Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Holiday Survival Thought #2

Delete from your address book all persons who have sent their Christmas cards before December 1st, write holiday letters more than three pages long, and/or have all their shopping done by Halloween. That’s just not right.

  • Nancy

    Yes to those holiday letters. Ugh – some of them are…….. well it’s Advent now, so I’ll refrain from any expletives, but anyone who has received one from an over zealous aquaintence or family member – ENOUGH – OK – we get it – you are all wonderful and perfect.
    Ditto to the early Christmas cards and done with shopping. Boy, don’t I sound like a bah-humbug this year. Actually I’ve had wonderful Christmas seasons for the kids growing up; fortunately, they’re older and content that because I’m ill, we don’t have to go traveling all around visiting relatives.
    It’s one of those things, “Be carefule what you ask for, you may just get it”. I really wanted a quiet holiday season; however, I’d rather it not be because I’m so ill. I try not to think back on the past and all that I was involved with; it’s too depressing this year. Things are what they are, and there are still many blessings.

  • Cully

    Holiday LETTERS!! LMAO
    I would be happy if I could just get some cards out this year.
    and I agree Nancy…they do all seems to imply that the senders are wonderful and live perfect lives (or is that “perfect lies”) ;-D

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Sorry, I’ve just realized that I actually LIKE thise holiday letters after receiving one from a friend with whom I’d lost contact because she remarried and moved away and am planning to write my own (first) onwe this year. My friend/caregiver helped me put my tree up yesterday; the lights are on but not the ornaments (That’s Monday’s job along with getting out the nativity scene, all my animated characters (I’m a FREAK forthiose!) I’ve also started adding cookie and camdy-making ingredients to my weekly shopping list to avoid a HUGE bill the week prior to the marathon day I’ll soend with my “adapted” grandchildren and their biological grandmother who is my ear friend. I DON’T have anu shopping done; plan to go the catalog route as much as possible this year due to the physical difficulties involved in visiting the malls or discount houses. Fortunately the shipping dealines are still a week away. (I HAVE perused the catalogs however; even gone so far as to mark pages.) I confess that my dear friend and ex land lady used to call ,my apartment “Christmas central and would bring her guests across the atrium which separated our apartments to see my place. Christmas has been my favorite time of year since I was able to begin esablishing my own home as an adult (Probably before that as well if I really look at it) I DO think thestores have gone too far when they begin getting out their Christmas decorations/merchandise on the same day they pack away or deeply discount those left from Halloween. Besides, there’s SNOW(measurable)on the ground here in Michigan and to me that means it’s lift-off time!ime!

  • Chinamom

    I’m one of those people who writes holiday letters, but I agree with you in some respects. The letter from an acquaintance who bragged, among other things, that they’d traded in their Escalade for a Jaguar is a classic of what not to do in our house. But for those of us with children and a wide circle of longstanding friends, the letters are a useful way to keep up.

  • Wisdum

    I gotta be the worlds greatest (or worst) procrastinator! I don’t do anything until the last minute (I think it’s because I can only function under pressure … more of that Forever Child Syndrome, I suspect)I love the internet, I just wait till midnight and E-mail everybody my just finished Christmas Card … with no stamps ! no envalopes, no cards … just a bunch of pixels in cyberspace ! WOW!
    LUV 2 ALL

  • Larry Parker

    IMHO, better to write three sentences personalized to the card receiver than an impersonal three-page letter.

  • Frank

    Christmas Letters – now those are a hoot. Somebody you haven’t heard from in a year comes out of the woodwork with a chatty letter about everything they’ve done that’s wonderful in the past year. It’s sort of like the conversations at a 10-year class reunion.
    Dear_____ (often not filled in) “Ah, yes, I’m the VP of schmaltz at Heine, Licqoor and Buttz. We’ve recently been named as the Unfortunate 500’s best buy. I can’t tell you what my options are worth but it’s in the kazillions. We have a new home in Georgetown for the two days a month I’m there to lobby for the Everything Useless bill, introduced by my best friend and old fraternity brother Wonderful Walter. Martha had lunch with Hillary last week and the funniest thing happened. The kids will be home from prep school in Christmas Eve and go back later on Christmas morning. It’s great they expanded the program to include pre-kindergarten. Blah, blah, blah for maybe 2000 more words…
    “Love to see you in the new year if you happen to be on 5th Avenue. Don’t let the doorman intimidate you. Just be sure you dress nicely. He doesn’t get ‘rustic’. Wish you were me…
    Rapidly Rising Randy,
    I’m feeling better already…

  • Barbara

    So I get punished by my friends for being organized? I did my shopping the day after Thanksgiving, and saved $200. So beat me up? Send me to purgatory? Delete me from your friends list? OK, I know you may be joking to make a point (which I miss) but why in such a mean way? If you don’t like Xmas letters, don’t read them. (I don’t and I still get the family gossip/news from them all year when they come for a visit/dinner/whatever) Bragging about everything and not being honest in the emotional pain they may have suffered over the year (which they recount over dinner) is just too much for me. But again, those that like the catching up in this manner have the right to make a choice to read them. Thank God we have a democracy.
    And so when you say to delete me, thankfully my friends won’t take that advice. They know I am old, have a heart condition and it takes me much longer to do things. I have my tree up already, so scold me, but it took 7 days. Yes, I move slowly, being sick.But I still enjoy the season and try my best. Holiday Survival…I’ll be thankful to survive just for the holidays. Bah humbug to you for suggesting you delete me. Only God has that power.

