Wednesday, November 18, 2009

just a little more, please?...

How time flies...

How many times have you heard that phrase?
A million? Maybe two?

"Time flies when you're having fun!"
"My, how times flies."
"Time is money"

Or my dad's saying, "Time is your most valuable commodity."

I know that I've complained about not having enough time in the past, but I really don't have enough time right now.

I'm under deadlines.

Social deadlines, remodel deadlines, financial deadlines and deadlines for work. It's the retail Christmas season, didn't you know? Elves don't come in and do the work. In my stores, it's me. All me. Everywhere you look is a little vignette of Christmas. All those little touches that seem to pretty and festive need to be fluffed. Each store takes at least 3 days to Christmas-tize. And they all need to be done...NOW.

At least Brooks Brothers doesn't set up Christmas before Halloween like some big department stores. I was in a big box store in October and stopped dead in my tracks when I realized I was hearing Christmas music. Or canned Christmas music. Like the holiday delivered as Spam.

I'm not a believer in the capitalisation of Christmas. It takes all the fun out of the holidays and makes it well...less Christmas; more Walmart. People rushing about, anxieties rising, tempers flaring. People trying desperately to complete everything in time for Christmas. Life is too fast paced as it is without the added pressure of having a perfect Martha Stewart holiday.

Presents wrapped just so, house decorated to the nines, holiday parties with all the trimmings...
Who has time for all that?!

I know I don't. At least right now.

I like to take things at a slower pace. Sitting around the fireplace with friends, the room awash in the soft glow from the Christmas tree. I cherish those wonderful evenings through the holiday season, but right now at this pace?...those slow down days seem pretty far away.

I know as we get nearer to Thanksgiving, my brother and dad will start putting in their requests for dinner. I'll start getting a little stressed that I haven't completed everything on my 'to-do' lists. That my time line is a little off. I'll start feeling the pressure of making everything perfect.

One of the joys of Christmas is to give. I love to give presents. I like to find just the right thing for those I love. A signed first edition novel, the antique hand mirror, the handmade knitted creature from one of the local artists...all these were special gifts that I thoroughly enjoyed the expressions of appreciation from those I gave those gifts to.

And I love to get presents as well. Some more than others. There have been some gifts that have brought tears to my eyes, they were so thoughtful. And there have been those that you knew it's just a gift. No meaning behind the purchase. Just something that they got because they felt they had to give. How many times have you opened a package and the first thought is, "Boy, they don't know me at all..."

That's when I don't like Christmas. Because people have lost the meaning of it.
One of my favorite Christmas movies of all time is "The Grinch that Stole Christmas". People version or classic, that movie is not only entertaining but delivers a poignant message as well.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not ungracious. A gift is a gift after all. And it is wonderful that they thought of me to give a present to, but those are the gifts that usually go the Elf Shelf the following year.

Elf Shelf is a program at my daughters school. Children can pick out presents for their parents for a small sum. The funds then raised goes to support school programs. Since it's run totally by donations of gifts for the children to choose from, it's one of the best ways I know to recycle those unwanted gifts.

I used to re-gift. But had a problem one year when I re-gifted to the gifter. Yeah. That wasn't my best ever swift move. So I don't even try that any more. I learnt my lesson, but good.

But I'm almost done with the Christmas decorations. One more day and I'm finished with the stores work. The fluffing of the greenery has ruined my manicure and even wearing gloves the trees have made my hands raw. I hope to not see another Christmas tree, wreath or garland for a long, long, long, long time.

Geez. I forgot.
I've now got to decorate my own. More trees. More garland. More wreaths.

And Thanksgiving is just next week. Lots of details to tend to before the festivities of the holidays begin.

What I need just a little more time...
That elusive little bugger. Time. Spare time.

:-)


59 comments:

  1. But I bet you smell wonderful, of evergreens.

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  2. If you find some spare time can you share it with me? Or at least tell me where to look and I'll try to find it myself. As always, I thouroughly enjoy reading your posts. (^.^)
    Take care and don't forget to breathe!

