As I unpacked Christmas decorations yesterday, I had little enthusiasm for the enormous task of putting them up. And I don't even want to think about taking them all down again.
After all, none of our kids or grandkids will be able to come this year. They all have other commitments. I understand. I remember what it was like to have only two or three days off work for Christmas and yet try to fit in visits to relatives and in-laws. I remember all the packing for five people and the sibling spats in the back seat during the endless drive. Even alternating visits, one year to my side of the family and the next to his, it was a huge undertaking. And some years, it's just impossible.
This is one of those years for our family. That's why we all met at our middle daughter's house for Thanksgiving this year. It was such fun to have all three kids, along with their spouses and our two grandkids, all in one place at one time. We enjoyed it thoroughly.
But now the Christmas-alone blues are setting in. Still, maybe this could have an upside.
Why should we bother with all the decorating just for us? Maybe we'll simply put up the tree and nothing else. That would be a lot less trouble. Maybe we'll even enjoy the season more without all the hassle of outdoor decorations.
And maybe we can skip baking cookies and fudge and all those other fattening things we traditionally eat and shouldn't. Then maybe I won't gain the dreaded five pounds I usually pack on between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.
Maybe watching our favorite Christmas movies will actually be more fun with just the two of us. Instead of nine people arguing over which oldie to watch first and when to pause it for potty breaks, maybe the two of us will just snuggle up and watch George Bailey find the true meaning of Christmas without interruption.
And, who knows? It might even be possible for Chevy Chase to screw up "Christmas Vacation" without the whole Minor clan reciting his lines with him.
On the other hand.
This is my grandson's first Christmas. I sure would love to share it with him. And our granddaughter will never be 4 years old again. Sure would like to see her eyes light up when she sees the handcrafted toy box her Grampa is working so hard to finish by Christmas.
Of course, there's always next year.
By then our grandson will probably be walking, not just a newborn. We'll be able to get him toys and watch him rip them open.
By next Christmas our granddaughter will be in school and excited to tell us all about it. She'll be learning to read and we can share Christmas storybooks. She'll even be big enough to help bake the cookies.
I'll have all year to plan ahead. I'll upgrade our Christmas decorations and find some great new cookie recipes. Maybe I can work throughout the year on some handmade gifts for everyone. That will be fun.
Best of all, I am cancer-free so it's safe to assume I'll be here next Christmas. And, by next year I'll have a full head of hair so I won't scare everyone away with my bald chemo head. Yeah, next year we'll stage a major Christmas blow-out for all the Minors.
As for this holiday season, just knowing I can plan a year ahead is all I need to make it truly a Merry Christmas.