A Very Senior Christmas

Sunny Frazier 5Returning 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.

sunny69@comcast.net   //  http://www.sunnyfrazier.com

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.

A Snitch in TimeThis 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.

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14 thoughts on “A Very Senior Christmas

  1. Hi, Sunny — You, like many of us, have reached the shedding stage. I look at stuff I’ve put aside for a rainy day and realize that someone else needs them today. It makes it so much easier to get rid of them. As to those lovely cards you are saving (I had 30 years worth in boxes), give them a new life by donating them to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children. They reuse them. For more information see https://stjudesranch.org/about-us/recycled-card-program/.
    Have a wonderful Christmas, focusing on what truly matters.
    Grace

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  2. Sunny, sure wish I lived closer; I love your ideas, and I am also nearly finished Where Angels Fear…; I am also enjoying it very much.

    Love,
    Skye

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  3. We’ve moved out of state enough times to clean out unneeded stuff, but we’re living at our last stop now and have been here since early 2008, so the clutter is starting again. Your post hits home. We put a Christmas wreath on the door and two red velvet ribbons hanging off our porch lights. That’s it. We had Christmas in St. Louis with kids & grandkids last week. With no one visiting, we also saw no reason to put up a tree and decorations only to take them down. Time goes faster the older you get. It will be next Christmas before I know it. If company is coming, we’ll decorate. If not, I doubt we will bother.
    Have a Merry Christmas, Sunny and all the rest of you too.

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  4. Hi Sunny,

    You just expressed how I have felt about Christmas for many years. To add to that my bad childhood experiences with Christmas formed my opinion about gift giving. My gifts as a child were mostly have to gifts. Because I was an unwanted step-child it was the right thing to do. There was no love involved in these gifts.

    I totally agree with you on the decorating and everything being perfect. People create their own stress. I have no sympathy.

    I have discovered a web site that helps us minimize our lifestyle; by that I mean getting rid of “stuff”. Nothing drastic; just common sense advice. The web site: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/

    Merry Christmas!

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  5. I finally got very tired of the commercialism of Christmas. Lots of money spent on gifts that the recipients frequently don’t really like or want, but hey, you completed your gift list. These days the only thing I do is PayPal money to my daughter in England (in British Sterling with no hefty conversion fees) so she can buy my grandsons something from Grandma that she knows they want or need. As for cards, I, too, send eCards. There is enough waste in the environment and the sentiment is the same. Thanks, Sunny, for sharing your perspective. Now if only I had the dedication and ambition to start divesting myself of things I haven’t used or don’t want.

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  6. Sunny,
    Your post made me smile (and giggle) because I can definitely relate. I moved to a new apartment three weeks ago and my goal is to Keep It Simple. I’ve reached the point in life, especially after having moved so many times, where I believe that stuff weights you down. And, who needs that?
    Merry Christmas!

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  7. So far, nobody has called me a Grinch. Of course, most of my friends are my age and totally understand where I’m coming from. I treasure my friends more than any material things I own!

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  8. oh my goodness…I love Christmas and the magic of believing there is hope for all. From childhood, I collect ornaments homemade and purchased. My tree is full of great memories of love, friendships and eclecticism. Of course, there is the dreaded of pulling them out, but once they are on the tree, perfection. I love celebrating Christ birth, as much as I love celebrating my children and grandchildren birthdays. Living is good.

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  9. Sunny, I have felt this way about the Christmas bother for many years–as a matter of fact, one of my colleagues at work nicknamed me Scrooge. All that unnecessary stress, spending and obligation is just not my cup of tea. I do enjoy the positives, such as family making time to be together, the local music and the tropical winter when the place is marginally cooler. And I enjoy buying toys and clothes for my grandkids.

    Every year I threaten to go away on vacation and miss Christmas entirely, but so far it hasn’t happened. As for the rest… I’ve always been a minimalist. I learned early that possessions simply mean more stuff to pack when I have to move, and it’s burdensome. I live light. The exceptions are my postcards and my books. DO NOT TOUCH THOSE! 🙂

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