Saturday, November 03, 2007

Holidays Coming - RUN!!

Amanda noted in her blog the other day that it was 55 days until Christmas, and she was in the mood. For Christmas, of course, ha-ha. Here in the US of A, the Christmas retail season usually seems to start about Labor Day (if not earlier), and we face the incongruity of hearing Christmas carols and seeing holiday decorations while we're still going on picnics and wondering who will win the World Series. It makes it a bit harder to stay "up" in the holiday spirit, but this year I'm giving it a better-than-usual shot.

In just a few weeks, almost the entire Clan Bilbo will descend on our house for a Thanksgiving Family Reunion. At last count, we're expecting 15 adults and six children, including all of our children, all the grandchildren, my sister and her family from Pennsylvania (bringing Dad, the Patriarch of the Clan along), my brother from Florida, and assorted friends with no better invitation. It's going to be great, but the prospect of all it involves is daunting: we need a turkey the size of a Volkswagen, which may or may not fit into our new oven; the house needs to be cleaned and organized (where are the armies of elves when you need them?); and much shopping must be done. Amount of food will not be a problem: Agnes always uses the basic planning assumption that the 82nd Airborne Division could land in the yard and need feeding, and cooks one ever goes away from our house hungry unless they're on a hunger strike. Type of food may be an issue: our granddaughter Marcy is still one of the world's premiere picky eaters, and so we'll have to ensure that somewhere on the groaning sideboard is a bowl of Kraft Mac and Cheese.

Despite all the flailing agony of preparation, I'm really looking forward to Thanksgiving. As you know, it's my favorite holiday because it forces me to spend at least one day looking around in wonder and thankfulness at how fortunate I am. Everyone's probably tired of hearing my Thanksgiving Speech before they can eat, but that's too bad: it comes from the heart and I think it needs to be said, if only once a year.

Of course, after Thanksgiving comes The Dreaded Christmas Season. Some things about the Christmas season are truly wonderful:

- Enjoying two weeks of relative calm at work, plus the plethora of pig-out hallway parties that erupt in the Pentagon beginning in early December.
- Watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol" on TV.
- Watching the grandchildren tear into their gifts.
- Listening to my favorite Christmas carols: "Do You Hear What I Hear?" (the Harry Simeone Chorale version); "One of You In Every Size" (Marty Robbins); "Feliz Navidad" (Jose Feliciano); and "White Christmas" (Bing Crosby).

And then there are the things that aren't so wonderful:

- Spending hours cruising parking lots, looking for a space within a day's walk of the store you want to visit.
- Putting up the artificial tree (the helpful color-coding of which is lost on me - I'm color blind).
- Putting five miles of lights on said tree (naturally, the strings of lights don't connect at each end, so we have The Amazing Colossal Rats-Nest O' Wires emerging from the power strip hidden behind the tree).
- Joining seven hundred of my closest friends in the Line From Hell at the Post Office, waiting to mail the packages I waited too long to get ready.


On balance, I'm looking forward to the season. I'll keep you all posted on the unfolding adventure of trying to balance General Curmudgeonly Outlook with Holiday Benevolence and Good Cheer. Gin and tonic helps. So does a dog that's also in the spirit.

That's all for now. If you are here in the US and living in one of the states that observes Daylight Savings Time, don't forget to set your clocks back an hour before you go to bed tonight. You've earned that extra hour of sleep ... as long as you're doing your job (see yesterday's post).

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Amanda said...

It looks like you have plenty of good times to look forward to. Thanksgiving sounds like such a good holiday to give thanks.

Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

I love the holidays but hate the fact that retailers stay a season ahead on things. Two weeks before Halloween, my local shops already had their Christmas trees and decorations on display. Good grief.

Have a great weekend. Is Vienna, VA in Fairfax County. I cannot remember. Either way, I lived in Olney, MD years ago and worked in Vienna. Just thought I's ask.

Sue said...

*a dispirited sigh escapes me*

I'm not going to be scrooge and ruin the good spirit of your post. I just wish my holidays were as memorable as yours seem to be! ;-)

Bilbo said...

Amanda - thanks! So far, the weekend is good...tomorrow we'll see the granddaughter, and it will be better!

Dari - Yes, Vienna is in Fairfax County. It's sort of considered the "upscale" end of Falls Church, but I've never been quite sure where the Vienna-Falls Church dividing line is.

Sue - the holidays are as memorable as we make them...this is the one time of year I try to be relentlessly positive and cheerful, no matter how hard it is. Save the dispirited sighs for a time when you really need them, and use the holidays to help recharge your batteries.

John A Hill said...

A hearty "Happy Holidays" from the mid-west to you aand all of your readers! It's a great time of year--no matter how you choose to celebrate. Family and friends make it soooo much merrier.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

The Christmas Season has started for me already. I'm working on my Christmas Mix CD that I send out and I've converted my older mp3 player to Christmas tunes :)

I love Christmas :)

Sue said...

Hrm. You are absolutely right, friend! Thank you for the reminder!