This year, especially, most of us will not be blessed with twelve imaginative Christmas gifts the likes of geese laying, maids milking, and golden rings under our trees.
Reporting on my first twelve days of December, I can say that in a few cases the presents I’ve received thus far required careful thought to come to an appreciation of them, but given the last nine months of near quarantine plus election wars, many of them represent a real treat.
On day one I received a lovely handmade Christmas card.
Day two marks the fourth consecutive week of a Zoom happy hour with special friends.
Day three brought messages from realtors asking us to move out so their clients could settle in for the holidays.
I have overseas clients, for whom your house would be perfect.
One sent us a card. “Our Search For A Home Led Us To Your Door. All I can say is “Keep out!”
One of the realtor letter writers stands out. It was chatty and completely self-referential, as if selling our house was the last thing on the writer’s mind. She’s a regular correspondent, and this letter was an homage to gratitude and the specific things for which she was grateful. Hmmm. We’re taking this as a subliminal message that we would have her gratitude if we’d just move out.
The fourth day caused a wee panic when we received an email from our chiropractor that an employee at her clinic had tested positive for the virus. We were never at her clinic when the employee was there and now ten days have passed; knowing that we’re not infected was a better gift than any hens-a-laying or pipers piping.
Day five’s gift was experienced as a series of five identical voice mail messages, each from a different phone number, including—I’m not making this up—one from the county’s 911 emergency services line, to remind me of some problem with a Microsoft product I don’t own. The positive message here is that we never had to talk to these scammers.
Day six, which involved a trip to Costco, lead to the purchase of new AA batteries so my six mantle candles all glimmer at once.
Day seven meant a more exciting trip, this time to Ace Hardware, which is located in a horsey neighborhood and sells such useful items as saddles, bits, bridles, and organic hay. I love browsing through the aisles packed with so many foreign goods.
Days eight and nine involved eating a slow-cooker recipe for moussaka which I really botched (my husband described its appearance as something that belonged in Fido’s bowl), preceded by my sending a completed draft of my manuscript to two freelance editors. A friend sent hers to the same two editors months ahead of me. She didn’t consider the results she received a Christmas gift. I’m not expecting mine until January. Since we won’t be vaccinated until summer, I’ll have plenty of time to re-write the entire novel.
Day ten. A friend in Greece and one in Holland reported they were living under pandemic restrictions as we were. Greece requires residents to report to someone whenever they intend to go to the grocery store. Because our lives here depend on frequent grocery store runs (we’ve been to five different ones in the past week), I’m grateful no one asked us for that extra step.
Day eleven. The Supreme Court will not hear the election case promoted by the wacko Texas attorney general, a gift almost as good as not getting the virus.
Day twelve. We await the ringing of the doorbell announcing the arrival of the after-market vacuum cleaner hose.
There are still twelve more days left before Christmas, plenty of time for the partridge in a pear tree to arrive.