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Marny Stebbins. (Submitted photo)

I’m not sure who needs to hear this today, but the cookies will get baked. You, there, with the green frosting in your hair and the entire container of decorating pareils spilled into your bra, the cookies will be delicious (and you better get the bra in the delicate cycle ASAP or it’s a goner). You were right to double the batch (Grandpa can eat a whole dozen in one sitting) and you can stop feeling guilty about the blocks of butter incorporated into the batter – nobody indulges in cauliflower.

I’m not sure who needs to hear this today, but the tree looks beautiful. They may not tell you to your face, but the kids have already scouted out their favorite ornament on the tree and considered a possible army crawl underneath the branches with a plate of cookies (even the 6’ 4” kid, so watch for a pair of size 13 sticking out…). Your youngest is probably getting up early in footie pyjamas to see the lights shining in the dark family room and nobody (but you) can see the crack in the Christmas tree topper. It is magical - you did good.

I’m not sure who needs to hear this, but the stockings are packed inside the cookie tin and were not accidentally thrown in the garbage last year (apologize to your husband). Also, the stocking stuffers are hiding under the salad spinner in the storage room. I have no idea where that Elf on the Shelf is, but given he is a little sh#* and continually sucks any of your remaining energy out at 11 p.m., I suggest you move on and sleep without regret. If you want to crumple cookies in the toilet and blame it on a 10-inch puppet, borrow that doll in the closet with the moveable eyelids - she is truly creepy. And stop wasting cookies - those gingerbread men don’t cook themselves! Use something else from the pantry - like a can of navy beans or a stalk of celery…

I’m not sure who needs to hear this but, the transparent tape is under your bed skirt by the nightstand. It. Does. Not. Have. Legs. And. Nobody. Is. Out. To. Get. You. While it may be transparent, it is not invisible. Take your mother’s advice and gather the scissors, tape and nametags in a basket (and not one of the 20 plastic Target bags stuffed in your closet). Then turn on “Love Actually” and open the white wine you were saving for a hostess gift.

I’m not sure who needs to hear this, but you need more batteries. AA and AAA and that one set of DD that promises months of obnoxious blinking lights and sirens for your nephew (and their beloved parents). Also, no matter how much wine you have squirreled away in your porch, you will need 3 more bottles. See above.

I’m not sure who needs to hear this, but you do not need another trip to 5 Below. You have been there. You have bought all the stocking stuffers and the lip gloss, and the candy and the phone accessories. Any more lip gloss purchases and one will begin to think you have an epidermal problem.

I’m not sure who needs to hear this, but your Uncle Ken’s gift is waiting in the Amazon cart (we will discuss that whistle key locator at another time). Stop debating if it is the right gift and move on. He will love the Betty Boop calendar, but only if it arrives on time. Prime can only save the day if you hit “Go.”

I’m not sure who needs to hear this, but your Kohl’s cash is about to expire. For goodness sakes, don’t throw away your $50 of hard-earned Monopoly money just because you forgot it was stuffed behind the medical insurance cards in your purse. If you can’t yet commit to a cardinal embroidered turtleneck for Grandma at least buy the kids socks and underwear. You can do this online in two minutes. Do. It. Now.

I’m not sure who needs to hear this today, but you are doing a great job. Really, you are amazing. Preparing a home for the holidays in a giant undertaking, requiring oodles of extra time, money and care. In case nobody has said this - you deserve to enjoy it as much as everyone else in your home. You are allowed, right now, even before every present is wrapped and all the food is prepared, to sit down on your couch in your frosting-coated yoga pants and just breathe. To pause. To let the spirit of the season settle into your heart with weight and intention.

They are lucky to have you. You are lucky to have them. Remember to take care of yourself this season as they will remember your smile Christmas morning more than anything you have wrapped under the tree this year. Let your heart be light…

Marny Stebbins lives in Stillwater with her husband and four children. She is a staunch believer in early bedtimes, caffeine enhancement and humor therapy.

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