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  3. Ah the holiday season! It's a love hate relationship isn't it.
    I love that your daughter's school has an elf shelf, as long as she is aware of what you donated so she doesn't buy it back ;-).
    As for time, I found it. Yeah, between Thanksgiving and Christmas my day starts at 4am. No, that's not a typo. It starts with Black Friday - remember when BF meant the stores opened at 7am - and ends Christmas Eve Morning. Once you condition your body clock, you'd be amazed all the things you can accomplish while the rest of the world is asleep.
    Baring that suggestion, I got nothin'. I've been told to strive for less, but I'm not programmed that way. Sounds like you aren't either, Nancy ;-).

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  4. So...you decorate the displays in stores for the holidays? Wow...you need a lot of imagination, creativity and...holiday spirit for that!

    I was dry-heaving when my local A&P started with the Christmas music the day after Halloween.

    There NEVER seems to be enough time! I know what you mean about finding the perfect gift....but everyone's so busy and I don't even get to SEE everyone as often as I used to...it's harder and harder to find a good gift 'cause I don't even know what they're INTO any more...do you know what I mean? Makes it much harder!

    Instead of turning the clocks back an hour, I'd like to turn the calendar back a month! (Oh, da boys would really love that one!)

    Great post, as always Nancy!

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  5. OMG that's my WORST fear - re-gifting to the gifter! Buckle up, it's almost holiday time! Scary.

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  6. Time seems to go by so fast these days. I use to regift but to often I couldn't remember who gave it to me and I was afraid I would regift to the giver. Then it hit me ...if I don't want it chances are no one else will.

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  7. Don't worry, I know every thing will be perfect. And if its not, don't worry. Short of spilling something on somebody during Thanksgiving, I don't think you can do wrong.

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  8. It's an oxymoron time of year: stressful/comforting, depressing/happy, santa/grinch,blessings/heartaches. Well, ya know, whatever...I just try to focus on the postives. Key word:TRY. 'Tis the season, after all. Merry, merry to you; I enjoy your thoughts and comments.

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  9. Love the tie tree! I'm sorry, but I LOVE hearing Christmas music and seeing decorations already.

    Hey, Martha Stewart ain't got nuthin' on you, baby!

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  10. ah..I think re-gift is not a bad ideal, sometime my sisters just like adore some of mine stuff and she'll ask for it too! Nothing to to a shame of, the most scary part should be when you are in all your heart of making a bracelet someone and their just throw them away..
    Been there, done that and so now I'm taking a better and coolest way of gifting, coupons.
    It would't hurt my heart this time..^-^

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  11. I love giving the perfect gift too. It is so nice to give someone something they mentioned months ago and didn't realize you were listening. I love that idea from your daughters school. That sounds so nice. Thanks for the post.

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  12. Although I love this time of year I am always tired... places to go, shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking...why do we do this to ourselves? Why does it take me 2 full days to decorate a tree? Why am I a type A personality that wants everything "just so". I want to do everything, yet have everything done so I can sit by the fire with friends and have a cocktail or 2 ~ without nodding off into my eggnog! I hear every word you are saying and I am with you 100%!

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  13. That is the problem with the holidays. The rush and stress take away all the joy. It becomes a chore instead of a celebration.

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  14. I hear you. I've been simplifying a little more each year....less decorating, fewer cards sent, bakery cookies instead of homemade, fewer gifts (our family used to really overdo and we all decided to cut back).... I grieved a little over each cutback, but the overall result is worth it; I'm much less stressed and have more time for the things I've chosen to hold onto. Hope you find a way to ENJOY!

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  15. I also try to simplify. there are some things we love to do each year and we do them despite the extra work because it's fun. but perfect christmas my house is not. what's most important is seeing the family and having fun with them. one of the best things my extended family did was to stop buying each other presents (adults only; the kids still get presents) and make a donation to the charity of our choice instead. We still get together for a holiday meal, but knowing we are helping those in need is a really great family tradition.

