Christmas is almost here and I’m still not done! How is this possible?

I always start out with the best of intentions. Get the tree and other decorations up the weekend after Thanksgiving and do the Christmas cards the next week. My husband usually starts shopping well before Thanksgiving and gifts are tucked away ready to be wrapped.

Only one of those things happened on schedule and that would be my husband’s shopping.

Holidays come if we’re ready or not. Pretty much life happens whether we’re ready or not.

The fellow from NECCO came on Thursday to change out our water meter. The front and living rooms were tidy but the kitchen was a another story. I had to take the Christmas table cloth off the table to wash it and it makes it a lot easier to wrap gifts without it. The centerpiece was shoved onto the counter, the table cloth was freshly washed and folded beside and the rest of the room was in chaos! Chaos, I say!

Wrapping paper, boxes, bows, tags and the like were strewn everywhere! My husband and I have been wrapping a few gifts here and there as we have time and since this is the busiest time of year for both of us at work, it’s not really going very well. We’ve been relegated to eating on TV trays.

The NECCO guy will have to come back on Monday because he couldn’t get our water shut off in the basement. He will return with a city worker who will shut it off at the street. My goal is have the kitchen and the rest of the house looking so good he’ll think his last view of my kitchen was a mirage or something.

I finally got all the decoration storage bins packed back under the stairwell so you can walk through the computer room. That in itself was a chore. Just as I tucked the last bin way, I realized I had blocked the boxes of boxes and Christmas bags and had to drag it all out again, pull those out and repack everything.

I was going to put out the lights on the bushes last weekend but the snow pre-empted my efforts so our outside lights are only half-way done. It’s a sad state of affairs.

Sigh. There’s always next year to do better.

Actually, every day is a chance to do better. Isn’t that what it’s all about? I’m not talking about preparing for holidays or wrapping gifts or Christmas lights. It’s about who we are as people. Are we kind? Do we go out of our way to help others and make their day better? Do we spread kindness and cheerfulness?

Sometimes we get all wrapped up in what we have to “do” we forget who to “be.”

While the Christmas season is different for everyone, a kind word, gesture or just a smile can change someone’s day for the better. We have no idea what the person next to us in the grocery store line is dealing with. That check-out girl who keeps making mistakes on our purchases could be losing a parent or a child or be facing financial hardships that make here day anything but bright. The guy at the gas station at the next pump may have a sick wife or child at home.

Kindness takes no effort. Smiling takes less muscles than frowning. Saying thank you costs you nothing. Saying “have a nice day” can make someone’s day just that. Think back to a time where perhaps you weren’t having your best day and just a few words from someone changed things around.

In the words of the Grinch: “It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ‘till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”

Make every day mean more.