Andrea Rondeau column: Stressed out by pre-holidays job rush

The newsroom is a crazy place before the holidays.

Raise your hand if you’re stressed out.

My hand is certainly raised this time of year. It’s not Christmas shopping or holiday events that stress me out in the couple weeks before Dec. 25, it’s work.

The newsroom is a crazy place before the holidays. You see, we don’t put out fewer newspapers than usual, we just have to put them out in a significantly contracted time period. Some editions are put out in mere hours. In a normal week I lay out three papers — two editions of the Citizen and one of the Gazette. This week, I’ve got to put out five.

That means that not only do I have to somehow find time to do the layout, but the newsroom has to collect and write enough news to put on the pages. That includes writing editorials and this column several times over. I can regularly be found doing deep breathing exercises and pulling at my hair (I blame the grey on the stress). I remind myself over and over again in a mantra that it always gets done. By the end of the pre-holiday rush my brain is mush and I can’t remember which edition I’m working on at any given time.

This must be what Santa feels like. How is he so jolly all the time? Maybe I need a few more elves.

In lieu of that, I remind myself how much I love the Christmas season, because I do. This weekend, I’m going to put aside some time to head up to Youbou to take in the amazing Christmas village at Cassy’s Coffee House. My mother and I travelled to Victoria a couple weekends ago to take in the lights at Butchart Gardens. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. It’s like stepping into another world. My family got together last weekend to do a baking day, and now I have shortbread and thumbprint cookies in tins in the refrigerator to enjoy. That’s to say nothing of putting up my Christmas tree (I am a Christmas ornament fanatic who always manages to add a few every year), which I did at the beginning of the month this year.

Sure, I still have to remember to buy the Brussels sprouts this week to make the dish that I’m always requested to bring to the family Christmas dinner. And I haven’t actually had a chance to wrap any of my Christmas gifts yet, though I have finished shopping.

But I remind myself that things are getting finished, one by one. And in the newsroom, I can always turn to my colleagues for help, because they really are an amazing bunch to work with. If I keep my eyes on a merry Christmas, rather than be buried by Christmas, it will all come together in the end.

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