If you're like me, you've been spending all your free time running around to various malls, shopping plazas, and speciality stores in search of the perfect gift(s) and literally vomiting money along the way. Seriously, it's like we can't give it away fast enough. I'm waiting for the sad little magnetic strip on the back of my debit card to just give up and quit from overuse. After last weekend, I could swear I saw it smoking as I put it back in my wallet. Today alone I went to the Post Office (something I relish being able to do during the day because when I was in the classroom the post office seemed like a far away distant land that was literally impossible to get to...) and spent $44 on festive holiday stamps. $44! That means 100 holiday cards people! 1.0.0. In my opinion, that is a freaking lot...I mean, I had to trade in for the flat! (That's a little teacher Base-Ten block humor for you non-teacher types.)
This is also the time of year when I feel beyond stressed out. I always manage to get my Christmas shopping done early (hate me yet?) but also manage to leave all the wrapping/bowing/tagging until the last minute. Hence, cut to me in a frantic frenzy of wrapping paper scraps, stray pieces of tape and no freaking idea where the damn scissors are even though I saw them just a second ago! When I was teaching, I used to feel such intense panic at how much I had to get done at home AND at work that I sometimes caved and took a personal day. Or a mental health day. Whatever you want to call it. Call it a-day-to-get my-shit-together-so-I don't-stand-in-the-middle-of-my-classroom-and-just-start-screaming....it is what it is.
Ah, the joys of the holiday season. Kids hanging from the ceiling lights, you desperately trying to wrap things up while also getting everything ready for January so that you don't have to bring it home over the break and your school's tech/AV guy wondering why suddenly everyone is in desperate need of a TV/DVD player/child-appropriate and possible holiday themed movie. (I'll give you a hint Tech/AV guy - it's because teachers just can't take it anymore. Yeah, that's right, it rhymes with "shmurnt out".)
And then there's that last day before vacation....perhaps it's a half day or perhaps you've been cursed with a full day of teaching. I myself had to teach a full day on the 23rd of December. Every. Single. Year. Really that day is just a chocolate/holiday cookie fueled frenzy of waiting. Maybe you've had a little holiday party, maybe your friends brought you some gifts (If you've never heard the story of the Most Inappropriate Gift For A Teacher Ever, click here. I'll give you a hint. It rhymes with Shmee-shtring.), maybe you've had a lovely day together. Sometimes the best days are when everyone has their guard down. However, it is now 3:00. The kids are done, you are done, the requisite holiday craft is glittered and dry and in their bags and it is time to go! (Although because I am such a total dork, I always take one last longing look at my classroom before I shut out the lights...and after that moment, I turn off the lights and take off running!)
I have a hunch about you though. I have a hunch that many of you have a Winter Break To Do List that is a mile long. Raise your hand if you do.
I knew it!
May I be so bold and add a few items?
1. Have a LOT of Christmas-y cocktails and holiday Starbucks drinks. Nothing beats a booze infused egg nog or a gingerbread latte. Nothing.
3. Get a pedicure. Or a manicure. Or something for yourself that makes you feel good.
4. And, even though I know we want to leave our classrooms far behind, sometimes it feels good to get ahead. (It's a sick sick reality for us teachers, isn't it?) If you're feeling broke or just want some inspiration, TeachHub is giving away over 500 lesson plans FOR FREE until January 18th!! The lessons themselves are inspired by pop culture or current news headlines, plus they are aligned to national teaching standards and could be just the thing to spice up your already fabulous teaching! Check them out, make them your own and be on top of your game when it's time to make your way back to work. Hey, they're free, they're good and you can look at them while catching up on back episodes of Grey's Anatomy in your pajamas on the couch. Sounds good to me! Plus, you can check out some of my other writing while you're over there...