Dear Diary:
Eve of the Eve


Suddenly, it is the night before the night before Christmas, but you’d never know it from the look of our house. The carols are set to go on the Nano, but haven’t been asked for just yet. There is a stack of Christmas cards to open, but not a very thick one — although I do note that the custom of sending cards seems to have recovered somewhat from the body blow dealt by email and Facebook. As for sending Christmas cards, that’s a two-part operation. First out are the cards to nearby folk whom we hope to see at our open house on the Sunday afternoon between Christmas and New Year’s. All other cards go out after that party.  

It has been years — over a decade — since gifts had anything to do with our holidays. Everyone we know is positively arteriosclerosed with possessions, and when we see something that we know a friend could use or specially enjoy, we present it then and there. The other day, as the result of a happy accident, we were able to give Fossil Darling a nifty wall clock for his kitchen, which Quatorzse has been renovating (short of the nightmare of new cabinets). But no “shopping” was involved. Whenever I read that someone has been running around with a Christmas list, an activity that seems to involve visiting shopping malls — I can’t tell you how bizarre shopping malls have come to seem in the ten years since I last set foot in one, and how utterly penitential — I feel an almost historical relief, as if I had outlived a barbarous epoch. Just as I, personally, as an ancient Boomer, have outlived the idea that “watching television” is entertaining.

At the same time, it would have been a good idea to go looking for a wreath a few days ago. Hitherto, I didn’t have to go looking; I couldn’t go to the Food Emporium downstairs without passing a temporary forest of Christmas trees. But construction work on the Second Avenue subway has put a stop to that, perhaps for the rest of my natural life. When I spoke to the florist, to order a centerpiece for Christmas Eve dinner (something else that ought to have been attended to earlier), he regretted that he was “clean out” of wreaths. I don’t despair quite yet. If I can’t find one tomorrow afternoon, I shall buy a small tree, and cut it up. I had the wit to save the sturdy iron frame from last year’s.

No doubt because my birthday happens to fall on Twelfth Night, I have always been inclined to think of “the holidays” as the period between just about now and the Epiphany. It does not begin the day after Thanksgiving — nor (horrors!) at Hallowe’en. As a result, we are not sick of the whole thing already. Aside from the little matter of sending out invitations to our party, we have done so little in advance of Christmas Eve that it almost takes us by surprise to hear “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen!” the first time round.

God rest ye, merry readers!

One Response to “Dear Diary:
Eve of the Eve”

  1. Nom de Plume says:

    In my family, we called spontaneous gifts for no special reason “Happy Happies”!