time I fit in a night for working out, chores/errands, laundry, quality time w/XXL, there isn’t much left for anything (or anyone else). For all you introverts like me out there, you can appreciate that there has to be at least one night for navel gazing or a date with your favorite author too. Don’t discount the quality time spent alone for recharging. XXL now appreciates my desire for alone time. I tease him that he’s more like the female in our relationship. When I come home from work after a day of being around PEOPLE—people I love but who suck the energy out of me nonetheless—he is Chatty Cathy. XXL loves to chat. He is always talking, talking, talking. I typically have no words left by 6 PM because I’ve been around the ENERGY SUCKING PEOPLE (aka PEOPLE I ADORE). I have to recharge by staring blankly into the TV set watching Modern Family reruns. Shhh. Quiet time.

I’m taking a more proactive approach this year to my not-so-friendly Ghost. I’m waking up and hitting the yoga mat before she arrives. A few downward dogs will help keep me centered through her pot stirring ways. I’m also going to pick back up on my meditation practice – I’ll tune her out and be all blissed out at the same time. Silent night, holy night. All is calm. All is bright.

Here’s wishing you and yours a happy holiday season—for whatever holiday you are embracing and then some. Say no to the chaos and yes to the chocolate. Namaste.

Written by: Lori Welch Brown

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