I usually wait until the day after Thanksgiving to begin decorating my home for Christmas but this year I’m more anxious than ever to put up a tree and deck the halls. I already know that our big extended family Thanksgiving feast has been cancelled and I definitely won’t be hosting a Christmas day gala for over forty people. In fact it is most likely that nobody but my husband Mike and I will even see our Christmas decorations so it does not appear to matter when I bring them out. Heck, I could keep them up all year and who would know?
My mother-in-law is in her nineties and she no longer has the energy to take down her decorations and store them away for eleven months out of the year so she has another trick up her sleeve. She keeps her tree on a stand with wheels. She decorates it once and when Christmas is over she moves it to a discrete corner and covers it to keep the dust away. When December comes she removes the cover and relocates the tree to the center of the living room. Her ingenuity is remarkable because nobody ever notices the tree hiding in the corner of a room that only she visits when it is not Christmas. I think that she is actually rather clever.
I know people who set up their holiday decorations in December and leave them there until Valentine’s day. They do their Christmas shopping after the crowds have left the stores and everything is on sale. It’s a different way of doing things but certainly not without a certain amount of merit.
I have friends with whom I usually share gifts that I probably won’t be able to see this year, at least not in the traditional way. I was thinking that I will hand deliver their presents to their front porches much as Amazon does only mine will be nicely wrapped. I’ll ring the doorbell and stand in the yard with my mask firmly in place to give them Christmas greetings. I am determined not to allow a pandemic to become the real grinch that stole Christmas.
I always send out lots of Christmas cards. My list is sadly dwindling with each passing year because so many in the older generation are slowly dying. I found that the younger set are not as into the tradition of mailing greeting cards so while I use close to a hundred stamps each season I rarely get even half that many holiday greetings in return. Nonetheless I like the idea of reaching out to members of my friends and family hopefully to bring a little smile to their faces.
I am so ready for a break from politics and Christmas seems to be just the panacea for which I have been searching but I suppose that first I need to celebrate my November birthday and deliver my annual October birthday gift to my dear friend Monica whom I have known since we were both in second grade more than sixty years ago. We usually meet for a long and leisurely lunch somewhere but I don’t go inside restaurants yet so perhaps we can sit together in her backyard with our masks and appropriate distances. I have a pretty great gift for her that I purchased long before the virus was a thing and I can’t wait to take it to her.
I have other objectives to accomplish in November before diving totally into Christmas. I allow myself one slice of pumpkin cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory each year. I used to purchase an entire cake back when I was able to eat anything without gaining a pound. Now I only have to gaze longingly at something that is fattening and add several pounds to my girth. My weight gain has been daunting now that I am avoiding the gym because of the virus. No amount of walking on the treadmill or following exercise programs seems to help. No doubt it’s because I spoil myself with sweet treats to make up for the fact that I mostly stay home.
I have so many traditions that are going by the wayside this year. I suppose that is not totally a bad thing. Being flexible keeps me more creative and adventurous. Change is certain so perhaps it’s better that I go along with the flow. I need to try more serendipitous ways of doing things if for no other reason than to keep from turning into a stodgy old lady.
There will be no visits to Galveston’s Dickens on the Strand celebration this year. I won’t be able to walk merrily through the crowd at the Nutcracker Market. For that matter I don’t expect there to be a presentation of the Nutcracker ballet. We may have to meet the Scheffler family in a park to exchange the ornaments that I have already purchased for them. My brother will not host a Christmas Eve gala where we gather for an evening of laughter and exchange of gifts. Only one of my church lady members is still able to meet up for lunch. I guess I won’t have the annual gathering with my buddies from Revere Middle School either. My house will be rather empty on Christmas Day but I may try something that a friend once offered as a delightful holiday change. She spoke of staying home on Christmas Day and lounging in her pajamas while eating lasagna and watching movies and reading any new books she received as a gift. I’ve often wondered what a day like that might be like and this may be the year to find out.
So all in all it sounds like a time in which anything goes. I can bring out my Santas from around the world anytime I please. There are no rules this year. My Christmas sweater will be just as ugly on November 25 as in December. I can bake cookies and wrap presents anytime I wish. This may be one of the most freeing times of my life.