It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year and By Wonderful I Mean Crazy

The holiday season is in full swing and at times I feel like I am spinning out of control. How to get it all done and still enjoy the doing of it? Over the years I have instituted and imposed several “traditions” upon myself and sometimes upon others. I love them all but between the baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, crafting, cooking, traveling and merry-making, I sometimes find myself so busy and tired that I am unable to enjoy what the holidays should really be about-quality time with family and friends.

This weekend was “baking weekend”. It was also my birthday weekend  (I am all about multi-tasking). We instituted this tradition several years ago. When we began it was my Mom, her Mom (my Grandmother), my sister and I. Since that time, my Grams has passed away and my nieces joined in the fun. We bake for about 72 hours straight. We all move into and take over my parents house for the weekend.

This year I arrived at Mom and Dad’s on Thursday around 4:30 PM to get the weekend going. I specialize in candy, my sister in cookies and Mom is our utility player, being good at it all. Dad pitches in my dipping candy, emptying trash, going on food runs and being our errand boy. Peter, my brother-in-law, pops in and out for status updates and Tom stays home, but calls and texts throughout for updates.

This year we made about 100 pounds of candy and about 600 cookies. We made fudge (2 types), english toffee (almond roca style), cream filled peanut clusters (vanilla and cherry berry), white chocolate coconut cream filled almond clusters, dark chocolate vanilla cream filled almond clusters, peppermint bark, pecan turtles, peanut brittle, thumb print cookies, snicker doodles, oatmeal raisin cookies, toll house cookies, peanut butter blossoms, shortbread cookies, gingerbread cookies, white chocolate macadamia nut cookies and chocolate covered pretzels (white and dark). I am sure I am  forgetting something, but in a nut shell….Over the next week we will give it all away.

The weekend is exhausting and at times we get a little punchy, but it is something we do and will likely continue doing forever. This year was relatively smooth – no fires, no injuries, no fights and I think I made it home with everything except my birthday present from my sister, which I am sure will show up either in my car or at my Mom’s house.  We also managed to go to my nieces dance recital and dinner for my birthday in the middle of it all and I still was home by 6:00 PM on Sunday.  We seem to get better at this every year.

This year my goal is to enjoy the time I spend with the people I love instead or worrying about how many gifts I get for everyone and if they are perfect. Other than my nieces, we are all at an age where it is more about the people and the memories made than the gifts received or given.   Join me in taking a deep cleansing breath and enjoying the season.  Okay – maybe it is going to take more than one deep cleansing breath.  Just try not to hyperventilate.