why I won’t think about christmas before thanksgiving ends (or, let’s try to enjoy the best holiday of the year)

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. And no matter that there are only twenty-seven (!) days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, I will not put out one green or red decoration, not one strand of garland or one set of twinkle lights, until Thanksgiving is in the bag.

santa and clock

Yes, I am a planner. Yes, I am growing gray hair by the minute as I write this because I have a fear that I won’t be ready for Christmas. Yes, I keep dreading that short window of time to get it all done this year. I still will enjoy the most wonderful holiday ever, one in which we get together for a delicious meal, watch some football, play games, and have a good time.

Nope, I won’t even think of everything I have to do before December 24.

What is everything? Oh, only :

  • shopping for gifts (for four kids, a daughter’s fiance, a son’s girlfriend, a husband, four siblings, nieces, nephews, my best friend, and more);
  • shopping for Christmas dinner for at least fifteen;
  • putting up the decorations (on the entryway banister, on the fireplace, on the beams over the dining room and family room, on tables, on floors, on windows, on doors);
  • buying a tree (which has somehow turned into my–and only my–job);
  • dragging that eighty-pound beast into the house and putting on a dozen strands of lights, ornaments, and tinsel;
  • setting up my little four-foot artificial tree in the family room and decorating it;
  • pulling out every Dollar Tree knickknack I own and finding places for each of them;
  • digging through the CDs for Christmas music and the DVDs for holiday movies;
  • putting out Christmas pillows and throws, bathroom towels, candles, and soap;
  • decorating the front yard;
  • setting up my village of seven buildings set on a blanket of snow;
  • baking cookies and decorating them, then putting them into gift boxes for friends;
  • wrapping a million gifts as my back aches;
  • misplacing the tape or the scissors or the gift tags after every gift I wrap;
  • filling out dozens of Christmas cards and then addressing the envelopes and mailing them;
  • making gifts for family and friends;kevin
  • cleaning the house a week before (including emptying the fridge and wiping down the shelves), then a couple days before, then the day before (yeah, my Christmas Eve will stink once again), and then the day of;
  • moving seven hundred pounds of garage junk to find my card table, bring it inside, and set it up;
  • touching up the paint in the house before guests arrive;
  • planning the meal, shopping for the meal, preparing the meal a few days ahead, then a day ahead, and then the day of;
  • cleaning up all the mess my immediate family makes on Christmas morning so the house is semi-presentable when the rest of the crew comes over;
  • planning, shopping for, and making something (who knows what) for Christmas Eve dinner so we have something to eat after we all get home from Mass;
  • planning and shopping for Christmas-morning breakfast. . . .

I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but you get the idea. Oh, and did I mention that I work the day after Christmas? Nine o’clock, bright and early!

My days of doing all this should be over. I should have passed the torch on to my four grown kids or my grown nieces long ago, but with today’s economy being what it is in our part of the country, none of them has anything bigger than a two-bedroom condo–and, at 36, my niece and her husband are the only ones who own the home they live in. By that age, my husband and I were paying the mortgage on the house we still call home. Although by no means large, with four bedrooms, a living room and a family room, it was big enough to raise four kids and a few pets in. I wonder if I’ll ever see our kids host Christmas. Maybe when I’m elderly and they themselves are parents of adults–or grandparents of adults.

But no matter. After I sign off from here I will not give Christmas another thought until peaceful, wonderful, bountiful Thanksgiving has long passed, which I suppose this year is Black Friday.

a rabbit ate my car (or, don’t always trust the meek and mild)

I went to start my ’96 Camry last week, and the car would not start. It sounded like it wanted to connect, but something was off. What’s so unusual about that, you say, the car is twenty-three years old? But this is a Camry, a car that always started and drove like a dream. It looks time worn, sure, but it runs great. Or so it did before the rabbit ate my car!

brown rabbit
                                        the look of pure evil                                                                                    (Photo by Frank Cone on Pexels.com)


I opened the hood that day the car wouldn’t connect and I found a spark plug wire that had been severed. How did that happen, I wondered. I guess the car is undergoing some wear and tear, I thought. So I placed an order for a new set of wires and my son or I were going to change them today. When I was out, though, he texted me that not only had the number one cable been severed, but it now was completely gone, along with the three others that had been chewed through. Not only that but wires to other parts of the car are also half their size or completely missing.

What in the world? When my son had opened the hood, he told me a rabbit was sitting on the engine. Could this be the same cute little bunny I’ve been throwing carrots to over the past nine months, the one I’ve allowed to live in our front bushes and pee on our lawn, killing the grass? Is this the sweet little thing I would worry about when it was one hundred degrees this past summer or when it was pouring down rain last spring? Is this the rabbit I nearly considered my pet?

Now I want to kill him.

I mean, what in the world would this rabbit find appetizing about dirty engine wires? Why, when there are plenty of weeds in the neighborhood, not to mention the food I throw it, would this animal find my car to be the most delicious thing around? Why my car?

Now, instead of replacing one cable, I’m going to have to figure out how many wires are missing, which ones, and how many more the idiot cottontail will eat before I’m even able to place my online order for parts. Or, I will have to tow the car to the mechanic’s and will likely spend a couple hundred dollars in parts and labor all on account of a wild rabbit.

Sometimes problems can come wrapped in cloaks of darkness, in angry, enraged people, in being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And at other times problems can be disguised as a furry, quiet creature, meek and mild and innocent looking. Had I only known which to be afraid of more.