A blog about "nothing"!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Not so great memories of Christmas past...

Everyone always gets nostalgic around the holidays, talking about fun things that they remember from Christmases before.  However, one subject is usually forgotten.  Those Christmases where someone (or everyone) got sick.  Coming from a large family we've had our fair share, but not a ton.

I had a bad go round of illness when I was younger due to the fact that I'm allergic to eggs and was unable to be vaccinated for many of the childhood illnesses.  So I had the no-so fun experience of getting them all--measles, mumps, rubella.  The only one I missed was chicken pox and I waited until I was in my late 30's to get that--ugh!  The good part was that I had all of the rest fairly close together, and while I missed a lot of 1st grade and remember very little of the holiday, by the time 2nd grade rolled around, I was past the worst of it and if I did get sick, it was usually something related to my throat.  I really don't remember much of any of it either, one advantage of getting it all over with by the age of 6.

The first Christmas I can distinctly remember being sick over was when I was in 5th grade.  It was a bummer of a Christmas for me to begin with because my one sister wasn't going to be home for it, she and her husband were living in Turkey at the time.  Then I got the flu.  I don't know about the rest of you, but getting sick tends to taint the rest of what goes along with that holiday.  I remember distinctly two of the things I got as gifts that year--a Donny Osmond album and a Barbie GMC travel van.  But truthfully I didn't feel much like playing with them and even months later, I would look at that van and kind of get queasy to my stomach!  It got worse as the holiday progressed too, I remember watching TV all by myself over Christmas break because even though I was better, everyone else had gotten it and they were in bed.  Not fun.  That was definitely a year where I was glad when school started again.

I don't remember having much more trouble over the holidays until I was an adult.  And usually it was something I picked up from someone else during some sort of Christmas celebration, so I wasn't usually sick until right around the New Year.  One year I got sick while we were hosting a New Year's Eve party, I just felt worse as the night progressed.  Then I worried about everyone else getting it, luckily they didn't.  But the funny part of the whole thing was on New Years Day.  One of the TV stations was running the 1970's mini-series "Holocaust" and I wanted to watch it.  I remembered some things about it, but not all of it.  There I was with my fever, all bundled up in front of the TV, watching and shivering away, when with just the last episode left to run, the power went out.  And it was out all night.  So I still don't remember what happened to some of the characters!

The best (if you want to call it that) sick memory didn't happen to me personally.  But it did involve family members.  My sister and her sons were both sick several days before Christmas and my mom was trying to figure out a nice way to "un-invite" them, she didn't think we all needed to be exposed to whatever they had.  She agonized about it all week, then decided she would have to just suck it up and hope for the best.  As fate would have it, Christmas morning, my brother called.  His family were all sick and they weren't coming!   A Christmas Miracle!  Right then and there my mom decided that Christmas would be postponed until the upcoming weekend when everyone would be better.  She got her wish.

It did present a different problem though--we didn't really want to cook the big dinner we had planned for just 3 people.  There aren't many restaurants open on Christmas day, so we ended up at a nearby truck stop.  I was actually surprised at how busy it was, but I imagine since they were one of the few places open, that helped.  We had a good meal, and chatted with the waitress.  We told her what had happened and she jokingly said "oh, I hope you weren't having cheesecake!", and she said that it was one of her favorite things.  We laughed because we had planned on that for dessert, my mom had made one from scratch.  At that point the wheels started turning in my head.  We quickly drove home, my mom cut a piece of the cheesecake and packaged it up, and I ran it back out to the truck stop to give to the waitress.  She was so excited, she told me she got off work in about a half and hour and she was going to eat it then.  Merry Christmas to her.

There is a bit of irony in the story.  We did have our celebration over the coming weekend as planned.  But we didn't have ANY cheesecake.  Because between Christmas day (which I am thinking was a Monday that year) and the Saturday we actually had Christmas, it molded!!!  So the waitress was the only person who got to enjoy any of it.  I hope it was good!


Friday, December 4, 2015

A Different Approach to Holiday Decorating

I used to love the decorate for the holidays.  Any holiday, not just Christmas.  As I've gotten older though, I find it less enjoyable with every year.  And then there is the whole job of taking it all down too.  Yuck.

I think part of the problem is that our family and celebrations have changed over the years, and we now have very few "little persons" who come to our home for any holidays.  The majority of them have grown up and moved on, with a few of them having kids of their own.  I've discussed this with friends, and they agree that part of the fun of decorating is seeing the look on a kids face.  Time marches on.

I've weeded out quite a few of my Christmas decorations, and I intend to weed some more.  My plan is on Tuesday of next week to take a box to be donated.  I'm much more selective about what I put up.  But it still hasn't eliminated the dread of doing it all.

Last year I came up with a plan, and it worked very well.  I decided to have my own "12 days of Christmas", starting December 1st.  Each day I had to put up a decoration (or group of decorations like stockings, wreaths, etc).  On December 13th (my hubby's birthday) I do the last decoration which is the tree.  We don't have a big tree, so it's not as bad as in previous years, and it's sort of like saving the best for last.  The nicest part is when I was done, I wasn't annoyed or tired, and the house looked nice.  When the season was over, I just did the reverse, took down one or two decorations each day and put them away.  I do have to say that the way we have our decorations stored at this house makes this a much easier thing to do as well.

I have to admit that I'm already behind though.  First off, the date got away from me and I didn't realize December 1st had come and gone!  Wednesday I had a lot going on so it didn't get done that day either.  So yesterday I did a half catchup and put up two different things, and will do the same tomorrow.  Easy enough.

Does anyone else hate holiday decorating?  I think the other contributing factor to my dislike is that retailers have Christmas stuff out for sale earlier and earlier, and by the time it comes time to put them up, you are already suffering from overexposure. 

Now if I can just find a painless way to do Christmas cards and gift wrapping...