It’s hard to
while steering a narrow course between
There are a few strategies to take the pressure off. There’s buying gift-like things whenever they’re on sale all year, then wrapping them whenever you need something to do with your hands, and then allotting them to your recipients on Christmas. That’s the approach of the relative who gave you a snowglobe and a plant waterer last year. There’s making something just for each person on the list, something unique. That’s why you got those hand-crocheted gloves that unraveled when you tried to figure out where the thumbs were. Someone got blisters making you those. There’s the economy pack of something everyone likes. You may recognize it from the person who gives everyone chocolate.
You could do what children usually do when they have to buy presents: Buy things you like that are on sale, and give them to people at random, and don’t take it personally if they trade. In fact you could have a drawing, as many families do, where each person gives one gift, and each person gets one gift. I like that idea. But if the most broke, or cheapest, person draws your name two years in a row it’s not really fair.
Presents aren’t the whole story, of course. There’s baking, getting a tree, decorating and then cleanup.
Here’s how I deal with that:
A plastic one-piece tabletop tree with ornaments built in.
A string of lights in the window, a ring of large ornaments that were gifts, on the table at the foot of the tree, a garland across a door way opposite the window, a few Christmas candleholders, no candles.
Something I like on sale near door of store. Share with whomever I see.
From store to fridge, to cup, to microwave, to table.
At a relative’s house or a family restaurant, getting simpler every year. Three items are plenty. A ham or turkey, or some ham or turkey slices from a deli, gravy and some kind of salad or veggie plate, or canned cranberry sauce or whatever’s handiest.
Everyone pitches in. It’s over in minutes.
No. Relatives visiting from other parts of the country are a bonus. Those who can’t make it call instead. Those who can, arrive as early as possible and leave as late as possible to spread out the travel and avoid crowds.
I always try to get to midnight, and if I don’t make it, I try for the second-to-last morning one. That way, if I miss that one too, there is still one more.
Then it’s Christmas night, and I