So This Is (The Day After) Christmas ...
All the hubbub is in the rear-view mirror. Except for those who venture out to the stores in search of sales or to make returns.
I am not one of them.
Black Friday is my least-favorite shopping day of the year. Today is my second-least-favorite shopping day of the year. I won't venture into so much as a Walgreens today. I'll stay safely away as the retail piranhas strip the aisles all but bare.
At the moment, I'm relishing that I have nothing to do. I have things I can do – there are always things to do – but I have nothing I have to do. The remaining items on my to-do list, lone lines of legibility in a sea of entries crossed off, are of the future variety, things I've written down simply so I don't forget them, not because they need to be done ASAP.
Now that I don't have to make bread, I kind of want to make bread. Now that I don't have to bake cookies, I kind of want to bake cookies. I surely don't have to cook. I don't have to cook for a couple of days. Mom always overprepares. She's Serbian. She can't help it. And I am the grateful recipient of neat stacks of plastic takeout containers from the food-service store, each filled with something from Christmas Eve including a delightful piece of chocolate cheesecake, a throwback to my childhood, that will be consumed a forkful at a time over the course of a couple of days. It's very rich.
I may read. I may nap. I may drink wine. I will very probably drink wine.
Gift-wise, this was a very practical Christmas, very much on purpose. None of us need anything. We all have more than we need, frankly, as do so many others, too much stuff. But we still wanted the tradition of opening gifts together, so for the most part, we gave each other consumables, experiences, or useful things. I gave my brother and sister-in-law, for example, a gift card to a restaurant they've been wanting to try. They gave my parents a gift card and tickets for dinner and a show. They gave me a Keurig one-cup coffeemaker, which I didn't know I wanted until I received it, but it's perfect for those afternoons when I want coffee but I don't want to brew a partial pot. So that's "stuff," but it's useful stuff, not stuff for stuff's sake.
One of my nephews gave me an inscribed copy of David Sedaris' "Holidays on Ice," which I love, because David is a genius but more because my nephew slyly ascertained what book of David's I might like and then stood in line to get it signed for me at a campus event. David wrote, "To Beth: With the pleasure of meeting your enchanting nephew"; observant man, that David Sedaris.
My cousin Patty sends my birthday gifts for Christmas. This year's prizes were a notepad and pen from Graceland, where she had the great good fortune to visit this year, as well as a little cookbook of Southern recipes, that sound heart-stoppingly, fabulously insane. She also sent, for Christmas, a fab tile affixed to an easel backing for the purposes of display, a very pretty hand-lettered tile that reads, "Ask not what your mother can do for you, but what you can do for your mother"! I laughed out loud! I'm sure that's what Kennedy meant to say.
In my stocking, mom gave me dark chocolate-covered almonds – so good – and dad gave me lottery tickets on which I won bupkis. There were also potholders, which I had asked for. Like I said, practical Christmas.
There were more potholders, fancier potholders, waiting under the tree, as well as the sandstone coasters I wanted because the metal coasters I have don't make any sense. And there was a very cute Christmas decoration, because my mom couldn't resist (he has joined The Snowman in Angelo's chair, and they are both enjoying looking at the tree), and there was a prepaid gas card that will fill my car many times over. And then there was wine. A box of wine. Not a box of wine, but rather a box containing three bottles of wine, which was perfect not only because I love wine but because in the run-up to the holidays, I had forgotten to buy any, and while I could have uncorked one of the "fancy" bottles I have on hand, I prefer to save those to drink with someone who can appreciate them with me. So now I have three nice "everyday" bottles to enjoy, starting today.
And I have just remembered that I still have cheese. Oh, this day just keeps getting better, and it's not even 9 a.m.
So now it's time for another cup of coffee. And some time with a book, I do believe.
The exhale continues.
I hope your holidays were everything you wished they would be.