I Dread the Holidays, I Love the Holidays

Here I am again.  That week between Christmas and New Years.  The week where you can almost let out a huge sigh of relief and your shoulders lower from around your ears back to where they belong.  But it’s the week, too, where you look at last week and think “Was that the best Christmas ever?”  And yes it was, it really was.

In October I started to get that niggling feeling that Christmas was coming up and I should start getting busy.  But who am I kidding?  I can’t think that I’ve ever bought a Christmas present before the middle of December in my entire life. 

Then Thanksgiving comes around and I start thinking I’d better get out to the garage and start digging for decorations and the tree.  But this year I didn’t have to dig.  I spent two full days in August cleaning out the garage and my daughter and I put all the decorations in bins and labeled everything.  I knew exactly where everything was and it was going to make it all so easy this year.  Score round one for me!

Then it’s December 10th.  This is my oldest childs birthday.  I made a vow when she was born that I would never mix her birthday and Christmas and I don’t think I ever have.  Then the next day is  December 11 and I normally turn into the  Tasmanian devil.  But this year  I  didn’t.  The decorations and tree were put up by youngest daughter.  I did put the ornaments on the tree as my contribution.  And I pay the housekeeper.  Score round two for me!

Then it’s the 20th and I’m starting to get a little anxious.  Just a little bit because I’m really not buying a whole lot.  A couple of stores later and I am done.  Because checks make great presents and that’s what most everybody wanted this year.  Score round three for me!

Now comes the toughy.  I volunteer my house for Christmas Eve.  And I knew this year was going to be a biggy.  And it was.  Twenty-seven people for dinner.  Set up a bar, throw in an 18 lb prime rib, twenty lbs of baked potatoes, tell all attendees what to bring and voila!  Done.  Again, I paid the housekeeper to come clean.

Everybody shows up and the merriment begins.  Drinking and snacks roll right into a lovely dinner.  Soon our little gift exchange is done and everybody is feeling quite pleasant.  Ah ha!  I then pounce on everybody and hand out  the words to every Christmas carol ever written.  This is when I head to the bar.  It’s my turn to play a little catch-up.  And since my drinking is pretty minimal it only takes one martini and I am there along with the rest of the singers, loud and out of tune!  But we have the best of times.  Or that is what the martini’s are leading me to believe.  And I sing better after imbibing a couple of martini’s.

Next day is two Excedrins, French toast and bacon with daughters, son-in-law and his parents.  This has become a lovely tradition for us and allows everybody to do and go and be whatever they want for the afternoon.

Since I brought my niece, Jessie, out from Pittsburgh for holidays, it’s agreed we’ll go to Grandma and Grandpa’s for a ham dinner.  Some of the family have also showed up so we just sit around, eat, talk and I just keep wishing I could take a nap.  This Christmas is a bit hard.  Dad has just been diagnosed with cancer and it seems to be spreading rapidly.  At 93, what are you going to do?  And Mom is just getting smaller and frailer.  This could be the last Christmas with both of them.

Finally, it’s all over except for the after Christmas sales that the girls and I hit with a vengeance.  We mix it up with a little sushi and a movie and it’s been one of the best days ever.  I am with my best friend, Joanie, daughter Kate, niece, Jessie and all is pretty darn wonderful.

Tomorrow night is New Years Eve.  I’m sitting here thinking back over the last week and all I can do is smile.  It really has been great.  As far as I know there were no big fights, the left side of the family didn’t deck the right side of the family.  Little brother started to make a comment and I just pointed my finger at him, glared and said “No”.  I think a little fear is healthy.

Tomorrow night  I will be attending the Moisture Festival in old Ballard.  I have not a clue what I am getting myself into.  I know it will be loud and colorful and probably weird and magical but I’m always willing to try new things.  I need to go dig out my body glitter – that’s the kind of ball this will be. 

Then nephew Bob comes in Thursday, another party at my house for the whole family to   see him on Saturday night, then I take Jess to the airport so she can fly home to Pittsburgh.  I’m gonna miss my Baby Girl. 

So as much as I dread the holidays they have a wonderful way of surprising me.  They become so loving, so sweet and once again, they become a magical memory.

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