December 16, 2011 |  Category:   family holidays life the biz

We’ve built up a nice collection of ornaments the past couple of years and it’s fun to pull them out and have the girls get excited about each one.
I have to fight from having guilty feelings every year for being so busy in December that the girls don’t get to do any fun holiday activities until Christmas Eve. This season so far has been particularly hard and it seems so unfair to them, but they don’t really know December as being anything else I guess. Family helps a lot. Grandma comes to visit for a week to give them the attention we can’t give them and Mark’s sister has started the tradition of giving each of them little presents to open all month.
We also make sure to get a tree (thank god for free delivery in the neighborhood!) and little things like seeing Claudine’s face completely light up when she comes into the living room to see christmas lights strung around the mirror above our couch remind me that we probably don’t need to do any of that other stuff like visiting Santa (C would probably get scared anyway). But seeing her cry because neither of us have time to play a game of cards with her because we are up to our stressed eyeballs in getting these orders out and work deadlines met makes me sad.
December schedules are brutal. Any small business owner who is busy during the holidays knows this. It’s not just us. We’re at the point where we’re pretty delirious from sleep deprivation and working 18-19 hours a day. It’s a game of playing catch up so you don’t fall behind (disastrous!) and through it all, thoughts on how to make next holiday season easier start swirling around. We’re a few days away from a more sane schedule (I hope).

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  • Anna Emilia December 16, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Favorite part of mine has always been and still is the trees inside. How they bring the forest so close, with the scent and shape. How the trees are dressed up.

  • ava December 16, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Would you consider hiring seasonal help for your busiest month next year? So many people look for and need an extra paycheck around the holidays! My mum owned a small catering company when I was young, and I remember one particular meltdown when I was eight. The next year, she hired students from a local college for help, and it made all the difference in the world.
    That said, I think you do (from what I read on this blog), a fabulous job giving your daughters memorable experiences year round. I hope you enjoy the holidays, and best wishes for all good things in the new year.

  • Misha December 16, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Aww, this too shall pass, it’s only for a season and you give your babies to much during the year that they know with all their hearts that you love them…no doubt.

  • Pamela December 16, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Sending you and the little ones good thoughts. Don’t despair … Dec. has to end on the 31st, right?

  • Atsuko December 16, 2011 at 10:40 am

    What a nice live tree delivery service your neighborhood has! Your tree is very beautiful. It is interesting how a Christmas tree makes people happy. It is a good medicine. I am sure your precious daughters are receptive since you have wonderful supportive networks to go through this moment. I send smiles to them. Also, I am hoping your back is ok from working super long hours.

  • Renita December 16, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I hear you … the Christmas ‘Ship Window’ is closing in on us too …

  • RebeccaNYC December 16, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I had the same thought as Ava…perhaps hire students from the Culinary Institute to help out…even if it is just to do the wrapping! What ever you choose to do, your girls seem like such normal well adjusted kids, and you show them the value of work everyday. Your girls are not going to grow up to be spoiled women who expect their every desire be handed to them on a silver platter.

  • Jenna December 16, 2011 at 11:18 am

    We have help this year, 2 days a week, 2 people. Hard to know how much help we need. It was still not enough. Some friends have pitched in.

  • Cecilia Madden December 16, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Your tree is beautiful! I think decor goes a long way to making the season bright.

    We don’t run a business but my husband is in law school and it’s finals time so I think my daughter is trying to make sense of the fact that it’s an exciting time of year but we have spent zero family time together. He’s done on the 19th though, so that gives us a good stretch of days before Christmas itself. I imagine you have New Year’s deadlines too, maybe? Then you probably don’t get a break at all…

    Don’t let the guilt dominate your days. You can’t get rid of it completely, I know.

  • Kiana December 16, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Hmm… maybe you could recruit some friends that have kids the girls’ age to have them over to play? I know you probably don’t need suggestions. You just want to vent. Wish I could help though!

  • Joy December 16, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Glad you guys are managing and what a wonderful glorious tree you have there!

  • tara December 16, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Oh goodness, being little is so hard sometimes. But you have a lovely, hardworking family. You and your husband do so many things for them all through the year. It may just be that “mother’s guilt” creeping up on you. I am sure they know you love them and are working this hard to provide a good life for them. Be easier on yourself. They know they are loved. Kids are resilient. Mothers are less so. Be kind to yourself. You are doing a good job.

  • Soffia December 17, 2011 at 6:46 am

    Thank you for your wonderful pictures, I love your drawings, hope you find time to draw some more. All the best to you with the busy december – and be kind to yourself and gently push away the guilty feelings…and when things get less busy remember to post some drawings – they light up this world.
    Merry christmas.

  • Lia December 17, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Love the doll hanging from the tree!
    I am sure that your daughters will see you as great hole models starting your own business, as they grow.

  • Dacia December 18, 2011 at 12:45 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for almost an entire year now and I’m so addicted to it because of how much it reminds me of my own family when I was growing up in Taipei, Taiwan. My mother is Taiwanese and my father is Caucasian. They were very tight on money while having to take care of both my brother, sister, and I.

    But please don’t feel guilty! Your girls have each other to have fun and as much as you feel bad for not being able to spend the quality time you had with them before, they will also become more independent.

    I don’t have any kids of my own (i’m 18) and maybe I shouldn’t be the one saying this because I haven’t read any parenting books or whatever. But from reading your posts about Claudine and Mia they sound like really independent smart young girls. And you guys sound like such great parents, your kids will forgive and forget.

    Anyways, I hope the holidays get better for the entire family and I wish you the best of luck for all your deadlines!

  • Vanessa Rae December 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Jenna, it’s so like you to pick out the good from the hectic and tediously hard. The pictures of your tree are beautiful and over time the girls will be able to appreciate all the hard work you and your husband do.

    All the best.

  • Karen December 18, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I’m sorry that you aren’t able to enjoy more time with your children this time of year. I don’t think it’s a small business thing – since October, I’ve worked between 80 and 100 hours a week, all day on weekends and a few all-nighters – and I work for one of the largest companies in the US. Will I get rewarded with time off, a bonus, a raise or a promotion? No, but I’ll still have a job. I am sitting on the couch right now buying stuff online to be shipped to my family because there was no time to go out and buy anything. I have a box of ornaments sitting on the floor but no tree. I still have my Thanksgiving wreath on my door. Christmas is my favorite time of year, but you’d never know it by looking at my house. I usually spend hours picking out the perfect gifts, writing long newsy cards and letters, baking cookies and treats to take to the neighbors, listening to my favorite Christmas music, but I broke my leg this year, so there was none of that. The one single good thing that happened is that I couldn’t bear to not have cookies, so I ordered a bunch from you and they have been life-savers – a little bit of Christmas in my total non-Christmas world. I remember the Christmases I had growing up, and they were epic, with snow and cookies and stockings and family. This year I will have none of that, not even the snow. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem like it’s worth the effort anymore

  • Kris December 18, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Karen, your story breaks my heart. I hope you find some clarity, new work opportunities that gives you more time, and time with your family!

  • Jenna December 18, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Sorry to hear about your December Karen. I noticed your order and glad that we were able to help bring a little happy to your long work days. take care xo