Christmas Vacation: Memories of Sleep Loss and Too Many Dinners

Christmas is once again here. We sit and wait, anxious to get all the running around over with. Of course, it’s always fun and memorable. Remember the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? I don’t think any of us has ever had a vacation that crazy (although I recall one summer of losing a pair of $200 glasses in the ocean in an exchange for a crummy seashell).

Usually at family functions, I’m the one trying to blend into the background amidst all the noise and confusion. It’s not that I’m shy – okay, I am some – but normally I’m exhausted from everything! I’m just glad I don’t do the holiday cooking (I’m not that great).

Two years ago, I wanted to pull my hair out over Christmas. When you’re with someone, you’re generally expected to be everywhere at Christmas (keep in mind I wasn’t married yet). I like being invited to events – just not ones that are at the same time!

That Christmas I ended up working long hours serving, while keeping up with my other job and everything else. When I got off work, I got a nap in while trying to pack, clean, finish Christmas preparations, visit friends, and even pick up the vehicle for our trip. I started running main errands by 6 AM the following morning. Before I knew it, it was time for round one of dinners.

By 12 PM, we were at my husband’s parents’ home, with over two dozen people. After eating (expected at anyone’s holiday party) and exchanging gifts, we made a quick getaway to the next event that was 45 minutes away. We were off to see one of my uncle’s, my father, and others. Another round of eating and gift exchanging. After a few hours, we headed home to sedate the dog (Benadryl at the vet’s suggestion to make sure the dog would for most of the trip), finish packing, and go over checklists.

By 830, we headed to one of our jobs to exchange more gifts, Happy Holidays, and goodbyes. Ah, sleep – the one thing I didn’t receive as a gift!

On the road by 930 PM (with it raining), myself driving for thirteen hours to Florida for my mother’s Christmas lunch by noon. I knew the way and could get us there quicker. By two in the morning, borderline diabetic me was wired on lots of mint gum, a slushy, soda, gummy worms, and two energy drinks back to back to try to stay awake.

By five am, my husband and the dog were beginning to stir. To my husband’s shock, he found me pale, staring wide-eyed straight ahead, gripping the steering wheel in a death grip. By 11AM, we reached my mother’s. Once we made it through dinner (after watching me bounce around from too much caffeine) I took a nap – that turned into over 18 hours of sleep and several days of Christmas fun.

Hopefully this Christmas won’t be as exhausting!

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