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Trying to make Christmas special is really, really difficult when you’re the spouse of a student.

I didn’t really notice this last year, because last year my grandfather died somewhat unexpectedly early in December, and we had to travel north for his funeral in the middle of Carl’s finals, and it was our first semester at seminary anyway, and Carl had to get an extension on his final paper, and by the time Christmas came we were just in a haze of exhaustion anyway.

This year, though, it’s been rough. I’m usually the one who does most of the gift-purchasing anyway, but this year Carl’s barely even been aware of any of it. We managed to squeeze in one day of family holiday shopping, when we picked up a stocking for Carl and were totally goofy about secretly buying each other not-secret gifts. That was fun.

We set up the tree the same day we had our late Thanksgiving feast, which was fun, and the girls have been doing their advent calendars each day, and I initiated an advent reading each evening … and yet it doesn’t really feel like Christmas. I’ve been carrying the holiday spirit all on my own shoulders, and for the first time in my life, feeling completely blah over it.

But we can’t wait until after Carl’s finals to get into the Christmas spirit, either – then we would have to deal with the stress of trying to cram it all into one week (nine days, technically). No, thank you.

So I think I’ll just have to accept that holidays are going to be a little rough for the next few years. Now that I’m prepared for it, hopefully it’ll be better in the future. And I can look forward to the day when Carl no longer has to deal with finals and we can prepare for Christmas together again.