Christmas Prep

So I’m off work until January and verily launched into Christmas prep. I’m a powerful strategist in terms of getting everything done on time and avoiding the Christmas rush that comes so naturally (and sometimes gleefully) to many Trinbagonians. Me? Unless it’s a Carnival-related event, I hate crowds and will do anything to avoid the near mass hysteria so the following is what I try to do to leave me with some semblance of sanity for the Christmas holiday.

Plan early

As conventional wisdom states,The early bird catches the worm and this is so true regarding Christmas, whether it be cleaning, shopping or cooking.Once you start planning early you have a sense of exactly what you want and what you want to do before you engage.  I visualize everything from room decor to Christmas meal. I also like to write so I have a little book scored with everything from lists to budgets to thoughts from month to month, I “ideate” then create!

Browse early

I tend to wander into store and store and spend nothing until I am ready. “Do you need help?” “No thanks, just looking!” I will visit a store over and over to see if I have it right, if I want anything else, if they have new stock until I am ready. There’s a new store that opened recently that I visited so much times that I started to wonder if they had me flagged on their cameras (it was really because I felt so “Christmassy” when I went in that it became addictive). One may say that I am wasting time but when I do this I don’t feel the pressure of buying one time or having to wonder if another store has it cheaper. This also allows me to have a plan b and c as well when it is time to purchase and my plan a disappears which is rare. I tend to start early on this activity as well and it works from gifts to cleaning supplies.

Start early

Yes, I’m on vacation and I have the luxury of sleeping late but once it hits past 12 I don’t feel like doing a thing, so I get up at five as normal. Some people prefer to do this in the evening into night though and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. More power to ya! Even when I was working through the holidays the same applied so I would get up and clean just ONE thing and in the afternoon do the same so when the weekend comes there would be less to do!  I’m the one in the parking lot sitting in my car waiting for the grocery/mall/cloth store to open and I’m usually in and out in no time because I already have my stuff (and price) written in my trusty little book 😉

As you can see my common thread is ‘early’ but it is only so that I don’t feel bothered and frustrated coming down to the end. It may or may not be applicable to you even as this is the last full week and there is still time. This is not to take away from those who LOVE the rush or from those who have no choice having been paid just before the holiday. I’m also waiting for December’s paycheck to finalize but I need to be clear and how that money is going to be spent before I get caught up. Even with the preparations, there is life after Christmas. (Put away that January money first!)

Right! So back to the prep!

Bless up



Some time ago I had to deal with a 16 year old student who seemed to be ‘tripping off’. He was walking around with a bandanna tied around his head shouting ‘why me boy?’, crying and ranting to himself. We finally got him sequestered in my office and attempted to get to the bottom of his outburst. To cut a 3hr story short, he couldn’t bear to see the ‘happiness’ of his classmates while he had to deal with a mother who neglected him, a father who ridiculed him, a brother who beat and accused him of stealing and forced him to leave home and a present life of hardship which forces him to choose between earning money to survive and going to school.

For a moment I didn’t know what to say, all I could do was listen because how does one extol the importance of attending school and getting a solid education when there is no support for the child to do so? (Maslow is perpetually on my mind). This is particularly in a rural area where education is secondary to making earnings and helping to support the family. The evidence of this is found by MANY parents of errant children saying to me: “Miss, ah go pull (he/she) outta school yuh know! Is bes’ (he/she) come and work garden with me because ah wasting money sending (he/she) to school’. It’s money over school not school as a means to earn money.

I’m not a psychologist neither a guidance counsellor but as a teacher, in the absence of same, sometimes the situation calls to wear the hat. To my mind, faced with what seemed like an impossible situation I thought to let him know that he need to keep resilient because the reality is that the world is not a magical place with fairy godmothers and rivers flowing with chocolate despite what tv and friends say. I told him that when you’re in a boat in the middle of a storm, you will never tell yourself to jump into the water, you would go to the bottom of the boat and hunker down. So sometimes when life is raining down on you and you can’t see your way, you have to hold on , be your strongest and wait for the storm to pass.

I don’t coddle my gremlinz but i’m not a Tiger Mother either. I think that’s it’s important to teach your children resilience, let them understand that life can be difficult and unfair with the possibility of becoming even more so. My gremlinz’ ‘problems’ and accompanying emotions are usually met with a straight face and the word: And?.  After this is the thrashing out, reasoning, advising and comforting or scolding if necessary. Yes it is totally human to react with despair, but it is even more human to choose to either be swallowed by the sea or to keep climbing on that surfboard.

Bless up