Everywhere I go people ask whether I’m ready for Christmas. Not sure if they’re just making friendly conversation, are truly interested in the status of my Christmas preparations, know I’m a procrastinator or simply assume that I’m not. But, as I think about it, I’m not really sure what “ready for Christmas” means.
Maybe it’s a question about me holding out for the price slashing and final markdowns before purchasing gifts, then having to pay for next-day shipping. Or it could be a comment about decorating, which I sometimes find myself loathe to do because I have to rearrange the whole living room to accommodate the tree and have to practically secure a walkway to the kitchen. Another possibility is that they know I’m not much of a baker and that after three failed attempts at making spritz cookies, I resort to eating the dough. I mean, come on, my hand freezes into a claw-like position after cranking away for hours, with dough that won’t dislodge onto the cookie sheet. What’s the trick?
Or perhaps it’s about getting a dumpster – I mean straightening up the house. Or tripping – I mean joining – frenzied shoppers at the grocery store for the last pound of butter. Or sampling – I mean selecting — wine at the liquor store. And the menu is always a challenge. Our family has no Christmas meal traditions, but most favor homemade egg rolls. An interesting choice and not easily understood by other Scandinavian families serving Swedish meatballs, lutefisk or oyster stew.
And if ready includes mailing out Christmas cards, I will never be ready. I gave that up in an attempt to simplify my life about 20 years ago. The downside is that I don’t get Christmas cards, either, anymore. I guess it’s a reciprocal thing. The upside is that I don’t get Christmas cards anymore. One more letter about vacations into the heart of Africa, grandchildren on honor rolls or the joys of retirement in the Caribbean and someone may have to talk me down off the ledge.
So how do I reply when asked whether I’m ready for Christmas? I usually say either “I was born ready” or “I’m never ready.” Neither of which is true, but who really knows or cares, even. Besides, what fun would ready be, if I couldn’t panic when I realize I forgot where I hid some presents, didn’t label others and there’s no oil to fry the eggrolls. Now that’s a Christmas rush.