Tis the Season
By Meg Cullar
It happens every year. Christmas comes on December 25, pretty much like clockwork. And with just as much regularity every year, I’m not ready. I have plenty of excuses. Here at the Baylor Line we generally have a mid-December deadline for the winter issue you receive in January, so it makes perfect sense for me to procrastinate thinking about holiday preparations until after that deadline has passed. And once that’s happened, there are all sorts of work duties that have also been put off until after the aforementioned deadline, so they must be done.
And then there’s all that thinking about Christmas that comes before the actual doing. What to get for so-and-so? Whose name did I draw for the gift exchange? I wonder if my niece/nephew has this book/DVD/doll already. (I must remember to call my sister to find out.) And on top of that, the extended family asks me what they should get for my children. (I have a senior in high school and a senior in college, and frankly I have no idea.)
So this year, inspired by a rotten economy, I’m doing what I do here at the magazine. I’m editing. Delete something here. Delete something there. Luckily, my family agreed. We’re not drawing names and exchanging presents this year. Neither are the in-laws. Instead, we’ll just enjoy each other’s company, play some games, and eat whatever somebody had time to fix.
And I’m cutting back on decor, too. I left half the decorations in the attic. The box that says “fabric wreath/mangers”? It’s still up there and won’t be coming down. We’ll do without the fabric wreath over the kitchen sink. And one manger scene is enough. The nutcrackers? Still on the shelf in my son’s room and not planning to make an appearance. Yes, there’s a tree. Yes, we put up the lights outside. But just about everything else got edited out.
Luckily, someone else is in charge of decorating the alumni association building, and it looks lovely. The decor in my office is pictured above. And it’s enough for me this year.
I’m editing the baking, too. I’ll do cookies, of course, because I would be disowned if I didn’t make the cut-out decorated cookies. (Besides, I enjoy doing them; it’s like painting.) But no other cookies. No pies. No gingerbread men and ladies. They got edited out!
And for the things that do get done, we’re doing them together. Apparently, I was acting so pitiful that my husband didn’t even have to be asked. He helped me put ornaments on the Christmas tree this year and had fun. My younger son helped put up the outdoor decorations, and that was fun, too. (Okay, I paid him a small fee, but it was worth it to be doing it together.) We haven’t done the cookies yet, but once you break out the cookie dough, it’s not a problem to get helpers.
We all know that Christmas is not about decorations or presents or cookies, but it sure is hard to keep that in mind when the world is full of decorations and presents and cookies. It’s about the promise of Jesus’ birth. It’s about the promise for people everywhere. So, for us as individuals, it’s about the people. When it comes to everything else, whip out that editing pen! When you cut out the extra stuff, it’s easier to see what matters.