It’s been a month since I last blogged, though not since I last wrote. My November goal was to complete my first draft of my second novel. (When I say this to friends they always ask what happened to the first novel. My answer: It reads like a first novel and it’s living in the cloud — or floating in the clouds — where no one else can see it.)
As soon as I met my writing goal, I began to consider Christmas preparations, which had not been on my things-to-do list for several years. Instead, my husband and I had chosen to escape the chaos of shopping malls, and the temptations of parties serving so much rich food that eventually drove us to the shopping malls to buy larger-sized clothing.
What could be more relaxing, we asked, than a December drive through blinding snow and ice storms, while facing the threat of closed mountain passes to reach quiet, snow-carpeted central Washington and X-country ski for a week?
After several years of spending a lot of money so that in addition to the terrifying drive we could awaken to seven degree mornings and ski in 19 degree temperatures, this year we decided to cocoon in our house and get our exercise at the local Y. We have little family left and none close by, so face no pressure to buy gifts for people we don’t know or fears of dinners where conversations begin with, “That President sure is doing a great job.”
However, now that we’ve gotten back into the holiday mode without family, we’ve rediscovered how much work is involved. Finding a tree with a small enough trunk that didn’t require a forklift to move it and thus avoid buying a Christmas tree stand large enough to hold an elephant’s leg was an early challenge.
Then came the letter and card crisis. Normally we write a letter, but I couldn’t think of anything to say this year and wrote one anyway. Then I decided to make a few cards for friends who had sent them to us. Hours and many mistakes later, the thrill of sending handmade cards was waning, especially since they looked just like cards one might get from a young grandchild, perhaps a toddler. Yesterday, we bought cards, a little late in the season, but very presentable. But now we have run out of stamps. Maybe if we get to the post office before it opens, and before people are lugging in boxes the size of a refrigerator and the postal worker tells them they have wrapped them improperly.
This year, another challenge involved baking. A pie for this Christmas party, different cakes for others and now one on order for New Year’s. We never had to bake on our ski trips.
The gifts were the one easy part. We bought electronics for ourselves and books for everyone else.
Perhaps next year we should go somewhere warm, some place where they’ve never heard of Christmas, though a friend is blogging from the Middle East and posting photos of Christmas trees from Abu Dhabi.