Every year it hits, and every year I am surprised about it.
We aren’t even one of those families who does 93434 holiday events. While I love a good Charlie Brown Christmas, I wasn’t raised with Christmas traditions per se, so the pressure shouldn’t be so high.
Here is my analysis as to what makes the end of the year feel so frenetic:
1- Fitting in a month’s worth of projects and meetings in ~2-2.5 weeks worth of work. Because so many people take the week of Christmas and New Years’ off, it’s presumed that nothing will happen during those weeks. But we still feel the need to close certain loops before the new year, so there are more meetings and projects than ever during the earlier portion of the month.
There’s also the “mid year” and “end of year” meetings that tend to happen – I have 16 resident check in meetings in the next few days (note to self – maybe do half of these in January next year?), and Annabel has a school conference. It’s also the heart of residency interview season which is a very busy time from a program director standpoint.
Clinically, there are also patients trying to get meds filled/appointments done before they have to start a new deductible for the next calendar year. Can’t blame them one bit, but it adds more pressure to the mix.
2- School projects – same deal of everyone trying to fit things in before winter break. Plus, teachers want to make things ‘fun’ at the end of the year. Fun involves sending money, sending gifts, and remembering which dress up day is which (well, if you’re good about that sort of thing, which I am admittedly not). Annabel has gotten to the point where she understands that keeping track of dress up days is something she can do, and will manage it herself. I love it! (THEN it’s actually fun!)
3- End of year due dates. Stuff just often gets pushed to end of year. We have work “modules” we have to do, I need to send documents to our accountant, etc. At least actual tax filing day isn’t until later!
4- Holiday traditions and gifts. Oh, and also Josh’s birthday + Genevieve’s birthday thrown in there in our house! I am delinquent and haven’t sent Hanukkah gifts/$ to any nieces/nephews yet other than my baby niece (she got Magnatiles!). We do holiday cards though I recognize that’s entirely optional. Holiday bonuses/cards have to be filled out for service workers. Holiday gifts have to be figured out for office staff and GME staff, and residents! (This year the faculty leaders are sponsoring a virtual gingerbread making party for them – which I’m actually kind of excited about!)
This is in a year WITHOUT actual parties or holiday shows and IT STILL FEELS JAM PACKED AND HECTIC.
I don’t have any idea what to do about it really though perhaps 2021 will be the year that I really REALLY do all of my gift buying / wrapping / card writing / etc / early. Like in October. It will seem silly while I do it, but how happy will I be to have that portion entirely taken care of!?!?
ALL that said, I am excited to step away from work from 12/23 – 1/3. It will make the frenzy of the past few weeks worth it and I very much hope I will feel ready to jump into a January calendar with a bit more space and breathing room.
PS: Loved the meal planning ideas on Sunday’s post! I am going to create a round up listing all of your ideas, so if you have additional resources to recommend let me know!