It’s official. The holiday season is upon us. Every year, I promise to start my Christmas shopping earlier. Then I get involved in a project—like finishing the darn book—and my promise goes the way of the Dodo bird. I did dog-ear catalogs that came in the mail this year. Found perfect gifts for some family members. Have I ordered them yet? Of course not. <groan>
My mother-in-law shopped all year round. She wrapped the gift in a plastic grocery bag and taped the name of the recipient to the bag so she would remember who she bought it for. When she passed, we found many gifts under her bed or on the shelf in a closet. Some even had dates (several years past) written along with the names. Hubs and I doled out the gifts, saddened that MIL never got to see the enjoyment the recipients expressed.
The PTO at the grandkiddies’ school had two bookfairs this year. I went to both when Daughter was working so she could tell me which books the kids would like and which ones they had, along with suggestions for the little one out in AZ. So I am sort of ahead on the gift purchasing. Sort of being the operative phrase.
As we get older, Hubs and I are at a loss as to get the other. He used to be easy to buy for. Power tools and woodworking machines were always a good bet. But now he has more than he needs. Gift cards to a hardware store sufficed for a while. Now I tell him to buy what he wants. He’ll ask what I want. My usual response is “I don’t know.” Real helpful, huh? Sometimes I’ll see something I like, buy it, and tell him he can give it to me. LOL Hey, it works.
I have more fun watching the kiddies open gifts than opening my own. Their delight fills me with warmth. Tossing gifts of clothing over their shoulders accompanied by rolling eyes makes me think of my favorite movie, The Christmas Story” aka “You’ll shoot your eye out.”
Decorating the house is becoming more of a challenge. The decorations are kept in big tubs in the basement. Carrying those tubs upstairs is too much for Hubs now. So he’ll make several trips over many days carrying the decorations upstairs. Not good. Maybe this weekend we can “borrow” the kiddies to do the running. One thing is a must, no matter how limited the decorations. The ceramic nativity set my mother.
Cards and the Christmas letter. Ever since our first move away from family (1981) Hubs has written a letter chronicling our year. Then he gives it to me to “clean up.” His spelling is, shall we say “original” and he must have slept through grammar classes. Since content outweighs mistakes, I try to keep the flavor of his words. Some in our family tell us they really enjoy our news. Nowadays so many are on Facebook, they already know everything we’ve done. Well, almost everything. LOL Getting a family picture from family and friends is my favorite thing. I love the letters, too, but seeing the little kids I used to know growing into adults is always fascinating. We have a great family picture I’ll be including this year.
As the end of the year approaches, I start making lists of what I want to accomplish the next year. Career-wise, I’ve made the same goal for the past three years: publish two full-length novels plus a novella. For two years, I managed the novels. This year, only the novella. Don’t know why I slowed down. Life, I guess. Lack of focus, maybe? For 2017, I’ll repeat my goal. Maybe this time I’ll get it right. If I don’t, oh well. I have other things to stress over.
Stress. An ugly word. For me, stress came when I tried to do too much. I had to make cookies. I had to buy the perfect gift. I had to clean. I had to decorate. Everything had to be just so. Letting go of those “had to do’s” made me calm and helped me enjoy the season. Now I do what I can and forget the rest. Makes life easier. Why is it that wisdom comes as we grow older?
Each December, we Roses have a tradition. Strictly voluntary, no have-to’s. LOL Our gift to you, our readers, is a collection of serialized short stories. Each story begins with the same first sentence. This year it’s “This was the absolute last time she kissed anyone under the mistletoe.” I am so looking forward to read what each Rose has written. My story will run from December 26 to the 28th. It picks up where last year’s story ended and was a lot of fun to write.
Come back tomorrow for Margo Hoornstra’s “A Sing-ular Tradition.” I can’t wait.