Every year at this time, I find myself scrambling to get everything done. Yet I don't bake, I tend to have fewer than 15 presents to wrap, and I work only sporadically. So what is my excuse for being so behind?!
My biggest labor of love during the month of December is creating an online photo album for both my and Brian's moms. It is an arduous process. I go through the hundreds of digital photos I have taken and saved the past year, upload them to a site, and place them in a suitable layout for each page of the album. Since more than half of the pictures I take come from my crappy, stupid phone, I have to make sure they are small enough to look decent. And it never fails that as soon as I think I am nearly finished, I realize I forgot to include a really great picture in one of the layouts, which means I have to redo the page to fit more pictures or I have to part with a picture I really liked.
Despite the time this takes, it is a gift for me as much as it is for our moms (and not just because I also order a copy of one of the albums). As I look through each picture, season by season, I am reminded of days or even hours that I may have forgotten about. Since my kid, at 8, is still growing and changing each year, I often stop and notice how her hair was different or that a few months ago she was shorter than a classmate but now she is taller. These things are just not that apparent in day-to-day living. On the other hand, it is often striking how much some of my nieces and nephews, who range in age from 16 months to six years, have changed over the year. It is nice to see that in color.
Now that the albums are ordered (and my fingers are crossed that they arrive days in advance of Christmas), I can think about Christmas cards and whether or not I am going to include a photo or create a photo card. Considering I used to send out my Christmas cards on Christmas Eve, I think I am way ahead of the game.