Well, folks, by the time you read this, all the holiday festivities will be over. We will be facing the tasks of dismantling the Christmas decorations and packing them away. There will be a let-down feeling for some of us and sighs of relief for others.
The children will be heading back to school, with a certain amount of relief for parents. Let’s face it, we make a lot of to-do over Christmas and New Year’s Day. In some ways, though, we may feel glad when it is all over and we can get back to normal everyday living.
The house may look a little drab with the tree taken down, and its ornaments packed away. Normal food may be somewhat lack-luster, or perhaps to the chief cook and bottle washer, a release from the extra drive to make that favorite candy and those fancy cookies she feels bound to do, and her family always expects.
Stores have to overhaul their displays and store away the Christmas décor. Outdoor lighting must be coiled up and stashed in attics or basements. When all those things are accomplished, what comes next?
It can be a more tranquil and restful portion of the year, if so desired and planned ahead. I saw a huge jigsaw puzzle spread out in maybe 500 pieces on one table at my son and daughter-in-law’s house where I was a guest. I couldn’t pass it by without seeking a piece or two to fit into the complicated multi-colored scenery.
For the feast, platters of both turkey and ham tempted us along with my favorite of all, the stuffing. Daughter-in-law, as usual, packed a sampling of those goodies for me to bring home. I have already snacked on a couple of those irresistible treats.
Yes, these holidays so close together are great, and most of us anticipate them exceedingly, but what comes next? How do we fill those more limiting months of January, February and half of March? For the elderly and confined it could be pretty drab. One can only tolerate so much solitaire and/or television.
We can call our relatives and friends or invite some folks in for a table of bridge or euchre, both of which seem to be popular card games around here. Also, here at my assisted living quarters, there seems to be a favorite game of some type of dominoes for one group.One gal here likes her “soaps” and kills a few hours daily with one or more of them. I try to take in all the physical exercises I can to keep my blood circulating. The manager took one busload out for a ride to see the Christmas decorations around the area. There were some spectacular ones I was told.
I have enjoyed a lovely poinsettia plant a very nice woman brought me, a bright red one. My daughter-in-law set up my little table tree with multi-colored twinkling lights and I arranged our family’s traditional scene of the Nativity for the focus of the decorations.
We furnished lovely floral wreaths for each of our doors for the weeks ahead of Christmas. They made the trip down the corridors a sight-seeing tour.
At our December sing-along in our living room, Christmas carols and popular holiday songs filled the air. It was a cheerful afternoon. Actually, there are some pretty good voices among us. I think we should put on a show. To top it all off we were all supplied ice cream sundaes.
Tonight, New Year’s Eve, as I write, the world goes out to celebrate. I just sit here gazing out my front window. I see a crescent moon and marvel at a universe full of wonders. Personally, I love the Midwest with its dramatic variety of seasons. We know that in 10 or so weeks, we will be seeing the earth awaken and come to life in a splendor of green. We will have survived Mother Nature’s cold shoulder and will be seeing her more tender maternal side.
She will be sporting her galaxy of flowers and vegetation, and we will know that we have survived another midwestern winter, and can then, once again, relish the beckoning call to the earth and its great outdoors.
Bundle up for now and keep your quarters cozy. If you are able, venture outside. Your cheeks may turn rosy but your steps will be lively. Take a few cookies over to that neighbor if you can, but stay and talk a spell. Keep it light if possible or console your companion if need be. Sometimes we are surprised at how spreading cheer means gaining it too. It usually seems to work that way.
Harriett Gustason can be reached at 815-235-3855 or firstname.lastname@example.org