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  16. Is it worse to regift the gift you received or be regifted with the gift you gave? I spend a long time agonizing over a gift for a friend, only to receive it back the following year. Guess I should have bought her 'short term memory loss pills'. Ha-ha!
    Sunny :)

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  17. So first of all it does not surprise me that you are doing the decorating in all your stores. It seems...fitting. You're so creative. I just didn't know you were so merry!
    Then my next thought is....stop. Just stop. Try not to get caught up in all the hullaballoo. Because while you expect perfection, your dad and brother (I expect) are just expecting...here it comes...TIME. With you. And I imagine this will be a different season for you all, with the loss of your mom so recently. So, Nancy...stop. Focus that energy on being together. As a family, as I bet your mom would want you to.
    And I LOVE the elf shelf, too!!

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  18. I was just saying to my son yesterday, that the biggest luxury for me would be an entire day, just to read. No school commitments, sports commitments, work commitments,stuff I know I should do. Just a day for me. Can't see it happening until mid January though...at least.

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  19. I know how you feel...it is like the whole year is climbing up the ladder to the top of a slide that starts Dec 1...then whoosh....that was it. Wouldn't it be nice if someone knew you enough to gift you more time...unfortunately dropped hints my end up in a Rolex so perhaps just wish it quietly lol

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  20. Christmas is one festival that I wish I could be a part of. I love giving gifts and love getting them too. The whole concept takes my imagonation on the soar. Sadly, In India, Christmas is not celebrated with so much enthu.
    My brother, who has been living in the US for abt 20 years now, tells me how Christams is out there. It is so different. And so ummm .. fabulous... it sounds wonderful. And they have already started preparing for thanksgiving.

    frankly, I wish I was a part of the celebration. (sob sob)

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  21. My wife wanted to decorate last weekend. I said no. Not that I'm controlling, which is how that sounds, but because Thanksgiving has yet to happen. I don't want to have 10 people here eating Thanksgiving dinner with the house set like a scene from "The Christmas Story." Except for the Leg Lamp; I'd take the Leg Lamp. The reason I object is 1) Let's celebrate one holiday at a time, and 2) after eight weeks of Christmas, it just wouldn't be special by the time it rolled around. That and the tree would be a fire hazard by then.

    -Joshua

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  22. Stop the clock! I wanna get off!

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  23. I love this, Nancy. I hope you find some spare time lying around somewhere soon! :-)

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  24. That's what I love about Thanksgiving. The food, the conversation and no stressful gifting. It's like the calm before the storm. I love the holidays, but as a woman and mom, well YOU know, we're in charge of the world and it's A LOT this time of year...
    Great idea at your daughter's school. My kids elementary school used to run a craft fair. It was (again) lots of work for the committee, but in one day for a small amount of kid money, they could make gifts for parents, grandparents. We did it every year.
    Time to take a deep breath and think, Peace on Earth; Good Will toward all Men (and WOMEN!)...

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  25. The tie tree is fabulous! Now I wish my father didn't give away all of his ties when he retired. I would love for you to post some photos of your other creations.

    When I rule the world, not a single Christmas decoration will be allowed before December 1st.

    Pace yourself and enjoy the season! Good luck!

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  26. On Monday I realized that Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK. Oh my gosh, where DOES the time go? It doesn't feel possible that it's that time of year again already. I'm so unprepared.

    Sitting with friends by the fire with the Christmas tree all aglow sounds absolutely delightful. Now THAT'S the true meaning of Christmas.

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  27. time...ah, what a lovely thing it is.

    so would this be a bad time to invite you down to put up the tree at my house and do some cozy x-masy things like bake cookies and sip on Chai Latte's?

