Dorothy Cannell: In the past I have always squirmed when asked the inevitable
question of this time of year: “Are you all ready for Christmas?” The answer, because one cannot risk telling lies with Santa listening, was always a squeaked: “No.” There were those one thousand two hundred cookies left to bake, presents still to buy and wrap, overlooked Christmas cards to send, more ornaments to be added to the tree if it weren’t to make visitors feel they should donate to it. But this season of official good cheer is blissfully different. Daughter Shana who lives nearby broke the news in November that she and her family were going to Jamaica for Christmas and invitations to visit our other children had to be turned down because it wouldn’t be morally right to leave new puppy Watson behind. And taking him on a plane could be traumatic to his little psyche.
“I suppose this means it’ll “be just you and me,” said my husband Julian, making no attempt to look dismal. “No point in putting up decorations or doing a load of baking.”
“You’re right,” I agreed. “That’ll leave me with plenty of time to shop for presents and get them mailed off.”
“Why not gift certificates stuck in with Christmas cards?”
“We could have candles. We’ve got quite a lot and no real planning goes into lighting them.”
“And perhaps some of that hot wine punch simmering on the stove after dinner.”
“Dinner,” I said; “can’t we skip that tradition, too?”
“If that’s what you want; but how much energy does a ham, and perhaps a few roasted vegetables and an apple pie take?”
“Not much for the person whose only job is to eat it, but you’re right, we mustn’t turn into Scrooges.”
How magical is the power of pressure lifted. I have had a lovely few days buying presents and mailing them off. Julian bought and hung a plaque that says “This house is protected by elves.” We have invited a friend for Christmas dinner … and I even may do some baking. Additionally I found time to recall a poem I wrote in English class when I was nine which I now send you with the best of good cheer.
Christmas is coming on its way
Nearer and nearer every day
Soon the bells will begin to ring
While the children carols sing
And this is what will be sung
A merry Christmas every one.