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No sooner had I announced that I would be turning the Ugly Duckling House into a gingerbread masterpiece this year for Christmas when I suddenly had a knot in my stomach.

Oh come on, I thought to myself, you really think you can finish the outside trim, put up the tree, decorate the mantel, create a tablescape in the dining room, and then still have time to do all seven things on your list (candy gumdrops for the front door, windows, peppermints for the yard, gingerbread cutouts for Charlie and I, making an actual gingerbread house, and all the extra odds and ends). Then still have time for holiday festivities and buy gifts for your family?

Well, as it turns out, I can, but at the expense of totally hating everything about Christmas this year. I got started on the whole project mid-November, very excited, and I knew that it would be a time-consuming undertaking to turn hundreds of containers into gumdrops. Mostly, it would just take a very long time to do several coats of spray paint in every color of the rainbow (except blue – gumdrops vary from a mix with pink to a mix with white, but never have blue). And between the dropping temps and rainy days, I was never 100% sure that I would have enough good days in the garage for the paint to properly stick.

Over these last few weeks, I’ve been applying a coat here, prepping another project there, and still trying to enjoy the holidays. I’ve been working on the house trim, a seemingly never-freaking-ending project, and am looking forward to breathing a (visible because of the cold) sigh of relief. The finish line is in sight! Only it’s about twelve feet above my head (and note to self:  get rid of that boxwood on the end).

I’m starting school in less than a month, which means I’m fast approaching a potential two-year hiatus from my social life while I get used to my new schedule (I still plan on working on the house and blogging, but now I’m cramming even more into the pipeline). This holiday season is a little more precious because of it.

For me, revealing this all to you is not in an effort to provide you with a bunch of whiny excuses; rather, it’s about making a decision. I could still get it all done if I really pushed myself to do it. But why? Why push myself so hard in an effort to create a merry season to the point that it’s decidedly not? Therefore:  I won’t be.

I’ve scaled back. I’m going to enjoy the holiday festivities and enjoy taking Charlie to the park, then come home and work on the gumdrops without the rush of feeling like I need to get all of them up this year. Between this year’s holiday mantel and last year’s, there was a vast improvement; so I’m allowing the buildup of the gingerbread house decor to do the same.

I’m also not just going to chuck the idea altogether either; that’s not my style. So even though I’m basically removing the deadline for this project, I still wanted to reclaim something gingerbread-y. So last night, I grabbed a cookie kit from Target and got started on a mini Ugg-Duck (which I’ll reveal tomorrow).

    And no sooner had I made that decision that this whole holiday balance fell back into place. I’m not viewing it as a loss, but rather a recapturing of a few precious hours to actually sit down and enjoy the log on the fire. After all, if I worked that hard to make the mantel so lovely, I should give myself time to stop and smell the roses camellias, right?

    How about you? Has all of the rushing around during the holidays ever made you choose to dial it back and actually slow down so you could enjoy the season?

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    One Comment

    1. I definitely use the Christmas season as a time to dial back. Especially since nowadays it's one of the few times that jobs and schools let you have much time off to catch a breath.