For those people who always say, “Stop rushing Christmas!”, we say, “Tough luck!” Yup, it’s only November 12th and our tree is up in our living room. Granted, it’s bare with nary an ornament in sight, but it’s up. AND, we have other stuff displayed already, too … a lighted Santa blow mold, a “candelabra”, two ceramic light-up tabletop trees, and a framed “Merry Christmas” cross-stitch piece. All of which, by the way, are vintage estate sale finds that Sheila snagged during the year. Well, not the tree, but the rest of the decor is estate sale goodness! BTW, the outside of the house doesn’t get done until early December, just the inside where we can enjoy it ourselves.
‘Why?”, you may ask, are we already in the process of decorating? A bunch of reasons:
We’re retired. (To be honest, I’m retired and Sheila is perilously close to retirement, 49 days to go!) We have nothing but time …
We usually grab a few days away around Thanksgiving, so when we return we will not need to rush around decorating and getting everything set up for the Holidays. We can just come home, hit the remote switch, and our house is Christmas-ready!
Sheila, who has impeccable musical taste, begins playing some of the coolest jazz Christmas music just about a week before Halloween, getting us psyched up for the upcoming season. We have a crazy good music system in our house and we really don’t watch TV shows too much (unless they’re a series based in either the UK, Australia or Eastern Europe), listening to music steadily while we are awake is kind of what we do. We’ve found that Sheila has located sooo much good music that we need to start early with our Holiday listening.
We host the family Christmas Eve dinner at our house, which involves the eating of Christmas cookies, which means we also host “cookie day”, which means we need to set aside cookie making time.
Cookie Day is not the simple thing most people do every year … Cookie Day is a massive undertaking here with large volumes of cookies being made and decorated. And as our kids get older, it becomes more and more of a challenge to get everyone together, so we’ve created several phases. It takes time, and we don’t want to be burdened with decorating at the same time as baking.
It’s not like we entertain constantly during the Holidays, actually far from it. We will have a few gatherings, but it’s not a steady flow. We kind of ‘push” the Christmas season for us.
During my 35 years with my late wife, Bunny, the Christmas season was always gigantic rush. Bunny was a doll designer/artist and she was busiest during the Holiday season. Our Christmas celebration didn’t even begin until Christmas Eve, and it was usually a quick hit and over fast.
Sheila always worked a ridiculous travel schedule over the majority of the past 25+ years. Always on the run, always on a plane coming or going somewhere, always trying to squeeze in a tiny bit of Holiday spirit where she could. She never had time to relax and enjoy the season.
Now? We’re retired (well, almost for Sheila … she’ll work a very part-time schedule through the end of this year) and we can do whatever we feel doing. You know when people ask “What are you going to do when you retire?” Well, for us, one of the things we will do is start Christmas early and enjoy every bit of it.
You see, at this stage of our lives, Christmas is for us. Sure, we love getting our kids and grandkids presents, love to see the expressions, look forward to Cookie Day and Christmas dinner with the people we deeply love, relish the opportunity to see good friends.
But Christmas is for us. We both have come to realize how short time can be and how quickly life can deal you a terrible blow. We both deeply appreciate our crazy good fortune in meeting each other and being blessed with this lovely life together. We intend to keep on starting Christmas in early November, together, for as long as we can.
Sheila and Ed Goode reside in Acworth Georgia, which is in the greater Atlanta region. Sheila specializes in mid-Century Modern styles and vintage clothing. Ed is a musician with his primary focus in the jazz field.
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