Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today with her thoughts on how she enjoys Christmas these days.
The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, was released on January 24, 2015.
With Christmas less than a week away, I’m enjoying the holidays by watching others NOT enjoying them. The frantic shopping, havoc of wrapping, chaos of cooking, exhaustive decorating, the insurmountable task of trying to please everyone and falling short. I’ve removed myself from all that.
This is a single, childless woman’s Christmas. Please, don’t feel sorry for me. My sister and I agree we have enough stuff, more is not needed. My friends, now grandmothers, confide that all kids want is money. Pretty soulless, if practical.
After one reaches the age of AARP, gathering more unnecessary presents becomes a burden. We’re trying to find ways to get rid of the accumulation. I’ve been weeding out my closet, taking a stand against clothes that are perfectly fine but I’ve stopped wearing a long time ago. High heels that never left the shoebox and which my aging feet now rebel against. Clothes in a size I will never reach again. Impulse buys that were improbable. With so many thrift shops looking for donations, I’m ready to pass it all on.
I’m afraid to look in my cupboards and cabinets. Gifts from Christmases past jam the drawers, making them more junk than treasures. If I haven’t pulled them out and dusted them off in years, then obviously I don’t need these things.
Beautiful Christmas cards? I’m reluctant to throw them away, so they sit in boxes and accumulate. Two of my friends did e-cards this year, explaining they wanted to save trees and stamps. I applaud their conservation.
My mother used to start her Christmas shopping in July. She loved the holidays and was good at it. My father, on the other hand, hated being hounded to put up lights and decorate the outside of the house. There was always a lot of pressure for things to be PERFECT. My mom and sister took Christmas wrapping to new heights. Their packages were color-coordinated and how the outside looked was often more important than the present within. I, on the other hand, work with ragged edges and lots of tape. No matter what size I cut the paper, it’s always an inch too short. My efforts became a joke. I finally realized decorative bags are for people like me who have wrapping dyslexia.
Today, I’m more like my dad. Newton’s Law says whatever is put up must come down. So, while lights are nice for a few nights, do I really want to take them out of the box and string them? Do I want the extra charges on my electrical bill next month? As for a Christmas tree, I’m not willing to block off a room from the cats just so ornaments will survive.
This is the time in my life where I have to start making decisions for the future of what to do with my possessions. Nobody is going to want any of this when I’m gone and I pity the person who has to plow through the mess. I’m watching my 89 year-old friend cope with this task right now. We’ve both saved many things because they were gifts and people expect to see them displayed. Our shelves are so packed, it’s hard to appreciate any one item. So, I’ve decided disposable things are best, like anything that can be eaten. Not cookies and candy, there’s too much of that passed around. Instead, I’m making my famous fried rice for friends and found decorative Chinese take-out boxes to fill. Eat, enjoy and toss the box.
As for presents for myself, I will never turn down an Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. There are never enough books for someone who loves to read—just don’t pick them out for me. I love candles and I burn them, no matter how pretty or expensive they are. My friends know I’m a tea fanatic, so that’s always welcome. Unless you know my favorite scent (which is hard to find and pricey) don’t buy me perfume. My best gift for the holidays is a lunch with a friend where someone else does the cooking and cleaning. Because all I want to give and get for Christmas is less stress.