Sur­viv­ing the Christ­mas race

South Shore Breaker - - Health& Wellness - Les­

The next two weeks are the most fran­tic of our lives. It sud­denly oc­curs to us that Christ­mas is al­most here. How did that hap­pen? We had such a great sum­mer and the leaves in Oc­to­ber were glo­ri­ous. So, how can it be that an­other year is al­most over? What hap­pened to all our plans for 2018? An­other year dis­ap­pear­ing into the an­nals of time. An­other decade gone without our bucket list com­plete.

But we’ll have to weep about our lost dreams an­other time be­cause right now we have to pick up Christ­mas wrap­ping pa­per or at least slog through the base­ment and find the rolls that didn’t get used last year. If you haven’t sent Christ­mas cards by now, you might as well for­get them, which was our plan all along, if we’re hon­est.

Trips to Sobeys are end­less now, for poul­try sea­son­ing and cran­berry jelly, as well as Ea­gle Brand milk and gra­ham cracker crumbs. You spend hours on the in­ter­net try­ing to find recipes for the veg­e­tar­i­ans and ve­g­ans in the fam­ily. Bad enough you have to roast a tur­key, but now you’re el­bow deep in chick­pea, turmeric and co­conut milk recipes.

Christ­mas bak­ing is in full swing, which is a chore for some and a joy for oth­ers. I have a foot in each camp. I love the idea of mak­ing my fam­i­lies favourite cook­ies, but it’s the try­ing not to eat them that’s the hard part. I tend to put a lot of cook­ies in the freezer, but as ev­ery­one knows, there’s noth­ing bet­ter than a frozen cookie with a hot cup of tea. My kids hate when I put tins in the freezer, but how else do you keep things fresh through the hol­i­day sea­son?

I love us­ing my grand­mother’s short­bread cookie cut­ter. It’s the high­light of De­cem­ber for me. My sen­ti­men­tal­ity is grow­ing by leaps and bounds as I get older. I cry now dec­o­rat­ing the Christ­mas tree with the same or­na­ments we’ve had all our lives, but that’s the point. These things have been a wit­ness to ev­ery Christ­mas we’ve had as a fam­ily and now that one of our chil­dren can’t come home this year, I’ll be bawl­ing as I hang up the rein­deer or­na­ment she made for us in Grade 2.

Hope­fully by now you’ll have a few gifts bought and wrapped. If I shop too early I can’t re­mem­ber what I bought, so it’s never a good idea for me to shop in Novem­ber. Ev­ery­one keeps talk­ing about buy­ing on-line, but I can’t seem to get in the Christ­mas spirit, without join­ing the hoards at the mall and stand­ing in line­ups. It feels like I’m cheat­ing when I click but­tons on the com­puter.

Of course, hubby com­plains if I say maybe I’ll get the kids some gift cards.

“That’s not a Christ­mas gift!” “They like get­ting them.” “A piece of plas­tic. Bah hum­bug.”

“A piece of plas­tic worth $100.”

“Why can’t they rip open a pair of bor­ing wool socks like we did? Why does ev­ery­thing have to be sleek, thin and con­ve­nient?”

“OK, you go out and buy them Christ­mas gifts.”

“Fine. They both need more tools. I’ll go to Cana­dian Tire.”

“Well, you have the bor­ing part down pat.”

Dec­o­rat­ing the in­side and out­side of the house is now top pri­or­ity dur­ing these two fi­nal weeks and a sense of ur­gency makes your tem­ples throb. Your best bet is to not look at dec­o­rat­ing mag­a­zines at store check-out coun­ters. They will only de­press you. Try­ing to find white or clear light bulbs now is a lost cause. Grum­bling un­der your breath at your spouse, as you hang up ropes of lights around the fir tree out front, is now a time-hon­oured tra­di­tion.

Where is the padded ta­ble liner? Where is the red table­cloth? Or the green table­cloth for that mat­ter? Where are the Christ­mas linen nap­kins? Where are the sliver nap­kin rings? Where’s your mother’s wooden ch­est with all the sil­ver­ware en­cased in­side in red vel­vet slots? You use these things once a year and ev­ery year you for­get where you put them for safe­keep­ing.

Ev­ery year, I put up an old hand­made Ad­vent Cal­en­dar the kids have had since they were lit­tle, and ev­ery year I prom­ise my­self that I’ll fix it, but ev­ery year I end up stick­ing the felt or­na­ments back on with scotch tape in­stead of glu­ing pieces of Vel­cro to the back of them, so they’ll stop hang­ing by a thread ev­ery time some­one opens the hall­way door. Last year, Santa Claus had four pieces of folde­dover Scotch-tape hang­ing off the back of his jacket.

It’s the same steeple-chase ev­ery year, but isn’t it lovely to be able to do it?




The rush of the hol­i­days can get the best of us, but hope­fully there’s time to re­lax and en­joy.

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