It is that time of year when cookies are baking, lights are up, gifts are being wrapped, and we are all trying to outdo ourselves.
I am always perplexed that, during this busy time of year, we are determined to cram more and more projects into our already busy schedule. In between the Christmas programs and recitals, the shopping and wrapping and sending cards to everyone who ever crossed our paths, we are determined to make that homemade potpourri or bake that cheesecake with 16 different ingredients.
I finally understand why. We have been brainwashed by Martha Stewart.
We are surrounded by Martha Stewart products in at least three different national chain stores. She has had two Christmas specials on Fine Living Network. She must have at least six different magazines published under her name, not to mention countless books.
My Martha moment came several years ago when I saw a picture of oranges decorated with cloves placed in a bowl full of evergreen sprigs and pinecones. I was hooked.
I now have to do these every year or face Martha's wrath that I am not doing everything to provide my family with the perfect Christmas. Not that I have a prayer of Martha showing up on my doorstep. But some little voice inside me would accuse me of being such a disappointment to the proverbial goddess of all things domestic.
But I am doing my best to break free. I stopped making homemade gift tags a few years ago and now use store-bought varieties (the horror of it all). One year I did actually make embossed Christmas cards, but it took me so long I thought I would not get them mailed until Easter.
Sadly, however, I will never be totally free of her influence. I have made eight different kinds of cookies. I spent two days making marzipan. And those clove oranges do look lovely on my coffee table.
Martha would be so proud.