Saturday, January 2, 2016

I'm not OCD, I'm a teacher.

I am in the middle of my favorite chaos storm of the year, otherwise known as putting away the Christmas decorations. Last night Leif had a friend come over to play games, and as he looked around at the way I had things organized, he said, "This is a whole new level of OCD." I laughed, because all I saw were piles that had not yet made it to their final stage of organization. Then I realized he was actually looking at the labels I had on my bins. The labels that said 2017 Feliz Navidad and 2019 Red Green Gold. And he was taking pictures to show his wife. He asked why the future bins were even out, and I had an answer for him right away. That's when I began to wonder if he was on to something with his OCD comment. But he's not.

I'm not OCD. I'm a teacher.

You see, putting away decorations is almost as fun to me as putting them out each year. I decorate the Christmas tree and house on the day after Thanksgiving every year. It was the tradition in my home growing up, and it just feels right. When I returned to teaching a few years ago, I realized why we always decorated the day after Thanksgiving. You see, my mom was a teacher, too. And in the teaching world, you get two breaks for the holidays - one at Thanksgiving and the other at Christmas. If the tree, et al., doesn't go up right after Thanksgiving, it doesn't go up until Christmas break, which doesn't leave much time before the holiday. But the day after Thanksgiving is often also full of dishes and achy, tired feet that spent all day entertaining. So... I want the decorating process to be as smooth and joyful as possible, and that means planning ahead.

You know when I plan ahead for next year's joyful decorating? When I'm putting things away this year. The process isn't about putting away this year's decorations so much as it is about getting ready for next year. And the year after, and the year after... which is what our guest was commenting on.

Now, I will admit that I like to have different color schemes for decorating each year and those are planned out well in advance. I know the color schemes through 2019, which helps me when planning. And that's why those bins were out. Let me demonstrate:

2015 - Silver and Gold
2016 - Red and White and Silver
2017 - Blue and Red and Green (Feliz Navidad)
2018 - Black and Silver and Gold
2019 - Red and Green and Gold

So... this year I have a bunch of silver and gold items out that I am putting away. I won't need gold items again until 2018, so I can put them into that bin and I won't have to pull them out next year when I decorate. When I put things away, I will pull out all the bins so I can put the silver items in the 2018 bin, and the red items in the 2017 bin. I can also assess what items I will need (wrapping paper, etc.) for the following year and get those items on sale now, instead of paying full price later.

I also pick up some gift items now on sale, and wrap them up so they're ready to go and I can have gifts under the tree as soon as the tree goes up. Some might consider it OCD, but it's not compulsory, it's the set up for a smoother holiday next year, when I'm trying to do holiday stuff AND be a mom AND be a teacher. The holidays are busy. I don't want to have to try to think through all this then, so I do it now. As a result, I love putting away decorations, because it means I get to plan new, fun ideas for next year. And that is so much better than just putting things in boxes and moving on.