  • Sally

    oh barbara, i don’t know you well enough to hug you but may i offer you one anyway? :)
    speaking totally for myself, i envy & am awed by folks who get it all done early…including you…even if it did take you 7 days to get the tree up. (my 8-year-old “redecorates” our tree every few days, rearranging ornaments or making new ones, so ours is always a work in progress.) it took me 7 days to get the empty decoration boxes off my balcony (much to the relief of our neighbors).
    and, i really LIKE most Christmas newsletters, & i wish i were brave enough to compose one. (being a brutally honest person w/ a wicked sense of humor, i’m not sure my friends & family would really be entertained by mine, probably more like horrified!!!!) we don’t get many visits from far-flung friends (& none from family,) so those tomes really are newsy for us.
    i do wish i had your courage to shop the day after turkey-day…that’s one bit of strength that the Wizard just ain’t gonna give me….i like spending that day giving stuff away to charity. seriously, that has become one of my biggest days to gather stuff for ARC or Goodwill…trying in my own small way to balance the universal cycle of buy-buy-buy…
    may you find respite from illness, however brief…light in your heart from doing the things that make this season meaningful to you….and much love from friends & family….IMHO, the race belongs not just to the swift, but to those of us who do travel more slowly, by necessity or by choice, & who get the opportunity to enjoy the scenery along the way. peace & blessings to you!

  • Larry Parker

    Working in retail right now, trust me, there will be better sales the last few days before Christmas than there were on Black Friday. (The best sales, naturally, are the week between Christmas and New Year’s.)
    That said, keep in mind that Therese — like me — is naturally very sarcastic. Her humorous swipe at people like you who are fiercely organized for the holidays is also, if you read BB regularly, simultaneously her admission that she is, well, not.
    I’m sticking by my opinion of holiday letters, though. And I’m a writer by nature and profession, no less.

  • Nancy

    Barbara – It was only tongue-in-cheek humor that Therese was posting. It’s like the saying “take what you need and leave the rest”. If you enjoy the Christmas letters, so be it, that’s fine. I happen to only get ones that are pontificating buffons of self-adulation. I would love to know what is going on with friends as I am close to totally housebound and isolated socially from many while I am enduring a very debilitating illness.
    Therese was not being mean-spirited. It’s actually self-deprecating in some ways; however, I know she does not need me “defending” her. Plus, depending on where any one of us are, mentally or physically, we all “see” things differently. That’s ok too.
    Enjoy your Christmas tree and holiday, and no one rejects you for your organizational skills. (something I used to pride myself on, but have had to reduce in recent times).
    p.s. – not for nothing, but Therese mentioned the shopping done by Halloween, not Thanksgiving – so your in the “not delete” category (I’m just kidding around, Barbara!)

