My birthday is December 13th. Many people that are born in December don’t really like their birthday being that close to Christmas, but I’ve always loved it. When I was young, we would go out to dinner, which we only did on special occasions, then come home to enjoy cake and decorate our Christmas tree. It’s crazy but I just realized while writing this post at almost 55 years old, that the remaining days would be the “12 Days of Christmas.” I bet my mother knew that all along.
Today, I can’t imagine waiting until the 13th of December to decorate our tree. I dread the process of getting out the decorations and creating another mess in the house, but usually try to get started the weekend after Thanksgiving. My kids are grown and “Thanksgiving is at MY house” (http://somanysomedays.com/thanksgiving-is-at-my-house), not Christmas, so every year I think maybe I won’t pull all of the decorations out.
Then I get to the ornament box and everything changes as I pull out the precious ornaments given to my children by my Mom every year since 1991, the Christmas before my daughter was born in January, until Christmas 2005, her last Christmas with us. Then the ornaments that my faithful sister has given my children every year since they were born. That’s a trait I do not have, consistency. My sister finds the perfect ornament for whatever phase of life they are experiencing. A driver’s license at 16 years old, basketballs & volleyballs (good for several years for both kids, lol), beach themes while they were attending college in a beach town and at younger ages, airplanes, water-skiing or Star Wars.
Before you know it, I get all excited, start surfing Pinterest, making new crap, cutting tree branches for arrangements and doing those spontaneous, procrastinating projects.
After all this creating and decorating, it occurs to me that we, as empty nesters, are pretty much the only ones here over Christmas except a few short visits from our kids. It seems a shame not to invite our family and friends over for my birthday but I just do not feel ready. (Not sure that I ever feel ready, though). The house needs cleaning, the coffee table doesn’t match the other furniture, the paint on the windows needs to be scraped off and blah, blah, blah. I just didn’t feel capable of getting it done.
Now, at this point I still wasn’t thinking “Pop-up Party”. I just felt like I might be able to finish my new napkin rings and possibly get the den straightened up enough that we could relax and enjoy the snowy evening.
Then it got dark.
The snow was glistening outside, my dining table was decorated, the tree lights were twinkling, and the lit wreaths were shining on the stairway. That, is when I decided to have a “Pop-up Party” for my birthday and Christmas. Pretty spontaneous, right?
I started creating a checklist in my head. “Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung….” OH CRAP! “Where the heck are the stockings?”
Front door wreaths (lights are a little half-a**ed)
Icicle lights (still up from last year)
Newly painted Christmas pillow
New dough ornaments made
New napkin rings done
But, “Where the heck are the stockings?”
Pop-up Party planning off to a rocky start! Go ahead and send out email invites anyway.
Pop-up Party @ the Parks’ House
No gifts please, come as you are, drop in after work, before or after shopping or shop online at our house! Bring some cookies or wine or come empty-handed. I just want to spend time surrounded by friends and family, Christmas lights and laughter.
My house will not be spotless, my dog will be barking, my two grand puppies will be running around, my son will have to visit thru Facetime, but all will be merry and bright for this evening, “stockings hung by the chimney” or not.
I challenge you this Christmas to let your guard down a little. Invite people into your home and share your blessings with them. Their presence will bless you. They will not judge you, but instead appreciate you for including them in your “real” life.