Get Ready...
The Holidays are Coming!

It is amazing how each year passes by a little faster. In January, I seem to have razor sharp focus and a calendar of goals to hit, achievements to accomplish, quarterly, monthly and weekly to-do lists I take pride in compiling. Catch me mid-year and I am still on a roll. Not sure what happens after that though. The year just hits me full on and I tumble through the next few months before it dawns on me – December has arrived. And I find myself totally unprepared for the holidays. December brings with it a slew of holiday parties, holiday gifts, holiday plans, holiday travels, holiday clothes, holiday EVERYTHING, yet it always seems to sneak up on me.

The holiday season happens at the same time every year, without fail, so why do I find myself unprepared for the madness it will unleash in my life? The party invitations start rolling in, the save the dates happen, the ‘who will bring what to the party’ email chains get chugging, the calendar has way too many reminders, and no number (or variety) of stickers or emoticons suffice to keep things straight.

There is, invariably, at least one ugly sweater party, so now I must shop for a sweater, which is ugly, and will be viewed in public only once. There is the dessert and drinks party. (Delicious but does not help my waistline.) And for the prerequisite LBD (Little Black Dress) party, clearly I will have to go shopping (especially after the dessert and drinks party!).

Don’t forget the white elephant party – nothing white or elephant about it. Oh, and the most colorful holiday socks party. You haven’t been invited to one? It’s coming for you! 
The potlucks are equally preposterous. There’s usually one with co-workers, with clients, with my local friends group, with my international friends group, with my friends who don’t really fit into any group. I love the idea of good, hearty comfort food, bringing people together, but at some point I usually run out of luck with said pots. This usually means I end up being the favorite patron of the local bakery. (“Krispy Kreme for everyone!”)

In December, there is also the important decision of where I will spend Christmas and New Year’s. Especially since I have no immediate family in the country, my friends are my family during the holidays. I love that we’ve created our own traditions together. Yes, the same friends who invite me to those parties where sporting an ugly sweater, reindeer-ear, Santa-beard or some other holiday ornament is mandatory. But I am thrilled to have them as friends, and grateful to be part of their holiday celebrations. It is within this family of friends that I feel secure and well-loved. I adore that we can all come together, in whatever attire the theme of the party demands, to welcome the holidays as family.

Happy holidays to you and good luck with your own pot-luck cooking, LBD wearing, ugly sweater shopping and the rest of your holiday madness…err…fun.