I'm not feeling Christmas this year.
It's going on around me, but I haven't been able to take the time to enjoy it. I feel the whole "overworked and underpaid" thing a lot more now than I used to, and it's starting to interfere with the things I used to enjoy. Like Christmas. And my job. And my job at Christmas.
Our principal has been asking us for a lot lately. I know it's the season of giving... but I feel like I do that all year long. I give and I give and I give. It's the life of a teacher. Especially a Catholic school teacher in a poor parish. I should be used to it, but this year has been harder on me. (And on a lot of other teachers in my school, I'm sure.)
Every class has to have a song to perform for our annual Peace Vigil. (Done and done... my kids learned "Keep Christmas With You," from Christmas Eve on Sesame Street. In sign language, no less. They rock.) We also have to have a song for our Christmas caroling day next week. (Also done. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Easy and fun.)
Lunch with Santa is this Saturday. Each class was asked to make some sort of craft that can be sold at the lunch. My class made potpourri jars out of baby food jars (donated), lace (leftover), ribbon and potpourri (purchased by me). They turned out pretty cute, but of course I wound up doing most of the work to assemble them. Each class also has to put together and decorate a gingerbread house (kit provided by the school) to be raffled off at Lunch with Santa. Sounds like fun, but try doing it with 14 kids in the room. Lol... last year's house was disastrous. I think it'll be easier this year now that I know what I'm doing. But I have to find some way to occupy the bulk of my kids while I let two or three kids at a time put the candy decorations on.
Moving on... Our faculty Christmas party is on Friday after work. Everyone was asked to bring either an appetizer or a dessert. We also have to get a gift for our Pirate Pollyanna. (Fun stuff... Everyone brings a wrapped gift and we put them in a pile. Then we each pick a number. Whoever gets #1 picks a present from the pile and unwraps it. Then #2 can steal 1's gift, or pick a new one from the pile... and so on... It always winds up being a really good time.) I'm fine with bringing the food and present, but the Peace Vigil is the night before the party, which means I'll be at work ALL day (from 7:30 AM til at least 8 PM), so I have to make sure whatever food I'm bringing is ready to go by Wednesday night.
We're supposed to buy a present for our classroom lunch mother - but I have no idea who she is, since she never shows up. I refuse to buy a gift for someone who doesn't do her job.
Each teacher also has an Advent Angel. It's kind of like Secret Santa - we leave little gifts anonymously for another teacher during the season of Advent. Since Advent is 4 weeks long, we usually leave about one gift per week. It's a nice idea, and I usually enjoy it. It's fun to be surprised by a candy bar in my mailbox or a cute little snowman notepad left on my desk. However, it's the 3rd week of Advent and I've only gotten one thing - a bag of Hershey kisses on my desk 2 weeks ago. Money is tight for me, but I've managed to find some cute gifts for my Advent Angel... and I wrap them up all fancy, just to make it more special. I've already left 3 gifts for my Angel. I don't know who has me (obviously), but I'm really feeling underappreciated.
And THEN... today our principal asked the teachers to bake cupcakes for Lunch with Santa. I don't know when I'm supposed to find time to make cupcakes before Friday (since I'm not going to Lunch with Santa this year)... and quite frankly, I don't want to do it. My financial situation is extremely bad this year, and I barely have enough money to pay bills and buy Christmas presents. I feel like every time I turn around, the school is asking me for more. I can't do it. I'm tapped out... financially, physically, emotionally.
It just doesn't feel like Christmas to me right now. I'm trying to find ways to enjoy the holiday season, but they're few and far between. I don't want the best parts of Christmas to get buried under my massive to-do lists. I'm completely running on empty right now. And the head cold I acquired from someone at work isn't helping...
You know what I need? I need one night of good old fashioned Christmas-ing. I need to put on my cozy flannel pj's and make some hot cocoa and spend the night wrapping presents while I watch the Grinch's heart grows three times it's size. I need to get in the car and crank up the Christmas tunes (even the really cheesy annoying ones) and sing along at the top of my lungs while I drive through the neighborhood looking at lights. I need to go to my parents' house and bake cookies with my mom. I don't know when I plan to do all those things, but I know I NEED to do them in order to preserve my sanity.
Ugh. It's time for a dose of NyQuil and a (hopefully) good night's sleep. I've got a long day ahead of me tomorrow.