Yes, the season is coming, they hid it in December again this year, and i don't know why that always takes me by surprise. Yes, that means the "season" starts in one month, even if the "day" is two months away.
This year, i am Taking Steps, as someone famous once said, but Mr. Google won't confirm who it was for me, and right now i cannot find my copy of that book. Steps are being Taken just the same.
The one thing that generally catches me off guard is sending out greeting cards. This year, i am already addressing them, one or sometimes even two in a day, so i will be finished well ahead of time. A run to the post office to stand in line for an hour and buy stamps is being planned. After being in line for an hour, i will demand to see the book that shows all the stamps they have available, and i will pick what i want. If i'm going to all the trouble, i'm going to have my stamp moment.
Celebrating on the day of Christmas is usually easy. Everyone goes to Grandma and Grandpa's house, and i make gravy (first, you make a roux!) and mashed potatoes and bring a pumpkin pie for Sweetie, who adores a very heavily spiced pumpkin pie. He does not like anything else to be pumpkin flavored, however.
Grandma cooks because no one else can do it right. A lot of it she makes ahead. She tried ordering from a supermarket that caters once, and everything was too salty for her liking, so she now pre-prepares a dish or two each of the three days leading up to the big day, then adds the last ingredients and cooks it all that morning.
Decorations around here are easy -- i don't. When the children were small, i would tell everyone that it's very simple, we have three elderly, neurotic cats and four children and i don't want to have to haul the tree back upright several times a day. The children were shipped off to Grandma and Grandpa's house to decorate their tree, and that was plenty.
Now, it's just a habit not to do so, and we have grown kids with cats of their own, and i can guarantee that seven cats would make short shrift of any large tree we tried to decorate. We used a small, almost dead Charlie Brown tree on top of the fridge one year, but now we use the green bookcase that's shaped like a pirogue. It is quite in keeping with where we live and is the right color. The few unbreakable decorations i have go on that, along with cards we want to display. Gifts have to stay hidden because the cats will eat them.
Gifts, well, i knew we would get to that. Grandma and Grandpa get whatever they ask for, and if they don't ask then Grandma gets a gift card for her favorite craft store and Grandpa gets his all-time favorite goodie, a fried confection called hojaldras.
The children get cash, because that's what they want. The cash envelope has been squirreled away in a hidey-hole so secret, i hope i can still -- wait just a minute, please.
Yes, it's still there. Yes, i have to check, i am a messy mimi, after all, and sometimes Things Happen when a mess piles up. Only a small amount left to save, and then all of them are covered. Four by birth, one by marriage, and a foster child.
Sweetie and i do not exchange gifts. Life is much less complicated if we divide the little bit we have evenly and then each go get a small something for ourselves to enjoy.
My suggestions, then, are simple. Keep it simple. Plan a day to go see Christmas lights and get coffee and beignets. Use unbreakable decorations that fit your house and lifestyle. If the children are old enough, give cash. If not, take them to Grandma and Grandpa's house, where they will get gifts to open.
And start addressing those cards now, one or two per day. It will be done before you know it, and you won't be screaming banshee crazy trying to chase the mail truck down the street on the last possible day to get the cards there on time. (No, i've never done that, at least not with cards, and i don't want to start.)
On a totally unrelated note, if you want to read a fine blog and possibly win a beautiful painting for your home, check out The Chubby Chatterbox. If you've never read his posts or seen his work, it's worth it.
Armed Forces Day -- Romania
Constitution Day -- Lithuania
Day of the Basque Country -- Basque Country
Feast of Forty Martyrs of England and Wales -- Roman Catholic
International Artist Day -- invite an artist to lunch, buy that painting that you've wanted for so long, go to an art gallery or the symphony or a play -- celebrate how art adds to your life daily!
Munzipan Feast -- Fairy Calendar (a fairy delicacy, and you don't want to know how it's made)
National Greasy Foods Day
Punk-for-a-Day Day -- internet generated; if you've always wanted to be a punk, try it out for a day
Republic Day -- Kazakhstan
Retrocession Day -- Taiwan
Sourest Day -- as a balance, because we have so many days that emphasize sweet
Sts. Crispin and Crispian's Day (Patrons of cobblers/shoemakers, glovemakers, lace makers/lace workers, leather workers, saddle makers, tanners, weavers)
Thanksgiving Day -- Grenada
World Pasta Day -- as established by the first World Pasta Congress in 1995
Katy Perry, 1984
Tracy Nelson, 1963
Brian Kerwim, 1949
Jon Anderson, 1944
Anne Tyler, 1941
Helen Reddy, 1941
Bobby Knight, 1940
Marion Ross, 1936
Billy Barty, 1924
Minnie Pearl, 1912
Leo G. Carroll, 1892
Pablo Picasso, 1881
Georges Bizet, 1838
Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1800
"Le Repetition"(Anouilh play), 1950
"The Time of Your Life"(Play), 1939
Today in History:
Seljuk Turks defeat the German crusaders under Conrad III at the Battle of Dorylaeum, 1147
Battle of Agincourt, in which the Welsh longbow defeats armored knights, 1415
Christopher Columbus, aboard the Santa Maria, lands at the Dominican Republic, 1492
Dutch sea-captain Dirk Hartog makes second recorded landfall by a European on Australian soil, at the later-named Dirk Hartog Island off the Western Australian coast, 1616
Governor Bradford of the US colony Plymouth disallows sport on Christmas Day, 1621
Wedding of future US President John Adams and Abigail Smith (the marriage lasted 54 years), 1764
Canadians and Mohawks defeat the Americans in the Battle of Chateauguay, 1813
Opening of the Erie Canal, 1825
Battle of Balaclava, memorialized as the "Charge of the Light Brigade", results in the deaths of 409 troops, 1854
The Toronto Stock Exchange is created, 1861
Traditionally understood date of the October Revolution in Russia, which corresponds to November 7 on the Gregorian Calendar, 1917
The Archbishop of Dubuque, Francis J. L. Beckman, denounces swing music as "a degenerated musical system... turned loose to gnaw away at the moral fiber of young people", warning that it leads down a "primrose path to hell", 1938
Adlai Stevenson shows photos at the UN proving Soviet missiles are installed in Cuba, 1962
Uganda joins the United Nations, 1962
Nelson Mandela is sentenced to five years in prison, 1962
The United Nations seated the People's Republic of China and expelled the Republic of China, 1971
Proceedings on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction conclude at The Hague, 1980
Three months after the end of the Ten-Day War, the last soldier of the Yugoslav People's Army leaves the territory of the Republic of Slovenia, 1991
Fidel Castro announces that transactions using the American Dollar will be banned in Cuba, 2004
Sony removed the original cassette Walkman from the market, 2010
Scientists announce that the completion of the nuclear genome study of a 24,000 year old Siberian boy's remains shows 2/3 of today's Native Americans are of Eastern Asia origin, and the others from Western Eurasia, 2013