It happens this time just about every year. The Bah-Humbug bug bites and I feel more than a little Scroogey–know what I mean?
Christmas cards are behind schedule. There’s that annual holiday note we write that I suspect our friends and families are not quite rushing to their mailboxes to be able to be the first to read. I’m a writer, and should really enjoy talking all about me, me, me, but somehow this “news” doesn’t feel quite like the gift I envisioned it being.
We bought the tree yesterday. We’re letting it sit in the living room so the branches can “breathe and fall into place.” I wanted to kiss the guy at the store who said this. Starting the annual search for lights, and “did you leave them in this tangle?” debate leave me feeling about as warm as Denver’s temperature in last week’s Bronco’s game. Yes. A nice night of procrastination because “NCIS is on” works for me.
And the gifts! Every year I plan to get these under control early. I think about them throughout the year. I plan to make the purchases sometime in early November when the first of the barrage of catalogs hits my doorstep. And then, inevitably, I blink and it’s mid-December without the “shopping” done. Instead of shipping in the calm (and less expensive) ground choice, I search the boxes that say “next day delivery–that’ll be more than you can afford, please.” Not quite sure how this happens but am quite certain it’s going to.
Suddenly, I wake one morning and think, “Christmas is just a waste of time!” That’s when I know I have to sit down and rethink this. And here are some of the things I focus on:
Lights–When we first got together, my husband had not really ever celebrated Christmas. He was raised a Muslim, and his family was inconsistent in observing their religious holidays. Our first Christmas, we vacationed in Daytona Beach (neither of us knowing that winter hits Florida as much as anywhere else in the United States). We got home with our hardly used swimsuits and a styrofoam surf board, which we taped to the wall for our “Christmas Tree.” It was silly and fun.
But after that, we put up a Christmas tree each year, and for many years I’d wake in the night and find my good guy sitting on the floor in whatever room the tree sat, all the lights out except the tree’s. The look on his face was of pure innocence and hope, and I’d fall in love with him all over again.
Kids–I still chuckle over the “Dear Santa” letters that are absolute treasures to me. One year, one of my girls wrote a shopping list for Santa that ran three pages! Guess she had mom’s and dad’s budget pegged, and knew we were old softies who wanted nothing more than to make her smile. But this same daughter is the one I’ve seen wrap up her dinner and share it with a homeless person on the street. She gives to others constantly now and I can’t imagine how she became such a generous spirit.
Music–Okay. Fair warning here. I love to sing–badly. It has been decades since I could carry a tune in a bushel basket, as my mom would say, but singing makes me smile. And yes. I still love singing along with Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, and The Royal Guardsmen (Snoopy and the Red Barron at Christmas–Classic!). Kenny G’s Christmas CD is somewhere in my stash (I think my daughter and good guy have hidden it somewhere). One year I even gave holiday CDs to neighbors in the mistaken belief that they love holiday music as much as me. Sticking to edibles from now on.
And gifting! No, I don’t look forward to “what I got.” I love the last-minute rush where each of us older ones runs to a separate room at 11:00 on Christmas eve, and wraps gifts in our own “creative” ways. We shout out to each other such loving phrases as “I ran out of tape, got any more?” or “Do we haveta put ribbons on everything?” One Christmas I got a wrapping paper tube filled with wild and wonderful socks. I laughed and loved them for years to come.
Christmas isn’t such a madhouse any more. Daughters are grown and gone, but when I wander through the sparklies of the season in my house and smile, Scrooge shrinks within me and I am full of seasonal hope and joy once more.
Here’s hoping you have a great holiday preparation time too.