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It’s Christmas Eve. And unless you’re Martha Stewart or someone else who enjoys making others feel inferior, you’re not entirely ready for it to be Christmas Eve.

There’s something you forgot to do. Several other somethings you simply didn’t have time to do. We all have the best of intentions the day after Thanksgiving, when we say things like “This year, I’ll get all my shopping done early / get the lights on the house tomorrow / get the tree up before the 22nd / insert your own sadly optimistic statement here.”

But you know what they say about good intentions.

And that’s okay. Good intentions are part of what makes Christmas Christmas. If you cared enough to care, cared enough to try, then it’s true what they say… sometimes the thought really does count.

Still, I know it’s frustrating. You had grand plans, and they’re not all going to come to fruition.

My tree is up, but there aren’t ornaments on it yet (it actually looks kind of neat with just the lights… like some lovely tree made minimalistically magical in a holiday commercial by friendly forest creatures). My living room is still full of Amazon boxes in need of wrapping… to make it worse, Amazon boxes are always smirking at you. The only thing worse than an unwrapped present is a smug unwrapped present.

I didn’t get to make my festive little Christmas tree and poinsettia spritz cookies – although I promise I will before New Year’s… do you hear me, Leslie Dunbar? I promise!

But you can either choose to let the things you weren’t able to accomplish haunt you like the Dickensian Ghost of Christmas That Didn’t Get Done, or you can take a deep breath, let it go (let it goooo), and know tonight and tomorrow will be wonderful anyway. Remind yourself that this happens every year… and it always is.

Until we figure out Canada got it right by having Thanksgiving in the first few days of October, giving them three full months (with a brief time-out for Halloween) to prepare for Christmas, the holidays will keep, to paraphrase F. Scott, ceaselessly bearing you back no matter how hard you paddle against the current.

So just go with the flow.

Friday night, my cousin Maegan and I stood at her kitchen island, dutifully rolling out Pillsbury sugar dough for our annual cookie-fest. We watched as the first batch of gingerbread men, stockings and ornaments ballooned into indistinct lumps in the oven.

We went online and explored all the tips and tricks for preventing puffing… rolling the dough with powdered sugar instead of flour, sticking the tubes in the freezer, putting the cut-out shapes in the fridge for 10 minutes before baking… still they puffed away.

We were left with pans full of blobs and slightly blobbier blobs. And we embraced the blobs.

By the time we were finished decorating, we had Lumpy Space Princess, Jabba the Hutt, the Bumble, Kirby, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and Slimer, the actual Blob… and we wouldn’t trade them for a single well-defined Santa.

So here’s to you, if you’ll be at Wal-Mart or in your kitchen or under your tree at 1 a.m., doing your part to make things merry. But if it doesn’t turn out like you planned, that will probably be for the best. Something new will emerge instead. And that’s what the greatest Christmas memories are made of.

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