The holidays are just around the corner, and as the panic starts to rise inside of me at the thought of digging the Christmas decorations out of the dusty closet in the garage (I never did find the fall ones..is it too late for those?) I refuse to let the guilt get ahold of me this year. Therefore, before any of the madness even starts, I will make myself some guilt-free rules.
1. I will not beat myself up because I don't know how to make those cutesie little bows on top of packages, even though I was hired as a gift wrapper at a department store years ago and had an employee show me over and over how to make them. My presents may be simply wrapped (or gift bagged, for that matter!) but I will remember that it is the gift inside that matters, not the packaging.
2. I will not spend hours trying to get the perfect family photo to send out to friends and family (ie: the photo in which all six family members are matched to the tee, smiling, standing up straight, and arranged in front of the Fashion Island Christmas tree) If I have to use a family photo from the beach this summer in which we are all sandy and mussy-haired but accounted for, I will do so.
3. I will not fret about baking twelve dozen cookies for the annual cookie exhange this year. If I do muster the energy to bake myself into an oblivion, I will not feel bad if mine are not the prettiest on the table and/or if they are the bar kind you can cut into teeny little pieces.
4. I will not spend hours at the mall, Target, etc in search of the perfect gift for each person on my list. I will do my best, but if I have to resign to online and catalog shopping, so be it. And if the perfect gift cannot be found within reason, I will remind myself that the people on my list should love me just as I am, not for the gifts I might buy them.
5. I will not let it be the end of the world if I have to settle for an e-mailed Christmas card this year, as the thought of licking 75 envelopes, addressing them by hand and purchasing stamps seems a bit daunting. (Thank you, facebook, blogs and the like. You can all see my family at their finest on your computer and save it forever)
6. I will not worry if my house is not picture perfect when the family arrives, or if there are dust bunnies under the guest bed and crumbs on the floor. The most important thing is spending time with those we love, not impressing them, right??
7. I will not feel bad if we don't eat on our Christmas china or make hot cocoa in those adorable glass snowman mugs I have because I simply don't feel like doing four loads of dishes. Paper plates are a wonderful invention, and even come in festive colors. Though, if we eat on plain white, I won't bat an eye at it either.
8. I will not cry if we have to set up the fake Christmas tree instead of trekking up to the mountains or the Home Depot parking lot in search of a perfectly symmetrical pine tree. Fake trees can be decorated nicely these days, and some even come with a fresh pine scent. No fire hazard included.
9. I will not fret if I have to wear the same black dress I wore to the annual work Christmas party last year. I will remind myself that I am being economical and practical, that no one will really care what I wear anyway, and that I should be thankful it still fits after my dive into the fudge tin last Christmas.
10. I will not, under any circumstances, bear any guilt if I regift a present this year. (Don't worry, it won't be yours. )