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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me

30 more blog posts to write.

Can you believe we made it this far? I’m not counting my chickens yet (it would have to be French hens anyway) but in a month I’ll have completed my goal of writing every day. To be fair it took me two years to get one year of blogs but I never was very good with math.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me

a Secret Santa who’s waiting for a git.

Every year my book club does a Secret Santa and every year it seems like such a good idea until the minute I have to decide what to send and have to actually go to the post office to do it.

The theory is that you aren’t supposed to buy a book, you are supposed to re-gift one that you already read and loved. But nobody does that. So you really have to buy a new book, which is fine, except you never know what people have read or what they will like.

The good news is this year I opted to send The Secret Life of Sunflowers, which is the book my nephew Andrew bought me last Christmas. It was fun enough that I think someone else will like it, and obscure enough that there’s a good chance they haven’t read it.

Of course I bought a new copy. They can’t have mine!

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me

no post office.

They closed the one in town which means I have to go to the one OVER THERE, and I hate OVER THERE. Besides, the post office has been maddeningly unreliable. Last year it took three tries and two months to get a check from a client (yes, they had to send it THREE TIMES) and I mailed a note to my father over a month ago that has disappeared into the parallel dimension with the socks.

What I want to know is: are they going to refund me the stamp?

My book is going out via UPS.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Christmas music that makes me want to rip my ears off.

No, I am not a humbug. I walk around humming Silver Bells like everyone else. I queue up a little Bing Crosby when I’m in the mood. But what I don’t love is that two weeks before Thanksgiving everyone everywhere starts playing Christmas music all day long.

The restaurants. The stores. Even the church bells go off script and play nine minutes of Christmas hymns four times a day. The same ones. Every time. Away in a Manger is a nice little hymn until it’s clanging through your skull like a dying tin horn four times a day.

And after a while I don’t want to hear another rendition of Jingle Bells. Ever.

Maybe just throw in like one Abba song.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

a pine tree dipped in gold and studded with blue diamonds.

Or at least that’s what I should get for the price of a tree. I remember when we lived in Holmdel we’d go to one of the dozen lots that popped up every year and pick out a tree for $20. Later it was $30. I think by the time we sold our condo it had gone up to a whopping $35.

These were not towering pines. They were six foot emaciated looking trees, but when you have a condo and two cats, it works.

Last year our six foot emaciated tree cost a hundred bucks. I almost spit my candy cane out when I heard that. I doubt they are any cheaper this year.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

an explosion of lights.

Can’t complain about that one. They actually do quite a nice job decorating around here. Our community lines the driveway with white lights and all the shrubs out front are adorned in the same. I get an excellent view from my living room.

In town they hang snowflakes from the trees, all shiny white lights and sparkling glow. There are toy soldiers lit up in windows and red and green spotlights outside storefronts. It’s quite magical.

The only thing I’m not fond of is the perfectly geometrically triangular fake Christmas tree in the town square. I mean… really? Really? There’s not a single live tree anywhere in Tennessee? For shame.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me

so many cookies.

If I was stuck on a desert island and could only take one dessert, it would be cookies. As delightful as cake and pie and pastry are, cookies are really the best. You can’t exactly have three or four slices of pie, but with cookies you can have a variety of deliciousness in one dessert.

Christmas is the time of year when the Special Recipes come out. The kiss cookies and the nutcracker bars. The icing cookies and the creamcheese-and-jelly foldovers. Some absurd number of other things that only get baked once per year.

Oh, not by me. My mother does this all, for days and weeks beforehand, and the cookies go in tins and the tins get hidden at the top of hutches and closets. And then she sends me a care package and all is right with the world.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me


I absolutely love Christmas cartoons. Frosty the Snowman. Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Rudolph. The Year Without A Santa Claus.

True story: I still cry when Frosty melts. Every time.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

the Heat Miser and Snow Miser.

Come on. You can’t not love them. All snarky and full of temper tantrums until Mrs. Claus shows up? Self-indulgent little mischief makers until they get a smackdown. I could watch them all day.

They are my favorite characters of all time, followed closely by the Burgermeister Meisterburger. I know I already said “cartoons” but I m not counting this as cheating because they are just so good.

In pre-streaming days I owned almost zero DVDs, but I did own that one.

Maybe if the church bells played that song I’d like them more.

Then again… never mind.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

all the good smells.

It’s my favorite season for smelling. There’s the sweet scent of pine, the spicy scent of cinnamon and clove, the woodsy scent of fire. There are candles to light and chestnuts to roast.

The good news? Smelling delicious things has no calories.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me

candy canes.

I don’t actually like to eat candy canes. I just like to have candy canes. They are so pretty.

None of the crazy colors, just classic red and white stripes. If they come attached to Hello Kitty, even better.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

mixed emotions.

There are so many things that I love about this time of year, and yet so many things that drive me absolutely batty. Used to be long lines at the mall. Now it’s sitting in front of Amazon for 937 hours reading reviews and trying to figure out if the thing in the picture is really the thing.

Plus I’m terrible at gifts anyway. I’m happy to send you one in March but having to buy things specifically is very stressful.

There’s also the eternal struggle between cookies and Peloton miles. And the fact that no matter what you do, it’s going to be January.

Some of my happiest memories are tied to Christmas, and also some of my saddest. Some days I want to take out all the red and green sprinkles and blast Andy Williams and hang tinsel. And some days I want to sit in my crater in the dark.

But I guess that’s what you call life.

All I know is I have a new Advent calendar and my client work is done and I may even want to make more gingerbread cookies. I have one or two photos that will come in handy for future blogs and there are enough Christmas things to fill a whole stocking with blogs. I’m ready for the season to begin.


Photo: last year’s cocktail at O’Be Joyful, a bar we frequent in town. It came with a little note clipped to the outside with a tiny clothespin. Adorbs.