    ;)

    ~hl~
    {www.hoscorners.blogspot.com}

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  28. Wow - I feel like you're inside my head! Watching the stress advancing and trying to manage the expanding to-do list and enjoy the spirit of the season. All at the same time. I too long for the quiet evening spent near the twinkling tree. But oh my, I still need to make 50-feet of garland for that tree....and bake gingerbread biscotti, and wrap gifts... merry merry -Diane

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  29. I tried to comment last night from my blackberry, but something about the layout of the comments box doesn't like my blackberry so I couldn't.
    And I had something awesome to say.
    today? Nope. forgot it.

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  30. I sometimes reconize gifts from my MIL as having been given to her by my SIL. The worst moment was having my FIL refer to a throw rug I bought them (not knowing I gave it to them)as the cheapest damn rug he'd ever seen.

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  31. in your situation I would suppose you have to really battle the "holiday overdose".

    Hope you can mellow and enjoy the season with family and friends.

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  32. Love the tie tree! I gotta go with the Millerick family on this one, use this season to remember your mom, be grateful for the rest of your family and spend a little extra time in front of the fire with the glow from the Christmas tree and friends. My family has taken to donating to charities in each other's names, shopping online rather than driving to a mall. The mall near me opens at midnight on Thanksgiving night ... to get a jump on Black Friday, makes me want to boycott the mall all together. I agree about the canned Christmas music, but while your hanging out with family and friends put on Sarah McLachlans Christmas CD, it is how Christmas music is supposed to sound. Wishing you peace and prosperity.

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  33. Great way to recycle those "what were you thinking, if you were thinking at all" kinda gifts.

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  34. Love the tie tree! Enjoyed your post.

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  35. My favorite times quote is "time will either promote or expose you".

    Thoughtful ideas as always.

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  36. "The holidays delivered as Spam"...beautiful, Nancy.

    Great work as always . . . tis the season, ya know?

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  37. Every year I go through the same thing: I think I have loads of time to do everything for Christmas, so I procrastinate. My husband is the motivator behind the decorating and gift buying, pulling me along starting about now. (He's in charge of decorating the hotel he works at.) All I really care about is the food, drinks and the tree. Somehow, though, it all gets done!
    I'm like a wind up toy - it takes time to get me wound up, but when I kick in, I can really move!
    Nancy, just give yourself a few days off from Christmas prep. You'll feel better!

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  38. Take the advice from the Whos in Whoville--focus on the spirit of Christmas only and I bet you'll have a lot less need of all that extra non-existent time. I am scaling wayyyyy back on this year's Christmas for exactly the same reason--it had just become too commercial for me.

    One of my favorite Christmas songs is The Kinks' Father Christmas for much the same reason as you stated about the Grinch. People look at me like I'm nuts when I tell them I love that song but it really has a great message--give, remember, and be thankful! I'm sure you do and are...breathe deeply and you'll make it through!

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  39. Nancy... little award over on my page for you. You are big fish... I am tadpole. But, your blog is so great, couldn't help myself.

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  40. Re-gifting to the gifter one time transpired with only the same GIFT BAG, and I received a very bad look. Oh for Pete's sake. Are you JOKING? It's getting harder to enjoy this typically great season with added pressures and expectations. Wishing we could all remember the true purpose of it! Love the tie tree.

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  41. I make a point of telling people to re-use giftbags. In fact, I'm careful choosing them so the person will want to! Hmmm, I like that tie tree; nice work, Nancy!

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  42. christmas is going to be hard for everyone this year. I've decided to hold a large lunch/dinner for everyone rather than giving gifts. after my grandfathers and mothers death this year, the holidays are just to stressful. and with the economy so down it's just easier to spend time with the family rather than showing off what we can and can't afford!!

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  43. Yes, and having just been out of town for six days has made the mad dash to Thanksgiving that much more hectic! Where do I sign up for an extra pair of hands?

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  44. Ah-ha! So YOU are the one Making Spirits Bright?

    Well, if I worked in retail at Christmastime I'm sure I would physically harm someone. But I do appreciate you for making the season festive and fabulous for the rest of us. Even with the ridiculous commercialism, it's wonderful when you can be part of those treasured holiday moments you spoke of.

