Looking On the Bright Side

Christmas can be a risky time for people of a certain age, if you get my drift. So many things can go wrong.

For example, during December the daylight hours are the shortest of the year. We get dressed and undressed in the dark when it’s easy to mix up socks and underwear. We can’t find where we left our glasses either. No wonder we feel sad when we look in the mirror, only to discover that we have put our Christmas sweater on backwards.

Then we have to deal with the Christmas decorations. This is risky too. My husband, Peter, takes great pride in arranging our two deer in the front yard. The deer are brightly lit and one even nods his head. They’re a bit of nostalgia from our home in the country where Everybody had deer, often real ones, in their front yard. But in the city the deer need to be plugged in, and sometimes the snow is wet. Are the plugs grounded? Will our guests trip over the cords that go across the path to the front door?

Meanwhile I devote hours on my hands and knees winding strings of lights and garlands around the staircase banister. Afterwards I try to straighten up again so I can climb on a chair to put lights and garlands on the tree. It’s even more strenuous than exercise class. Then we both spend the entire holiday hoping that no lights will burn out while the guests are visiting.

Shopping for all those gifts can be a risky business. First, because the big malls are never on the subway, we have to drive there and then look for that elusive parking spot. People fight to the death for a good one, abandoning their Christmas spirit as they glare, honk and even nudge their bumpers towards us until we back off in fear. Once we are in a store we are overwhelmed by choice and underwhelmed by clerks. Finally, having emptied our wallets, we try to remember where we parked our car, so we can head home for a nap.

At Christmas time the weather can be a problem too. We wish for a white Christmas so that the kids can go tobogganing or build snowmen, but not too white because then we have to shovel it without having a hernia or heart attack. Then our guests have to drive in it and avoid skids and fender benders. And what if the snow falls all evening and the guests have to stay overnight? And one of them snores loudly?

And then there are the food risks. Peter and I are already 5 pounds heavier from holiday parties and restaurant visits, and we haven’t even had The Big Meal yet. Usually the Christmas feast begins with lots of delicious snacks that go well with wine. Then. when we are stuffed with appetizers, we get to eat stuffed turkey. After that, somebody brings out Aunt Irma’s shortbread and we lunge for the plate.

When dinner is finally over there is talk of going on a healthy walk around the block to admire the neighbours’ lights. Everybody agrees. What a good idea. Then a couple of the potential walkers quietly excuse themselves and slip into the den to watch TV. A few others head to the kitchen with dirty dishes which they load into the dishwasher as they catch up on gossip. The kids begin playing with their new toys. Soon the walkers have all morphed into sitters, players and talkers.

But, as we sit back with our last glass of wine, we realize that reviving traditions and re-connecting with friends and family are worth these small risks we take every year. Even non-Christians enjoy the spirit of caring and joy that surrounds this celebration.

On the eve of this special day, I wish you a Christmas with matching socks, no burnt-out lights, a few gentle snowflakes, gifts that are well-received, a dinner with at least one salad, an evening walk to admire your neighbourhood. And love.


One of our deer, wearing his Christmas outfit.

4 thoughts on “Looking On the Bright Side

  1. Is it all necessary? Like you, I wonder. But then – having no tribe, everyone is my tribe. Hearts are opening everywhere. I wish a happy Dewali to the school bus driver who shuttled me to A Main Street Christmas. To Riki Adivi, a happy Chanuka; to Zohreh, happy Nowruz; to my “other” friends, Happy Solstice. Oh yes, and Joy to everyone’s world. May your year be blessed in your own unique way, Sue. Love always. 🙂


  2. Sue, you certainly ‘hit the nail on the head‘ with your dry comments and you give me such a chuckle. You are a riot! I’m sure you are well prepared for the Xmas invasion. Have fun and I wish you both a very Merry Christmas. Luv Mxx

    Sent from my iPhone



  3. Hi Sue,
    Well with all going on during Christmas Eve, I never got a chance to read your blog. Enjoyed it very much! Think that you are a mind reader. We all seem to fall into the same shoes with regards to Christmas. Hope yours was merry and bright!


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