Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas: Past & 'Presents'

Christmas... such anticipation and expectations:

The merriment and flurry of activity, crisp air, logs burning in the fireplace, visits with family & friends, sweet treats & hot cocoa, festive window decorations, streets sparkling with lights, Santa and... presents!
But who had time for anticipation?

The turkey was carved and before desserts of apple and pumpkin pie could be served, Thanksgiving became Christmas. With K-Mart opening at 6 AM and other stores following soon after, America's new event, 'Black Thursday', put us into the thick of 'Christmas frenzy' before offers of gratitude could even be made.

Okay... 42 inch TV's were going for $100!

But 'Black Friday', 'Small Business Saturday' and 'Cyber Monday' were events still to come and they were just hours or a few days away.

I chose to eat pie.

I waited until Monday and sat in front of my computer, typing credit card numbers on my keyboard, while still in pajamas. Don't you just love the word 'Cyber'!

Truth is, Michael and I are not big consumers. We own things until they break down and cry 'Uncle'... like our 15 year old van that looks brand new on the outside, but is now making a very loud scary noise on the inside... and our computer, our good ol' trusty Apple, that we're still using, purchased in 2000!... thankfully, neither are crying out any relative's names.

Cyber Monday, I ordered shoes for Michael... Dr. Martens. He needed them and the price was right. It wasn't a Christmas present. We don't do presents for ourselves. We both have simple tastes and simple pleasures. Michael enjoys a good beer and I like things that are cute, like little plastic toys, and spending time in bookstores. And so we treat ourselves to these kinds of things all year round.

Not so as a child. This time of year was always about the 'presents & Santa' and with expectations high, often came big disappointments.

Like... waking up to find a single plastic fishnet stocking purchased from a '5 & Dime' store... today's equivalent of a dollar store, tied to the knob of my bedroom door. Inside the stocking were small items you might use to play with your pet, if you had one. Hmmm... today I'd probably enjoy that gift... plastic toys!

Back then I dreamed big and fell hard. I was such an innocent.

Once, on Christmas Eve, I heard Santa's sleigh bells ringing outside my bedroom window and I woke up in the morning with a stiff neck from lying so still pretending to be asleep. Several weeks later I heard those same sounds and discovered it wasn't Santa who had come to town, but strong winds that jingled a piece of metal inside the window frame.

And the worst Christmas was finding out from a classmate, in second grade, that there was no such person as Santa, but instead, our parents were the ones bearing gifts... which may explain the meager plastic stocking... young parents trying hard to make ends meet.

Much of those holidays are a blur.

But that was then and this is now.

Right now on the top of my 'To Do' list are the words... 'Write Christmas Cards'. Next on the list... 'Mail Them'!

Having bought the cards in June doesn't guarantee they'll arrive on time. My Thanksgiving cards are still sitting in a drawer somewhere... though I did send out emails of a photo of orange berries with my best wishes for the holiday.

I'm just a bit of a procrastinator.

Or as John Perry explains in his book... 'The Art of Procrastination: a Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing...or Getting Things Done By Putting Things Off'...

I'm a 'structured procrastinator'.

Meaning... I do things... just not the most urgent or important things that need to get done at the moment... which are the items on the top of my list. So instead of writing cards and addressing envelopes, I'm sitting here at the computer working on this post. Earlier in the day I straightened some papers, took a walk, emailed a friend, and played a game or two online while my Christmas cards remain nestled in their boxes. 

If you'd like one of my holiday cards, email me with your name and address. Seriously, I promise to send one out to you... though I may have to straighten my desk or sharpen a few pencils first.

Tomorrow... I'm anticipating a great day. 'M' & I are off to see a few photography exhibitions in the city, have lunch at a new restaurant, view some holiday window displays and once it gets dark, stand in awe of all the festive lights, which is my very favorite part of Christmas.

Thankfully, I'm never disappointed.

What plans do you have for the holidays? Any favorite or funny holiday memories come to mind? While sugar plums dance in your head...

Here are a few links you might find interesting:

Read about 'naughty' here.

'Nice here.

Watch 'naughty and nice' here.

And an unusual gift found here.

Here are a few of my favorite holiday things... winter white windows and colorful lights.

Today, December 12, 2012, also written, 12/12/12 is the last of its kind until January 1, 2101, 89 years from now... when numerical digits for month, day, and year again coincide.

May this day and all your days be remarkable.

Enjoy Your Holidays!
XOX... Dyan


  1. Dyan,
    I enjoyed your evocative take on Christmas. Sorry you only got that fishnet stocking. We had wonderful Christmases as kids. One of the best: finding black English racer bikes under the tree. Now Richard and I don't buy each other Christmas presents either. You can always label something a present: like the dress I bought last week. This is your Christmas present. Hope you enjoyed your special day.
    Happy Holidays to you and Michael.

    1. Hi Carol

      I enjoyed reading your comment. As a child, you must have been 'over the top' waiting for Christmas to arrive. Black English racer bikes... plural? That must have been some Christmas tree!

      Enjoy your holidays!