    For me, I think I'd lean more toward turning back the hands of time than finding more of it. Either way, thank you for putting up the lights, Nancy!

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  45. very interesting blog! keep on writing :D

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  46. You bet.... Chritmas is not a Cash-Cow..erm, season, in this case.......*grins*
    Anyway I love the winter and Christmas, even though I'm not a Christian. And nor does it snow here in Delhi........

    But I love the warmth and Christmassy feeling you get during that time!

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  47. My dear Nancy. I too live in the retail kingdom. The kingdom of showtime readiness and everything being just so. As a manager of people and an orchestrator of perfection, there is no time to slow down, there is no time to think of ones self, and there is certainly no room for error. If you have not given thought and extensive planning to what is going to happen next Friday, you are simply just too late. Friday is your $1,000,000 day and you must be perfect, you must not miss a beat, you must write the most perfect schedule so that not one sale is lost to the indecisive comsumer. Make it happen! Lead your troops to victory! Jesus, imagine the pressure Santa must feel and do you think he takes a break in the off season?

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  48. 'like the holiday delivered as spam' Love it!! :)

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  49. Heeeey! You can't attack Christmas before Thanksgiving! Now my Christmas rant will seem unoriginal.

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  50. Thanks so much for the kind words about my scarf- I'd be happy to knit one for you! And in the spirit of the season, just cover the costs of the materials and shipping and the labor is on me. Do you want a green one just like the one on my post? Let me know! :-)

    http://reneetbouchard.blogspot.com

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  51. I'm not doing much shopping this year. I can't afford to. My friends will be getting a small gift bag with trinkets just to let them know I remembered them. I think my true friends will understand.

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  52. My mom used to wrap up stupid stuff just to give us more packages to open... like free calendars from her local bank. I much prefer one or two carefully chosen gifts that demonstrate an understanding of the recipient.

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  53. Being surrounded by all that Christmas stuff, the music, the decorations, the tinsel, on a daily basis, does that ever make you sick of it?

    I know I wouldn't, I love all that crazy shit, but in retail environment it might be different.

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  54. Our local CVS & Rite Aid were decorated right as Halloween ended. Over the years, I've become a bit of a bah-humbug myself. Too much rushing to get things done, to get somewhere, to get gifts...etc. and now I hear the post office won't respond to Dear Santa letters this year. They used to give locals the letters to send responses back to all the kids but last year a kid's address got in the hands of a convicted child molester. So, now the kids will suffer because of one idiot! SO sad!

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  55. If you should ever discover the secret of adding more hours to a day please let me know. There are not enough hours as it is without having to worry about the holidays. One thing that has helped is we have turned dinners into sort a pot luck. I will make the turkey and friends bring other dishes. It is wonderful, more time with friends and less time in the kitchen.

    I also suggest a few deep breathes and a glass, or two, of wine.

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  56. Spare time? WHat is this thing you call... spare time?

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  57. The Hubby put up the tree this weekend and I thought I might have to pop a Xanax. I became overwhelemed by everything I had to do between now and Christmas. I am really trying to recapture the spirit this year. I think I lost in along the way trying make my holidays Martha Stewart like. So amaybe all I really want for Christmas this year is to feel the magic once again....

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  58. All so true. All the rushing around, and then I'd wonder why I didn't have the perfect Norman Rockwell Christmas. Well,times have changed since we've been on the road. We don't put up an Christmas decorations because they are packed away in storage and we always fly home for the holidays. I've only bought two presents so far, but I guess since I don't work, I'm not stressed. I HATE hearing Christmas music SO EARLY in the malls. I was shopping, either right before Halloween or the day after, and already they had the Christmas carols going. It actually put me in a bad mood! Nothing like pushing the season! Can we get through Thanksgiving first?

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  59. There is no way I could do what you do. I can clearly understand why you have no extra time. Hopefully this year will be one of the good ones that you get to spend with family and friends. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. :)

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Do it. Do it NOW!
:-)