OK. I’ll admit it. I do Thanksgiving a lot better than I do Christmas. I will blame it on my upbringing, which questioned the sanity of dragging a half dead cedar tree into the living room, to be laced in electric wires, a few yards from the burning fireplace. Our family tree was barely up a week and our mom couldn’t wait to get it down. That same real fireplace was the place we “hung our stockings with care” but really, when you don’t like chocolate (I know, I know…), well, eating candy out of my knee high sock wasn’t really high on my list of holiday favorites. Santa Claus would bring the doll we circled in the catalog, and then the yearly undies, pjs and housecoat. No big surprise there. Growing up in Groovy Grove meant very limited shopping opportunities. And, our parents did it all without Wal-Mart! Really, my favorite part of Christmas was going to the Grandparents house and being with all the family and eating another Thanksgiving meal.

So, I love my pumpkins and colored leaves that get me through September, and Halloween, and Turkey Day. My Dad’s expression about “Frost on the pumpkin” happens every year on my porch, it even advances to “Snow on the pumpkin” and then come spring, we wonder “What’s that blob that used to be the pumpkin?”

I’m happy for all those that love Christmas and get giddy when stores roll out the rolls of paper. I stand in awe and wonder as you put up your tree the first week of November and string lights on anything that doesn’t move. I actually envy those that make their lists and check them twice and never tire of the joy of shopping and giving and making and celebrating. Just thinking about all that festiveness makes me long for a new pair of pjs and a nap.

I’ve been in retail sales and also the entertainment business during Christmas. They have a common disadvantage, in the fact that you prepare for the holiday so far in advance, by the time it gets here, one is kinda, well, kinda tired of it. Stores that have Christmas out so long it needs dusting? Practicing Christmas songs in September? Those are occupational hazards to one’s “Ho Ho Ho”.

What is the perfect recipe for making Christmas merry? For me, it’s a little like that Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t need to overdo anything. Small portions of many flavors will make the best plate. So, I will take a little bit of decorating; add in a few special gatherings with good friends. I want a nice slice of the real meaning of Christmas, and a dab of shopping. I’ll want some traditions, like a trip to Branson with the gang, and someplace to create some laughs, like a church party. I will allow this to simmer for the few weeks of December, and then stick a fork in it, because I’ll be done.