Preparing for Christmas (Martha Stewart does not live here)

Countdown: 7 days…

The time has come for me to do something in preparation for Christmas! So here I am – preparing for Christmas by writing a Christmas blog. Does that count? See the nice red and green font below.

Fortunately or unfortunately, we don’t have any children in the family at the moment, so it is relatively easy to avoid the burden, but it is still surprising how many “traditions” lurk like dark clouds in the background.

Here is my progress to date…

OUTDOOR LIGHTS: Our contribution to neighbourhood sparkle was to go for a walk to admire everyone else’s lights. Everyone else did an admirable job, and we thank them for their efforts to put us in the holiday mood.

CARDBOARD BOXES: I visited my mother and took away a large cardboard box of Christmas decorations that she has been saving in hopes that someone will want to use them. It has been stored in the basement and garage for years, and smells as musty as can be. The contents are the things even SHE doesn’t want to use – replacement light bulbs for obsolete types of light strings, outdoor spot lights, Christmas tree garlands including a fuschia-coloured one that won’t be put on any tree I ever control, and a few glass balls with the paint peeling off. She let me take them away to give to my kids, or use myself, or throw away. She was willing to part with them at last, but SHE WANTS THE SMELLY CARDBOARD BOX BACK! Only because it fits nicely in another trunk. Both would be empty, like many of the boxes she keeps. {Hi Mom – I’m just making this up to entertain my readers.}

TREE: I haven’t decided what to do about a tree yet. I don’t want to appear unappreciative of tradition, but I’m thinking of taking a break. That might be inaccurate, since I am thinking of doing something like this tree, which will be a lot more work that buying a proper one. Alternatively, tomorrow we may go to the local park and pick up some fallen branches.

TURKEY: Haven’t bought one yet. My husband has been watching the ads for the cheapest price, and thinks we can get one at the last minute for $0.99/pound. He is happy with a “utility” turkey, which will be missing some part like a wing, or will have skin ripped off. He says that as long as it isn’t missing the body, it will be fine. Whatever we get, we need to buy it 3 days before Christmas so it has time to thaw. On Thursday I will go and pay whatever it costs.

DINNER GUESTS: I’ve been told that two kids and their significant others will be coming for dinner on the 24th this year. The third child will be in sunnier climes. We are undecided whether to have turkey on the 24th (and thus upstage the hosts-in-law who managed to get the prime-time slot on the 25th!) or to have something different on the 24th and then cook turkey on the 25th for a very small crowd. It is just as well that we have this option, given the uncertainty of a turkey purchase this week.

Countdown: 6 days…

OUTDOOR LIGHTS: As usual, there will be none at our house. However, as usual, I have put some lights on the inside of the windows that are visible from outside. I think this is a brilliant solution, as no ladders, cold hands, cranky husbands, etc., are needed. I am still happy to admire outdoor displays at other houses.


Today as I unpacked the infamous cardboard box, I reflected on a conversation I had recently with an acquaintance, an immigrant from India.She said they didn’t really celebrate Christmas – they just did the parts that were fun. She didn’t understand people who complained about having to do this or that. She said, “I do not understand this whining. Is someone holding a gun to their heads? They should take control of their lives, not let Christmas control them!”

So I am taking her advice.

Mom – I am seizing control of the cardboard box!!! It is going to the recycle bin in the sky. It smells, and if you need a box to fit inside the other trunk, we will find something that works.

I assume that these used light bulbs were waiting for technology to find a way to restore them to life, or to recycle them.

I felt guilty about discarding a bunch of carefully-saved tacky little corsages and miscellaneous bits and pieces. I examined them carefully to see what bits were salvageable. In order to assuage my guilt about the smelly box, I decided to make new corsages using parts from the old ones, rather like the ugly sweater or Christmas sweater events.

All female guests will have to pick a corsage when they arrive for Christmas dinner, and wear it that evening First come, first choice.

I was quite pleased with the stuffed human figure with the finger-puppet head and think I should get/make some more to use as the basis for an annual corsage tradition. I already have a collection of finger puppet heads that are looking for meaning in their existence. I spent an hour or so on the corsages.

TREE INDOOR DECORATIONS: There will be no tree, real or otherwise.

My goal is to reduce my Christmas stuff to two storage bins, including the giant snowman that one daughter made and continues to think is a piece of Christmas art. Currently I have the equivalent of 4 such bins. So I am critically examining everything in the bins to determine which things we really value.

Instead of a tree, I carefully decorated one side of the living room. I’m quite pleased as I think it looks Christmassy but it was very little work. I love the casual stringing of the lights – I tell myself that it looks informal and “natural”, and I didn’t have to deal with evergreen needles, falling tree, sap on the hands, tinsel on the floor, hooks or clamps to keep the lights straight.

This display includes Beanie Babies and other stuffies that are brought out every Christmas. And, every year I promise to make some new Christmas clothes for them, so that the display will go over the top. That is why I am desperate to dispose of some paraphenalia and chores, in order to free myself for what I view as fun. And Christmas clothes for Beanies are fun. Next year, for sure. Also, please note the embroidered Christmas stockings that I made when I had more free time as mother to 3 young kids. (Hmmm. Something is wrong here. How could that be? Maybe I was younger then.)

TURKEY: No update on that, since it isn’t Thursday yet.

To do…

Send a few emails instead of Christmas cards, to those Luddites who don’t read my blog.

Buy turkey and some presents.

That’s about it!

8 thoughts on “Preparing for Christmas (Martha Stewart does not live here)

  1. Your fireplace/windows/wall looks very pretty and festive. I would cut back also, but I have three grandchildren who have high standards as to what they expect and they will be here several days so I can’t eliminate too many of the traditions. These however are my suggestions: Buy a ham instead of a turkey – they don’t have to be defrosted! Cook everything for Christmas Eve then just reheat for Christmas day or add a few different ingredients and serve in a different way as finger food. Gifts I have no answer for except to go shopping or would use my own advice. (I did order most of mine online if I could get free shipping)
    After Christmas buy a small artificial table top tree – decorate it with small, unbreakable ornaments and after each use just wrap in a sheet and store for next year.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Thanks for t!he ideas. I am in an interlude between children and grandchildren, and want to take advantage of it. The ham is a good idea, although I’m thinking of making fresh bread and buying things like sun-dried tomatoes, marinated artichoke, spinach dip, and slicing tomatoes, cukes, sausage, etc. so we just put together open-faced sandwiches. I could do the ham as well, as it isn’t much work! The Christmas tree suggestion is tempting, but then I’d have to get rid of a bunch of Christmas tree ornaments (which I’m not using this year anyway). I will think about it. I like the idea of wrapping in a sheet. That seems nicer that just stuffing it in a garbage bag. I could make a special bag out of old sheets!

  2. Was the silver tree part of the collection? If it was you need to keep that, I am fond of it.

    That fuchsia garland also happened to be my favorite..

  3. Thinking on the deeper meaning of Christmas….” Is someone holding a gun to their heads? ” is not only funny, but, a perceptive, fundamental, and deep question. We should all think about that. Sometimes the answer is yes.

  4. I too have fond memories of the little silver tree — I set the tree skirt on fire late one Christmas Eve in Venezuela with a fancy gold lighter that I had just received as a gift. However I never want to see it again.

    If I can’t have a real, aromatic tree (one of the few industries we have left here) then I am not playing Christmas at all. Speaking of traditions I have been making a red and green jello ring with whipped cream and this year I used a very ornate mould from Naomi’s collection — outdid myself I must say.

Comments are closed.