All I Really Want For Christmas


The Christmas Bookcase in my office, 2019


You know you’re getting old when you say, “No, no, don’t get me anything for Christmas! Just come over to the house. That’s enough for me.”

First, you’ve pulled out the Mom Guilt Card. The “I don’t want your money, I just want you to spend a little time with your poor, sainted mother.”

But it’s true, isn’t it? Because secondly, you really don’t want anything; you’re at that point in your life that when you want something, you get it yourself. That’s one of the perks of being old and having all your kids making their own livelihoods. I don’t have to give up those expensive boots I really want because Junior needs braces. (He may still need braces but that’s on him now.)

And I don’t have to wait for Christmas, either. When I want something, I just go and shake the money tree. If cash tumbles down, wheeee! If a few pennies knock me on the head, then I wait for the Money Tree Elf to come and do its magic. Either way, I’m happy.

So that’s what I was thinking about in “‘Tis the Season! Gifts for Writers” over at The Muffin today, that perk of being older (and maybe a teeny bit wiser) and the benefits that come along with age.

Mostly, that we don’t need a lot of things to make us happy, but that it’s a good idea to figure out what we do need, whether it’s a physical, mental, or emotional want, and to stop waiting for jolly old Santa to give it to us, or any loved one, for that matter.

Because love starts with yourself and then spreads to others. So go love yourself and have a joyful Christmas!

(P.S. This doesn’t mean Youngest Junior Hall is off the hook for getting that 20 lb bag of bird seed for me. You know your mother can’t lift that big bag but that’s all I want. Also, there’s still spider webs in the windows and they need to find another home for the holidays, so if Oldest Junior Hall could remove ’em, that’d be swell. But that’s it. Really. Until after Christmas when the lights need to be taken down. Juniorette Hall is good at that sort of thing. Maybe get the Hubs to take the tree back down to the basement? But seriously, that’s all.

For now.)

Before the Year Ends

bake-bakery-baking-264779So we’re fixing to close out 2018 and I thought I’d give you a peek into what goes on around here during this time of the year.

I LOVE HOLIDAY BAKING COMPETITION SHOWS! I have no idea what most of the fancy ingredients are and I sure don’t know how to pronounce them (or use them).

Honestly, I don’t much care for baking. I have my standards that I fix during the holidays and though I might be impressed by some amazing dessert I see on a show, I don’t have time to be messing with new stuff that may or may not come out amazing.

So I began to wonder–puzzling till my puzzler was sore–just why I sit glued to the screen, watching these shows and wearing out the Food Network (which I NEVER watch any other time of the year). And then a friend said, “Ummm…you think it might have something to do with your competitive spirit?”

Which is her nice way of saying, “Yo, Cathy. You areĀ extremely competitive.”

Oh my shoe pastry! Or is it choux? Whatever. I love competition. I love watching people race against the clock! I love watching creativity-in-action, especially when things go wrong! I love when the dark horse surges ahead or when the contestant who didn’t believe in herself (or himself) suddenly comes into her (or his) own.

In the end, I don’t care much who wins, though it’s usually the one I was rooting for, and I celebrate along with him or her. Because there’s something else I love to see: that victorious moment when a contestant gets validation for all the hard work and realizes a dream come true. That’s pure joy and that’s what I love to see most of all.

And so here it is, almost Christmas, and it occurred to me that every day is kind of a competition, isn’t it? It’s a race against the clock to get everything done, to beat the obstacles that come along, threatening to derail you from the sweet dreams of your finish line.

Maybe it’s just messing up the timing on the fudge and how the heck can you save this treat? Or maybe it’s pulling out the Christmas stuff and finding a gift tag with a note from a loved one lost and how can you celebrate without him?

But then miracles of miracles, divine inspiration hits and you figure out the fudge solution! And a grown-up kid (or two!) show up on your doorstep unexpectedly and you go out to eat and laugh and fuss and laugh some more.

There’s a moment that comes along in the midst of it all, the realization of deep down joy, and my heart is full of gratitude. Because I know that despite the obstacles, be they big or small, joy has returned, and that’s a gift worth celebrating any time of year!

(Joy to you and yours today and always!)


The One About Christmas

IMG_20171219_113631We are always so busy this time of the year, and yet I often think our hearts long for simpler days. A little peace, a little comfort and joy. And love, too, of course. All of which may get lost in all the hustle and bustle of baking and buying, cleaning and planning. In our rush to give, we sometimes just plumb give out!

But I have something for you, and I hope you have a few moments to give it a read. It’s a story from Pearl S. Buck called “Christmas Day in the Morning,” and it will surely lift your weary heart.

And if you have twelve minutes, then maybe you can have a hot cup of tea and listen and watch this same story here. Either way, I hope you’ll feel it’s been worth your time.

And happy, happy Christmas to you all from me and Libs!