Pressure Busting Tip #7
When I taught high school not so very long ago, I taught five classes a day. The average number of kids in each class was about 23-24. Normally, my schedule was three sophomore honors classes, my Creative Writing I/II class, and my junior regular class. Strict organization was vital to my survival. I knew where every single piece of student work was at any given moment in its journey from the moment it was handed in to the moment it was handed back with a grade upon it. Never once did I lose one shred of student work. I had a system of inboxes, stamps, and codes in my gradebook that was absolutely fail-safe. More than once a student would say, either admiringly or in sheer, unadulterated awe or amazement, "Mrs. D., you are the most organized teacher I have ever seen in my life!" But don't misunderstand; I was never a slave to my system. I created the system to work for me. And it did, unfailingly.
I think that's the problem for a lot of Holiday Bringers: they are a Slave To The System. Rather than create a workable system for The Holidays that works for them, they instead adhere so stringently and so rigidly to a set way of doing things that they make Christmas much harder on themselves than it needs to be. For those tensed-up people who are already making their lists and decisions in advance, I urge them to consider Pressure Busting Tip #7: Allow yourself to be flexible for The Holidays. Just because you tied baby candy canes to all the kid presents last year doesn't mean you have to do it every year now. If you can't find eggnog ice cream for the dessert coffee, use something else. Does your son want to spend part of Christmas Eve at his new girlfriend's house? He'll be back. Don't create drama for yourself. Gift yourself with the special present of saying, "Oh, well. Will we still have a lovely Christmas? Yes. Then I'm not going to worry about it." So you didn't get the tree up by the first weekend of December. Did martial law ensue? Bet not. It's great to plan, but your plan should be like the Pirate's Code in the movie--"more like guidelines anyway."