Friday, December 14, 2007

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

My plan to make all of the gifts for my holiday gift exchanges was well intentioned and realistic... were it not for all of the other things that come along with the holidays.

It's the appetizer making, cookie baking, cocktail party attending, concert going and, of course, shopping, that seemed to get in the way of the thing I needed to be doing: sewing.

Thankfully I managed to find some time over the weekend and, as I slaved away in my craft room, I couldn't help but think about the holidays - how we all look forward to them, how we welcome the break from the routine. But, it seems that we all overextend ourselves during this time - making sure our decorations are just right, we have the perfect present for everyone on our list, and that we attend all of the various events to which we're invited. By the time January rolls around, we're frazzled from travel, exhausted from over-booked schedules and bloated from a season of holiday-variety gluttony. We return to our routines in dire need of another holiday.

Yet we do it every year. In my family's case, in addition to all of the rest of the usual, the holidays mean putting up the totally tacky, totally overdone light display, pulling out handmade stockings, cooking a huge Polish meal for Christmas Eve, and spending lots of time with friends and family. And, truth be told, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Some of my fondest memories are of the holiday season and, as time so often has the funny propensity to do, when I think of all of those memories, it's only the good stuff that sticks in my mind. I forget how I spent 8 hours in the kitchen - working until my back cramped and feet ached - preparing homemade pierogies, kluski, chruschici - but vividly remember sitting around the table on Christmas Eve recouting the year, enjoying good wine and food, and enjoying each other's company.

I know that when I think back on this year, I won't remember the stress I felt while sitting at my sewing machine all day, cursing every upcoming holiday gift exchange but I will think back upon how much people enjoyed their gifts - how my girlfriends, in true white-elephant fashion, fought over the sushi print apron or how I created the most adorable present for my secret santa.

Although each year I promise I won't do as much, in the end, I know I will. Because, ultimately, it is the most wonderful time of the year.