The time is never right for killing trolls, my great-grandmother used to say, even so they had to be killed.
I think she wanted us to learn that we might as well get the unpleasant chores over with. There was no use waiting for the right mood neither for doing the dishes nor our homework.
Life is more complicated though, the trolls does not only come to stay, they gang up on us. We all know that, no crisis arrives alone. Very seldom are we allowed the luxury of dealing with one difficulty at the time. Most often they are all entangled in each other and becomes the many-headed troll in the norse fairy tales.
The only funny thing about it is that it surprises us.
Even stranger is the fact that the most entangling times are the ones that return at the same time every year and still we are not prepared.
Well how prepared could you be? I remember one day weeks before Christmas a neighbor came sailing at her usual speed into the store where we were waiting in line. “That’s that then” she proclaimed, and continued “The tree is done, the food is ready, the gifts are wrapped, I am all set.” She looked triumphantly at us slackers. The shop-keeper was not impressed “why not do Easter while you are at it?”
She probably considered it a good idea. At least that is how most of us live, always preparing for the future, doing so much work to avoid tangles later. The thing is though that no matter what we prepare for we are not sages and what we visualize is an ideal event, which is not always what happens. We plan as if the Christmas dinner is the only thing in life that week, and seem to forget life itself. I know. This is one of the basics I have learned through a life of lists.
If I can not be prepared for everything that will happen, why not prepare for the things I know will come? Isn’t that a contradiction? To me it isn’t. It is all about using my energy on getting the basic routines to function.
One of them is food. As we know there will be trolls to kill, even at the happiest of times. We also know that the strength to do that will not come from party food or appetizers. No matter how well-coordinated they are to the given holiday. And even if they have to do, they will not do if the person who is exhausted by making them also is supposed to be the troll-slayer.
So these are my not-so-secret tools for being a happy hostess, as ready to handle tangles and trolls as possible:
1. Know, plan and stock up on the healthy basics everybody, and most of all you, needs to function.
For me? If I have whole-wheat bread, coffee,granola and yoghurt, orange juice and eggs, I am in luxury heaven. Without, I am sluggish and tired no matter how many croissants or left over turkey-sandwiches I am offered. All those items can be bought now and stored.
2. Be prepared for life to continue as usual.
Why should anyone have to rush out for detergent, toilet paper or tooth paste on the night before Christmas?
3. Kill of the small trolls ahead of time.
Do it at once. Schedule bills to be paid, arrange for flowers to be delivered, order and pick up tickets now.
4. Weed out the really tiny troll sprouts today, and they will not have time to grow before Thanksgiving or Christmas.
What is that? Could be to check, replace and stock on light bulbs all over your house. Count towels and plates and all the other stuff you will need, restock.
5.Know your plans and obligations, more is not merrier. Back out now if you have too much, so that they will have time to find replacements.
6. Make room.
Holidays fill your home with stuff. It needs places to go. If a total declutter event is too much, clear or toss an item every time you wait for something. When decorating, do the spots that are not in regular use, life needs space too!
7. Remember, all holidays are made to make us cherish, remember and celebrate what is important to us, our family, our culture or the faith we belong to. How would I prepare a holiday that made that true, still?
In November I take part in the NaBloPoMo, in the BlogHer network. I post every day on “The Untangling Tens” what women do when life gets tangled. These are the ten tools that worked for those I have asked, what are yours?
All pictures in this blog are taken by me, Solveig Mjolsnes.