Image found on Pinterest, originally from todayiatearainbow.com
Halloween is just around the corner. Retail giants everywhere have begun their annual marketing ploys, aimed at getting us all excited about that Holiday extravaganza known as Black Friday, and inspiring some of us to act like fans at a 1979 Who concert.
I am not a humbug, but the Holidays often leave me a little flat. By January second I feel like a gypsy who got mugged by a bunch of CEOs, a pack of winos, and a group of small children. I’ve traveled halfway around New England and back at least 6 times, have a headache the size of Texas, a few bruises, and it’s nothing short of a miracle if I still have that $10 I tucked in my bra for a wine emergency.
My favorite day of the Holiday Season, by far, is pre-Thanksgiving. That’s the day my friend, The Meanest and her husband, Bad B, host their annual friends-version of Thanksgiving. Bad B has threatened to cancel the whole thing this year, but I am endeavoring to get him to change his mind by writing this blog post about the Holidays, and dedicating it to pre-Thanksgiving. I am going to use the threat of no broccoli casserole for him ever again, as a back-up tactic.
I am not ready for the Holidays. I have no idea what, if anything, I will be for Halloween. Costumes are not one of my creatives fortes. Pre-Thanksgiving is in dire jeopardy, Thanksgiving plans have not been solidified, and my Christmas shopping will undoubtedly all be done at the last possible moment. I’m not some kind of holiday overachiever. Getting things done ahead of time goes against my procrastinating nature. This holiday season will be no different in that respect but, under the threatened pain of lost dinner, I decided I should start thinking and writing about it now. Maybe this year I won’t be as far behind as usual.
Since my kids are all grown up and I live in a second-floor apartment with a locked main entrance, trick-or-treaters are none of my concern. Those gigantic bags of candy at the grocery store look mighty tempting though. No kids at home=no candy to purloin. I think one bag of mini chocolate bars ought to do it. And maybe a bag of candy corn just to assuage my sorrow over giving up Candy Crush. I can sit alone, giving myself cavities, and reminisce about the the first time I went to an event at The Meanest and Bad B’s. It was a Halloween party and costumes were mandatory so I dressed up as the Easter Bunny. I borrowed my costume from my stepson’s Boy Scout troupe, so it was the real deal: a furry white suit with mittens, foot coverings, and a hood with ears. I rocked that bunny suit but I forgot the address of the party. All I could remember was the street name and the number 97. When my husband and I got to #97 (on the correct street), we could tell there was a party going on, so we parked and started to walk towards the back of the house where we could see guests. We were half-way down the walk when I realized nobody else was wearing a costume and we were not at the right house. As we were turning to walk away, someone saw us and yelled, “Come back bunny!” I didn’t go back, and we did eventually find the correct party, but at his time of year I always wonder if the guy who saw me and yelled ever thinks about the night the Easter Bunny got lost.
On to Pre-Thanksgiving, which I am hoping Bad B has now decided to reinstate. I did give him the option to pick his own pseudonym but he declined. If he objects to the one I have assigned, I will expedite the review process this once and assign a new name before the middle of November. If Pre-Thanksgiving is back on the calendar, I will make my broccoli casserole. It is mostly a concoction of cheese and Ritz crackers, with a little broccoli thrown in just for kicks, but it is still upsetting to The Man in Tights that I insist on making it every year. He objects vehemently to having any cruciferous vegetables in close proximity to his person, and is typically on the list of dinner attendees. I suppose he might not be there but, if he is, it will really be a double win for me. Either way is fine though, because neither possibility affects my share of broccoli casserole.
Hopefully real Thanksgiving will be spent with my sister and her family. They are mostly vegetarian, bordering on vegan, in their eating habits. There is a tragic deficit of bacon in their lives. Thankfully they usually celebrate with her in-laws, who insist on having real turkey along with the lentil loaf. I don’t think I would like lentil loaf even if it was covered in an entire pig’s worth of bacon. Despite not eating things like real cheese, butter and Ritz crackers for the rest of the year, my sister will enjoy it if I bring broccoli casserole to that meal as well. That means the whole Thanksgiving holiday is looking like a potential triple win so far. Throw in the fact that a childhood friend, who now lives far away, will be home for three weeks, and Thanksgiving gets even sweeter. Halloween can definitely suck it.
That just leaves Christmas and New Years for consideration. I suppose I could throw in Hanukkah and Kwanza too, but I don’t celebrate those holidays personally. I could rethink my celebratory practices and squeeze in something extra this year, but that would require planning and research, or at least hitting up one of my Jewish friends for eight nights of dinner and gift exchanges. I can’t get myself organized enough to plan well for one night of dinner and presents, so that won’t work. And I don’t know anyone who celebrates Kwanza or what the particulars of that holiday require, so that’s out too.
Back to Christmas then.
I’m considering some decorations this year. I don’t really have space I’m willing to give up for a tree. Plus there’s the whole planning thing, getting stuff out of storage, and maneuvering a long, heavy object up my twisty stairs. I don’t even want to think about my black thumb. Live Christmas trees are going to shed needles in any event. Mine would be bare in a matter of hours. Yes, I could get a fake tree or a really small tree but I think a few strands of popcorn and some lights tacked up along the walls should be sufficient. If I leave the lights on all night I will be able to see where the popcorn is when I’m hungry.
New Years is a completely different animal. I’m working on myself already. I don’t need Father Time to coerce me into making some resolution I have no intention of keeping. I’m sure as heck not going to give up drinking. It would be too late to stop for the New Year anyway, as soon as I make that champagne (beer, wine, or whiskey) toast at midnight. I’m hardly going to drink all night, take a sip of champagne at the stroke of “Where the Hell did last year run off to in such a hurry?”, put my glass down and go home. And if I haven’t kicked my nasty smoking habit before then I’m even less likely to do it drunk, in the middle of the night. For all you relaxed, “it’s not really January first until you wake up” people, you are mistaken. It is January first as soon as the last second of December 31 scuttles off somewhere to conspire with my sobriety on how to best punish the night’s excesses. Some hair of the old dog may be the best way to bite back. It may be that the best I can do for New Years is to just come up with a list of new vices to explore.
Well, that’s my Holiday Season in a nutshell. Hopefully Pre-Thanksgiving is back on, and since I’ve gotten a mental jump on the coming chaos, perhaps the Holidays will all be winners. Hopefully yours will be too!