Christmas in July 

I know many of you have apps on your phone that tell you how many weeks remain until Christmas.  Your gifts, if not already so, will be wrapped and hidden neatly in a closet before school starts. You likely already have your Christmas Eve brunch menu pinned on Pinterest.

Your ways confuse me. They are as foreign to me as the nearly naked African tribes that cover themselves in gourds.

You confuse me but secretly I admire you.  (YOU who are organized. Although I probably should admire the gourd people, as well. That ensemble looks tricky.)

Well, let it be known, you overachieving planners…..this year you’ve got nothing on me! Because I’m sending out my Christmas cards in July. 

Please pay no attention to the fact that the cards I am sending were for last Christmas.

Last. Christmas.  As in, seven months ago last Christmas.

I struggle and fail at many things. I am impatient. Often ill tempered. I am disorganized and can be messy. But where instant gratification is concerned, I am the master.

Of delay.

I have always been able to hold off on something good if it means the end result will be something even better. And my love for surprises drives most people crazy.

I saved the first dollar I ever made in 1989. Which is why I currently have $3.56 in a savings account. Thank you, awesome interest rates. 

I willingly abstain from sweets when it means I can go on sugar overload, planting myself face-first in some fabulous dessert later in the day. Chocolate. Always chocolate.

I never found out the gender of a baby prior to delivery. It was well worth the wait as they were four incredible surprises! Yes, I realize there were only two options but for a surprise addict like myself, it’s a strange mix of torture/pleasure that leads to such excitement when the surprise is revealed.

Like I said, it drives most people crazy. Or maybe I simply drive most people crazy. Either way…..

I view my patience in these practices as a gift. A gift I want to share with you. This motivation of mine, a kind, generous, purely benevolent intent…cough, cough… is the reason many of you will be receiving my Christmas card.

In July.

Ho. Ho. Ho.

Please note that I didn’t produce these cards back in December and then fail to mail them out due to a myriad of circumstances, such as:

  • It just seemed soooo hard to go buy 100 stamps at the time. 
  • I wasn’t sure if I had the hand strength to write out the addresses. Nor the mental strength to figure out where the printable address labels were hiding. 
  • Locating addresses meant resurrecting a fried laptop in order to open an Excel file or worse….finding an address book still unpacked from our move. 18 months earlier. 
  • I just had other stuff to do. Like buying everyone’s gifts on December 23rd. 

No, no! None of these things played a part. I simply wanted to prolong the giving season and allow you, my treasured family and friends, an opportunity to experience Christmas in July.

I am a giver.

And perhaps a liar….

In my recent preparation to mail these cards, I was reminded these were intended as not only a Christmas greeting, but also a delayed birth announcement for our last baby.

Who is now 13 months old.

Talk about delayed. So sorry, little guy.

I’m often faced with reminders of my annoying delinquency gift for delaying gratification. The baby’s room looks very similar to what it did two years ago before we knew another child was arriving. The walls in our home are bare even though they’ve been painted and prepped for art.

For a solid year.

I’m hard on myself. And I’ve talked to others who dog themselves for the same issue. Much like I do, they visit homes where people have actual pictures on the wall. Did you know there are people who hang frames and remove the stock photo to actually replace it with a photo of their own family members?!

In my home, people simply think we have a lot of photos of ancestors from Victorian days.  If they looked closely, they’d notice the Hobby Lobby logo in the bottom corner.

There are homes where supplies are purchased in advance and everything has a place and all things are currently residing in that place.

These people actually exist. Like some national treasure.

Then there are the rest of us.

If you are like me, your…ahem, gift…isn’t a result of your lack of knowledge. I know how to meal plan. I know it would make sense to buy ahead where supplies are concerned. I know it would make sense to schedule my child’s one year photos BEFORE he actually turns one. I KNOW!

But the real Emily part of me enjoys doing the other things that get in the way of all that knowing. 

Warning: this is where I manipulate my annoying trait in a way where it seems like an asset. I’ve learned a thing or two from corporate interviews.

I view this as an ‘either/or’ characteristic. As in, I can either be organized or spontaneous. I can either have a tidy home or fun with my kids. I can either have all the ingredients for a recipe or write a blog post with my mom as the only possible reader. Either. Or.

The few times I’ve attempted to stay ahead or be overly prepared have backfired. Much like the times I feel smug in my parenting. (See previous post if you don’t know about my ‘smug’ disasters.)

Case in point, 50’s Day 2013.

I was newly pregnant, starting a home renovation and could barely formulate a coherent sentence but was trying SO. VERY. HARD to stay on top of things. Our oldest son was in Kindergarten and I was watching moms smoke me in the ‘my-family-is-so-put-together-and-we-don’t-have-wires-hanging-from-our-ceiling’ department. I knew I could up my game and the 50th day of school was approaching. The tradition is that kids dress up in 50’s attire to celebrate.

So, I planned and executed.


My son went to school looking like a handsome little stud, if I do say so myself.  He had pegged jeans and a white shirt, complete with rolled up sleeves. To top it off, he let me put a spit curl in his hair. I. NAILED. IT.

(Yes, I operate at a level where putting my kid in jeans and a white shirt equals ‘Nailed It!’)

I was feeling so high from my achievement that I popped in to have lunch with him at school. I walked in the front door and was greeted by dozens of kids heading to the cafeteria. I was immediately overwhelmed with a rush of sadness in looking at just how many parents failed to dress their kids for 50’s day!  It was quite shocking to see that literally all the other parents failed to come through……how could they all forget….oh, wait……OH, NO!

It took me a second to come to the realization that these other parents hadn’t failed to dress their kids up.

I. Had. The. Wrong. Day.

I might have noticed my error faster had their not been two other kids dressed in costume, as well. Thank you, God, for kindred spirits.  In that moment Reid spotted me, didn’t move from his location and yelled,

“50’s DAY IS NEXT WEEK!!!”

Clearly, son.  Clearly.

Those of you who actually do it all, don’t try to educate or correct me with all of your logic or rational thinking. Don’t talk to me about systems and organization and blah, blah, blah.  It’s voodoo witchcraft.

Rather, simply applaud me for getting my Christmas cards out so very early this year. And don’t dare point out that they feature a one week old baby.

Because you know this will have to suffice as this year’s card, as well.

Since you can’t expect the 2015 version until closer to 2017.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


If you want all my tips for organizational success, please enter your email and hit ‘Subscribe.’ My info will be sent directly to your inbox. But truthfully, if you’re seeking MY advice for organization, you might have bigger problems to address.

6 thoughts on “Christmas in July 

  1. Pam isn’t your only reader. You are a hoot, and definitely your mother’s daughter, keep them coming….in your spare time 🙂

  2. Oh Emily, I, too, immensely enjoy reading about your life, shortcomings, successes and stresses! You are so filled with humor and talent to share your stories with us. Please keep those stories and thoughts coming to brighten our days!! You are so gifted, just like your Momma.

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