Peace and Joy during a Pandemic

It’s been awhile. This time of year always gets crazy and hectic and while this year was no different in the crazy and hectic, it was a different type of crazy and hectic.

I wasn’t stressed and ready to pull out every hair on my head. That is my normal December mood. It usually starts with Thanksgiving which we celebrate with my parents ( this year it was just Mom). Then we usually celebrate Christmas early with Mom and Dad before they embark on their migration to Florida for the Winter, but that didn’t happen this year. Instead we spent the Friday and Sunday after Thanksgiving decorating the tree up at the cemetery with help from some special elves. And that weekend I decided to paint the dining room because I bought a used dining room hutch to help get my kitchen organized. So the first weeks of December were hectic with painting and reorganization and then I went into Christmas mode.

I refused to go to the stores to shop. I went once and decided I was not going to survive the usual holiday crowds amid a pandemic. So I gave my boys a deadline to give me a list and I went online and shopped away. Then I prayed everything would get here before Christmas. I think the delivery people were tired of coming to our house after awhile since all five of us did most of our shopping online.

Even though we had our artificial tree up in the dining room, we were determined to get our real tree for the living room. This turned into an adventure this year. We drove to our usual local tree farm on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and found it packed!

I don’t like crowds in the first place. Crowds in a pandemic was enough to start my anxiety spinning. So we decided to try another tree farm. As we pulled in we noticed the trees people were heading home with were small and just didn’t seem like what we were looking for. We drove right back out and headed towards another farm. Every tree farm, if they were still open, seemed to have been picked clean of the type of tree we were looking for, like a Turkey carcass during Thanksgiving dinner. Finally, we made the family decision to go to the original Tree farm the next day when the boys got out of work.

The next afternoon we mustered at the tree farm and headed into a grove of very tall trees. We knew if we found a tree it would have to be trimmed to a suitable height. Although, Christopher kept insisting on buying a 20 foot tree, moving the artificial tree into the living room, and cutting the top of the 20 ft tree and attaching it to the roof while decorating the bottom inside the house. I was definitely against this! And looking back, so glad we did not do this because we had several bad storms with high winds including Christmas Eve. I doubt the roof tree would have survived.

As always we tend to spread out looking for the perfect tree and when we find one, we play Marco Polo to get everyone to the tree in question. This is a silly tradition we do every year and this year was no different. Another silly tradition is Christopher always exclaims,”It smells like pine!” It brings laughter, every year.

We are pretty particular when it comes to our tree. It can not have bald spots and it needs to be as symmetrical as possible. It gets checked for drying needles and a straight trunk. After a few contenders, we finally found the right one. Johnny did the honor of cutting it down and Christopher and Eric hauled it back to where we had to pay for it.

Once we got it home, it sat outside on the deck for a few days. Why? We couldn’t decide how we were going to rearrange the living room and where we were going to put the furniture. See John got a new recliner before his knee replacement surgery which completely threw off the furniture balance. Finally we agreed on where the furniture would go and the tree came in the house and got decorated.

Presents got wrapped and put under the tree and for the first time in forever I was pretty much done with preparing for Christmas. I bought cookie baking supplies and set aside a day to bake cookies with my Mom. Something I hadn’t done with my Mom since I was a child. We had a lot of laughs and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

Oh, and I took an awesome picture of the sunrise on the first morning of winter and turned it into a Christmas card! That was a minor fiasco! I designed and ordered them online, went and picked them up and realized when I got home they were messed up! So I called the store, they said I could return them and design new cards and place a new order. That’s what I did, although I designed and ordered my new ones and then when I went to pick them up, I returned the old ones! Remember, I was trying to stay out of the stores!!

Christmas Eve Mom had a Physical Therapy appointment and two MRIs so I brought the Christmas cards to fill out while I waited in the car for her. The epitome of multitasking!!

So the year of a pandemic, I got both trees up, my house decorated, my dining room completely repainted, baked cookies, bought and wrapped all gifts, and even got Christmas cards made, filled out, and mailed before Christmas Eve night! I think this is one Christmas for the record books! I did this all without feeling stressed, it truly has been a peaceful holiday season!!

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