  • Larry Parker


  • Margaret Balyeat

    Since I’ve decided that the struggle with getting out to the malls and discountstores in the malls isn’t worth the rewards, I’m ordering either on line or from catalogs this year. IHAVE marked some pages in the ‘logs and bookmatked the websites, but I’ve not done any actual ordering…I have to get on the stick…Wednesday is the last “gauranteed by Christmas day! Thanks to my caregiver/friend my tree is up albiet only weraing lights…ornaments and tinsel on deck for tomorrow! I started laying in baking supplies two weeks ago so as not to be hit with one HUGE grocery bill, so i’m pretty much set there even though the actual”bakeoff” date has yet to be I’m further along than I frequently am. For the first time I am composing one of those dread (or anticipated, depending on your point of view) letters this year, mostly because I have some really exciting news to sgare. (My twenty-nine year old finally popped the question, so he no longer has a girlfriend, but a fiancee!) You should have seen us on sunday when he visited, practicing to see if I couldPOSSIBLY handle the bride/father-groom/mother danceat the reception. He was convincd he could steady me and movre slowly enough so that i won’t fall and embarrass myself and I went along because it seems to mean so much to him. (Turns out he’s right albit it may be more difficult with an audience (Undoubtedly WILL; the added element of fear of making a fool of myself) We were actually just swaying to the rhythm, but I was no hoofer even BEFORE my hemiparalysis (I always had the “Cubby part down, but the “Checker” part was always missing (For all you “youngun’s,” Chubby Checker was the artist from thelate fifties/early sixties who introduced “The twist” …anyway, his engagement is the number one reason I’m undertaking the letter this year…the second is my change of address because I had to give up my wonderful lift apartment in our blossoming arts district once I was forced to go on disability (too expensive to stay! Unfortunately, because I LOVED it; it was in a n old converted furniyure warehouse and there was a gllery beneath me…lots ofopenings and good friends right there at home. (we were kind of like the television sitcom “Friends” in the way we related to one another. My loft shared an atrium with my friend’landlady which was an AWESOME place from which to watch an electrical storm oe even a blizzard! Sg=he also had three cats and a dog who all “adopted me. Pets aren’t allowed in the retirement community in which I now live, and I miss those guys almost as much as I miss the other humans from the building. One of the other tenants had a gorgeous Golden Lab, and gus adopted me too. He abd Lucy (my landlady’s Black lab were both very attuned to my moods andcould sense when I needed a big head on my lap or a naptime partner. (Me UNDER the covers, the labs on top.) The warmth they generated far outdid any electric blanket I’ve ever known and it felt nice toonce again have a watm body strtched out next to mine (Hope that doesn’t sound TOO sick, but it’s the truth! Actually, the canines were better sleeping companions than my ex was; they dondidn’t get up and down all night or ask me to “scoot over” Before my residence in the Arts District I wasn’t much of a “cat person; my mother was scared to death of them, so we always had dogs when I was a child She was truly phobic; didn’t like any of us to even be AROUND them thanks to a brother who tore a bedspread full of a brandnew litter of kittens off of his bed and threw iton my mother’s lap prompting the mother cat to attack my mother!…Once again I digress…good thing I’m not grading this entry; I’d get a poor rating on the rubric I used… Anyway, i’ve just begun the holiday letter; still must finish and edit it before I mass produce it. BTW, it will only go to people far enouh away that I don’t get to see them over the course of the year since those are the ones I enjot reciving. IMHO there’s nothing more boring than sitting down to read a “chatty “letter when you already know the”news”. It IS sometimes comical to see the creative spin people put on it, though. So still LOTS to do; a busy two and a half weeks in front of me. Doubt if I’ll EVER be organized enough to be done early; it’s just not me! Besides, if I purchased gifts early, i’d end up giving them early too. i’m like a kid in that way…so excited about the giving that I can’ postpone the enjoyment. My respect to people like Barbra who seem to have more organized brains than I do.. since all of you feel like dear friends to me by now and aen’t on my mailing list,, “Merry CHRISTMAS!” Wish I could bring you each a plate of cookies and sing a carol or two! I hope each of you has the kind of Christmas you most enjoy whatever it may be like and that you find your hearts (and MINDS!) filled with love and peace. I also wish for each of you one special gift, be it materiasl or more along the lines of wish fullfillment; whicherYOU most want!

  • Nancy

    Congratulations, Margaret, on your son’s proposal to his girlfriend. That the type of news that does warrant a nice Christmas letter!

  • Larry Parker

    Congrats to your son (and to you), Margaret.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Thanks for your good wishes. I know i’m blessed! Meredith is beautioful both inside and out and she doesn’t resent the closeness my son and I share at all, a worry I hadfor a time. since it was only the two of us for years, we are quite close, and my stroke alerted both of us to the reality that allof our days are numbered, so we’re even closer now. meredith understands that and acyually encourages him to check up on his old mom occasionally. She has also ALREADY! asked for my recipes for my son’s favorite family dishes and isn’t above trying them out in her own kitchen. i’m a lucky lady! My one disappointment lies in that they, like you, Larry, have chosen not to have children…to the point that my son is actually “going to the vet” before they take their vows! Their concerns are similar to yours, Larry; notably time (thry have other things they want to do with their lives, like travel!) Although I AM disappointed, I have told them both that I will honor and support their decision as long as they go into it understabding that even the surgery doesn’t give 100% gaurantees; if G-d wants them to have a child or children, it will happen! meredith’s mother is less willing to accept, though, like me, she’ll HAVE to adapt to whatever the future holds!

  • Larry Parker

    Actually, your son and his fiancee sound like my cousin and his wife (though they both came from dysfunctional families as well).
    There’s a saying that if you can’t handle a pet, you can’t handle a kid. My cousin and his wife adopted a Brussels griffon (Greg Kinnear’s dog in “As Good As It Gets”) right after seeing the movie. Four days later, they brought it back to the breeder! They liked their traveling and being able to do what they wanted when they wanted too much.
    I have no such compunctions about the sacrifices of parenthood. My question isn’t my **willingness** to engage in them, but my **ability** to do so while keeping my sanity.
    Actually, even with my beloved dog, sometimes I worry that — like my dad with me — I don’t spend enough time with her.
    It may be time to get off the computer and give her a big snuggle … :-)

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