ROLL BACK THE CALENDAR! I’M NOT READY! – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Wednesday – Not the Holidays again!


“Oh no,” I cried. “Not again!”

Bad enough that summer was nothing but a giant rainstorm … but it’s November and you know what that means! Holidays. I am even more unready for holidays as I am for finding someone to clear the millions of leaves off our property, much less having them mix with tons of snow. Arghh!

It will be a Christmas tree. At Christmas.

My son decided to not do Thanksgiving this year. It’s the first time we’ve ever lived near each other and not “done” Thanksgiving and he was a bit apologetic.

“Not to worry,” I said. He got an invitation to go to the Cape and enjoy someone else’s cooking. I congratulated him. I pointed out he might learn to enjoy not making a giant feast. We’ll do a get-together Christmas Eve and open our mini-gifts, which is what we give.

I have a tabletop fake (but it looks real) tree with decorations already on it.  It has lights, too. It lives in the guest room in a big black bag. Every year, I remove the bag, carry the tree to the living room, and plug it in.

Voila! Christmas.

I cook something on Christmas Eve for whoever is coming by. No one except Owen bothers to tell me they are coming. I think my granddaughter is hoping for a better offer.

We don’t buy “real” gifts. No big packages greatly reduce Christmas visits. I give better gifts for birthdays. One gift to one person — I can get something they may actually want. Garry and I give each other stuff all the time anyway. As for me, we’ve already got far too much stuff.

Christmas Day, Garry and I watch boring old movies during which they sing “White Christmas” and Garry always points out that it’s racist. Then we eat something, which this year, might be frozen pizza.

When I was a mere lass, the Thanksgiving through Christmas holiday season was a big deal. Mostly that grew out of being raised “atheistically Jewish.” That meant no celebration. No decorations. I always felt left out. When I married “out,” I was delighted to finally get a piece of the holiday.

November through a sunny window

But then, everyone, including my granddaughter, grew up. I realized we didn’t need a huge tree taking up half the living room nor did I need to go into five years of credit debt to buy stuff no one seemed to care about.

These years, the Holidays are stripped to the minimum. Enough so my little tree looks pretty — and takes less than 10 minutes to set up. Garry and I buy each other something small. This year, I think I’ll get him a Red Sox sweatshirt. He will buy me flowers because he figures if I wanted it, I’ve probably already bought it.

What a relief!

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

16 thoughts on “ROLL BACK THE CALENDAR! I’M NOT READY! – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. I feel,the same although we go one tiny step further: no gifts, buy yourself something if you need it and if there is a decoration, more to look good. I cooked for every one at Christmas with kids and mother-in-law and my mum and dad if they came. It was one big stress and now it is over thank goodness. I do not like holidays. As a golden oldie I am continuously on holiday.

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  2. Christmas will be low key for us. If Naomi has to work we will celebrate just before or just after. I will put the tree up about a week before Christmas and I will make Christmas pudding, Christmas Cake and mince pies because we always have those and White Christmas because Naomi likes it. We’ll have lunch open presents including presents for the pets and later we’ll watch Christmas movies on TV or DVD’s. We do the same thing every year but I like it and would not want it any different.

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    1. Our big surprise is that after the holiday, when everything is really cheap, we go shopping. As for the sweatshirt, it won’t survive ungiven until the holiday. His previous one, the zipper died.

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  3. I think your tree is lovely. Ours is about the same size. I really like the idea that it is already decorated. Now there’s progress.
    Leslie

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    1. I could usually get someone to help decorate the “big” tree, but NO ONE ever wanted to help me take it apart. Now, I DON’T take it apart. Big black trash back, carry to the unused guest room. Voila. See you next year!

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  4. Luckily for me, since I can’t see any more to do a good job, my son is into Christmas and he decorates the entire house. He asks for suggestions regarding where to put this and that and I offer my two bits, but he always does a spectacular job. The day he isn’t able is the day I no longer decorate. Unfortunately this year, both he and my daughter work Christmas so it’ll be an up early share gifts and that’s that, probably no dinner this year, which is fine. I can get a small turkey for him and I to share or we can wait until New Years (not sure he has that off either) but we usually (and the only time I drink) buy a small bottle of wine and we see the new year in together. Thanksgiving this year was cooked by my 17-year-old granddaughter who’s not done much cooking, but she did a fine job. It’s the thought and company that count in my opinion. I love your tree, by the way, I think it’s perfection for the space. Normally we have ours up by now too, but we haven’t due to the pub who is massive in size and energetic to boot and we’re not sure about the “balls” on the tree since he loves balls, we’re wondering if they’ll stay. Fortunately, I hang (smirk smirk me hanging it) garland across the roof so I know those will be safe.

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    1. There was a time when we were a family and that made it at least worth the effort, but now everyone is grown up and more or less on their own. No one else seems to be all that interested, either. But that’s the way it has gone for many people, not just us.

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  5. I have such such mixed feelings. I grew up in a Christian and we QUIT celebrating holidays when I was in the second grade. When Easter rolled around we were not allowed to wear anything new on Easter. I left that tradition and started celebrating when my eldest was 5 years old. Then divorce remarried. Eldest converted to Judaism… no more Christmas. I was crushed. I wanted them to celebrate with us while we celebrated with them. It didn’t happen. We give Hanukkah gifts but we don’t receive Christmas gifts. I put on a happy face, but I hate Christmas. I love seeing decorations but have no desire to decorate. So like you… I will pull out a little tree that doesn’t need adorning and take the wreath out if closet and hang it. We do now have some grandkids who do celebrate and they get their gifts, but I feel no joy. Bah humbug.

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    1. I think there’s also a tedium we develop. For one thing, the expense of Christmas has bankrupted us more than once and I can’t do that anymore. And I grew up without Christmas anyway, so in a way, it’s simply sliding back to where I started. It was nice when the kids were kids, though, and everyone got all excited.

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  6. I love holiday traditions, but traditions change as we get older. This year we won’t even be home for Christmas, so we are hoping to have a “gift exchange” during Hanukkah. However, we are all so busy, our daughter is getting married in January, we are going abroad, so only my son is still expecting the usual holiday traditions and we can’t even find a date during the eight days of Hanukkah that we can all get together – and I’m only talking about five people! Although often he doesn’t celebrate certain holidays with us anymore. This year he’s going on a retreat. I think we should do what you do – stay at home and watch movies! On New Year’s that is what we do, that and play Scrabble with other old people – my sister & brother-in-law!

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