Things have been quite hectic around here since Thanksgiving, particularly leading up to Christmas. Perhaps that’s because of our trip to Colorado for Thanksgiving and the less than usual number of days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Perhaps it was because I decided that I’d lost enough weight that I could risk making cookies again this year, something I missed a lot last year. I forgot how much time it takes to bake and decorate cookies. Have I told you how much I love cookies and candies. Now that presents no longer hold the appeal they once did, delicious food is the only thing that helps me to recapture that Christmas spirit. Even though I gained the 3-5 pounds I knew that I would if I didn’t avoid making cookies, it was well worth the time and effort. I’ll somehow manage to lose the weight again in the next few months.
Buying presents also seems to get harder each year, especially when even potential recipients/their spouses can’t come up with a list. Go figure. At least it’s still fun buying gifts for grandkids. Leslie and I did buy gifts for each other this year, but only when the other person said, “I’d like that.” No one wants to spend time returning gifts that they really didn’t want/need. The good part of finding it so difficult to find gifts is that Leslie and I actually went out shopping twice rather than just ordering from Amazon like I’ve done in the past. Waiting in line at Best Buy wasn’t exactly my idea of fun, but I really enjoyed the night we shopped at local stores in Proctor. Sharing the Christmas spirit with other shoppers at the toy store and at the Pacific Northwest Store was way more fun than just ordering from a catalog.
Every time we spend two days putting ornaments up I think we are going to have to reconsider how many ornaments we have, but I never do, unless considering if I should add more lights to the outside of the house counts as reconsidering. Since there was barely room inside for the new Santa Claus we bought this summer and the new Nativity scene Leslie wanted for her Christmas present, about the only place we can add decorations would be outside. Luckily, the decorations really do help to dispel the darkness of the longest day of the year, and I doubt I’ll be abandoning any until I’m physically unable to put them up.
As if the season wasn’t already busy enough, I had to drive down to Woodburn, Oregon on the 27th to finally pick up the camper that I ordered two or three months ago. In order to avoid paying for a motel, we got up at 4:30 AM so we could meet the installer at 9:00 A.M. Getting up that early isn’t exactly my idea of fun, but we did manage to turn it into a positive event when Leslie was able to arrange to have lunch with Wayne, her old boss at Red Cross. We had a good lunch/breakfast and some fascinating conversations. Oh, yeah, and we’re excited to get the camper outfitted so that we can get outside soon.
I unexpectedly got to celebrate my birthday a day early because Dawn and her family were heading up north for New Year’s. I had to help Leslie rush together a dinner and ended up decorating my cake because Leslie had her hands full just getting dinner ready. Then this morning I had to go license my camper and, naturally, pay sales tax on it. $1,600 dollars later I managed to get home just in time so that Dawn could drop off Patty to babysit until New Year’s Day.
In the past I used to hate how hectic Christmas got. I used to think I was ruining the season by trying to do more than I could get done without totally stressing myself out. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel that way at all this year. In fact, rushing around seemed to recreate a greater sense of Christmas and New Years than I’ve had in years. Not sure if that’s because I have come to associate Christmas with stress and it doesn’t seem right when there’s no stress, or whether it’s an sign that perhaps I’ve become a little too laid back in retirement and need more deadlines and more demands to feel at my best. Sometimes those ruts keep us from exciting discoveries.