Have you ever noticed that despite the fact that Christmas has always been on December 25th, it sneaks up on us every year?
At least it always seems to sneak up on me. Here we are, just 16 more days to go and once again, I am nowhere near ready.
I think one of my major problems is denial. I always think I have more time than I actually do.
Logically, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to begin my preparations weeks or even months earlier. But once the holiday is off my radar, there’s a part of me that denies it even exists, until just a few weeks before it comes again.
At least the gift shopping part has ceased to be a hassle. We get gift cards for everyone, and yes, that is the lazy way out, but it really does let people get the one thing that they didn’t find under the tree. It’s especially handy for teenagers, who are always changing their minds as to what they want.
The next item on the list, after gifts, is the tree. Do you remember last year’s “Christmas Yucca”? If you recall, we had absolutely no room to put our tree up last Christmas because the Yucca was too big to move successfully to the office (as we had done in the past, putting the Christmas tree up in its place). So last year we threw some garland on the Yucca and called it done.
This year, of course, we had a bit more room in the living room, since we’d replaced the loveseat with three bookcases. Unfortunately, this past May, when we rented a dumpster and the girls cleaned out the upstairs in preparation for turning it into a temporary living space (again), my daughter thought that the tree in the box was her old tree and so she tossed it into the bin. What she actually threw out was our new tree that we had enjoyed only once.
My beloved says it was likely just as well, as that tree would not have really fit in the one space we have available for it—in front of the ‘corner’ made by the bookcases. So we bought another one—this also an artificial one since our daughter has recently developed an allergy to the real thing.
This “new tree” is only five feet tall, and only thirty-six inches around at the bottom. I stand five foot one. Yup, it’s little. But it fits and the grandchildren who are 10 and 8 were able to decorate it all by themselves and could even place the star on top without the aid of a ladder.
They were both very proud of the excellent job they did, and so were we.
There’s only really one item left on my list of preparations, and that’s the baking. I used to do a lot of it, back in the day. I haven’t baked a great deal lately because I hate tossing food away. My beloved still has his sweet tooth but it’s not as hungry as once it was. The days of his filching an entire cherry cheesecake out of the fridge for a midnight snack are behind us (thank goodness). But as I did this summer, when for the first time in years I made pickles, this year I want to bake.
Last Christmas, my two younger grandchildren and I had an evening, where we made sugar cookies—primarily, I must confess, so that we could spend the time together and so they could have the fun of decorating them.
This year, I think it will just be my granddaughter and I in the kitchen. I want to make some of my traditional have-on-hands for the holidays: thumbprint cookies and shortbread. But we’ll try a couple of new recipes, too. I know we’ll have fun not just in the making but in keeping the grandfather of the house from snatching finger dips of batter as he so loves to do.
In other words, we’ll have fun making memories.