Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Procrastination, Minimalism and Tradition

by Stephanie Black

I have a Ph.D in procrastination—or would have, if I’d ever gotten around to finishing my dissertation (“The Psychology of Extra Shipping Charges: Two-Day FedEx and Those Who Love It”). It’s not like I didn’t know Christmas was coming. I could have Christmas-shopped in July and addressed my Christmas cards in October, but Christmas doesn’t usually end up on my radar until at least November, and it’s unusual for me to do much about it until after Thanksgiving. I suppose if this bothered me enough, I could change my ways, but it doesn’t. December is hectic, but I enjoy it. So yes, it’s December 19th and we still have shopping to do, but I don’t mind. We’re not on the hunt for any hard-to-find items, so no worries. We’ve shipped all the gifts we need to ship. I love the Internet when it comes to shopping for out-of-town family.

As well as being a procrastinator, I’m a minimalist when it comes to Christmas traditions. If I want to do it, I do it. If I don’t want to do it, I probably won’t. I’m feeling the urge to make some homemade goodies now (which is a little strange for me—it’s probably because I’m procrastinating on some other things I should be doing, so goodie-making is a diversion). But I feel no guilt in buying a chocolate orange, sticking a bow on the box and giving that to my visiting teachee instead of homemade treats.

I didn’t write a Christmas letter this year. I stuck a family snapshot in the Christmas cards instead, which is a huge step up from last year. Last year we bought a big box of cards and they sat on my dresser until they were relegated to the closet. So I’m pleased that I managed to get them in the mail this year. Big progress!

We do have some family traditions about which I feel strongly. Take Christmas morning. The rule is that the kids can’t wake the parents until 6:30. They wake up, get dressed and then on the dot of 6:30, they summon us. We line up, youngest child first. We have to wait until the last person is ready (always Dad, who doesn’t have five gallons of adrenaline to drive him out of bed like the kids do). When we are all assembled, we head downstairs. Santa doesn’t wrap the Santa presents at our house, so they are all laid out on the couches and chairs (The kids all have their own designated spots where they put their stockings on Christmas Eve).

After everyone has a chance to see what Santa brought, we go into the kitchen for a breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls and orange rolls (the smell of baking cinnamon rolls is such a Christmas Eve smell). Then we reassemble in the living room to open the wrapped family presents. Youngest child goes first, selects a present from under the Christmas tree and presents it to the recipient. The giftee opens it. We ooh and ahh. The next child picks a present, and so on (the youngest children tend to pick their own presents, but the older children figure out that if they choose all their own presents right off the bat, they’ll run out more quickly). I love this way of opening presents one at a time and can’t fathom the idea of doing it as free-for-all where everyone digs in and consumes their presents in an eruption of wrapping paper. It would be over way too quickly, and we’d miss the fun of watching each other unwrap the gifts we chose for them.

Merry Christmas to all our Frog Blog readers! We are grateful for all of you who take the time to hop by!


At 12/19/2007 3:50 PM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

Stephanie, you sound so much like me at Christmas it's a little scary. Although you have already done your Christmas cards, so you're a step ahead of me.

I am such a procrastinator and at Christmas time it seems to be getting worse every year. I mean to do better, but I just...don't.

At 12/19/2007 8:15 PM, Anonymous Sara Craig said...

I am such a procrastinator too. This year I took a shortcut and got duplicate gifts. I got friends and family members the Limited Edition Christmas Classics DVD set which features "Frosty the Snowman", "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", "Santa Clause is Coming to Town", and many more. It also features a bonus holiday cd that my whole family enjoys. I work with the company so I know how important these magical films are in keeping the christmas spirit alive among family. You can get the set anywhere they sell DVDs or at Family and togetherness is what the holidays are meant to remind us of, love is the most important thing in the world!

At 12/21/2007 9:16 AM, Blogger Josi said...

I love the guiltless approach. My christmas is different every year. We have some basic traditions, but I have to leave it up in the air or I'm a monster with having to get it done just so. I think I'd like christmas at your house, steph.

At 12/21/2007 9:27 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Thanks, ladies! I'm glad to know I'm not alone!


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