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They’re Here . . . November 2, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Less IS More, Life Balance.

Well . . . they’re here. 

No sooner have the political ads, calls, and brochures stopped flooding our airwaves, phone lines and mailboxes, when a more ominous threat to our life balance appears.

Holiday ads. 

No matter where we look (TV, e-mails, magazines, catalogs, newspapers), everybody selling anything wants us to get started on our Holiday Shopping and other festive preparations.


Today, I received:   “It’s time to start your Holiday Shopping,”  and “Get a Head Start on Holiday Planning.”  Both e-mails overflowed with helpful advice to get me to part with my money sooner, rather than later.

The latter article commenced with, “Feeling overwhelmed by the endless holiday to-dos? “

Why would I feel overwhelmed?  It’s November 2nd. 

The article continued:  “Stay on track with this week-by-week checklist that covers meal prep, travel plans, shopping tips, and decorating shortcuts.”

Isn’t it wonderful how someone who has never met me is able to keep me “on track” with a generic check-list of tips, plans, and shortcuts designed to remind me to keep up with the Joneses (and everyone else)?

I decided to come up with my own check-list of tips, plans, and shortcuts designed to simplify our Holidays:

Week of November 1 ~ Let friends and relatives know that we want to simplify Gift Giving this year.  Tip: The more people crossed off our gift list, the more we will avoid the hustle and bustle of a consumer-driven celebration.  Enjoy the Great Florida Beach Walk, a Taste of Manatee, and the Bridge Street Festival.

Week of November 8 ~ Enjoy Play Readers, Pool Party, Island Players (6 one-act plays), and the 30th Anniversary of our first date! 

Week of November 15 ~ Cortez Folk Art Fest and a pre-Thanksgiving visit from my sister and her family.

Week of November 22 ~ Relax. 

Thanksgiving Day ~ A Meatless Feast.  Express gratitude for all the blessings in our lives ~ like not having to buy, store, thaw, cook, stuff, and carve a bird.  Prepare Feast in less than an hour because “Bird, Bird, Bird is NOT the word.” 

November 26 ~ Unpack and decorate the house with FAVORITE  holiday ornaments (miniature trees, reindeer, and Santas).  Turn out the lights and  enjoy the glow of our 3-foot tree while sharing favorite holiday memories with each other.  Post-Thanksgiving Pot Luck at the Activity Center. 

November 27 ~ Buy a Poinsettia.  Tell Tigger not to eat it, “It’s poisonous.” 

November 28 ~ Pop popcorn.  String with cranberries.  Heat up cocoa.  Put on a Christmas CD.  Relax in the glow of kith and kin.

Week of November 29 ~  Wait for NPR to call and inform me that I won the short-story contest.  Holiday Music at the Ringling Museum ~ bring an unwrapped toy to donate.  Traditional Cuban and Latin Jazz Bands under the stars at DeSoto Park.  Help neighbors decorate the street lamps.  Rock Hall of Fame Concert and Laser Show at the Planetarium.

Week of December 7 ~ Seasonal Think and Drink at the Planetarium: What Was The Star of Bethlehem?  (Look at the night sky of 2000 years ago and see what the Magi might have seen.  Learn about the Winter Solstice and Full Lunar Eclipse coming on December 21st).  Cracker Christmas at Manatee Historic Village.  Christmas Celebration at Gamble Plantation. 

Week of December 13 ~ Mail Christmas Cards with checks (or gift cards) for the “wee ones.”  Send personal notes to close friends.  Send cyber-greetings to my friends in the blogosphere.  Cross everyone else off the Christmas Card list.

December 18 ~ Bake Christmas Cookies.  Take some around to neighbors and wish them a Happy Holiday Season.  Admire their holiday decorations.  Eat cookies.  Winter Festival and Luminary Walk at DeSoto Park.

December 19 ~ Visit a local Nursing Home, Hospital, or Hospice.  Move  through the halls singing carols and spreading holiday cheer.

December 20 ~ Wander around the neighborhood after dark to admire the decorations. Curl up and watch The Grinch, as his heart grows two sizes!

December 21 ~ Read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for the 47th time.  Full Lunar Eclipse.  Winter Solstice. 

December 22 ~ Swing by the liquor store for Spirits!  Join the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future as they haunt Ebenezer in Scrooge.

December 23 ~ Light candles.  Read through Christmas newsletters  received from our nearest and dearest friends while enjoying the true spirit of Christmas.

December 24 ~ Read ‘Twas the Night before Christmas.  Go to bed.  Stay awake listening for Santa and his eight tiny reindeer.  If he arrives in a timely manner, invite him in for spiked Egg Nog and cookies. 

December 25 ~ Open up the sprinkling of presents under the tree.  Enjoy a holiday visit with my sister and her family.    

Week of December 26 ~ Contact friends and family located at a distance to share Holiday memories and wish them a Happy New Year. 

For a more complicated season:  Ultimate Christmas Countdown Checklist


1. Greg Camp - November 2, 2010

I’m just contrary (you’re shocked, I know). I tell people that I’m celebrating Saturnalia (I am, really!). That solves a long list of holiday quandries.

nrhatch - November 2, 2010

Maybe this year we’ll celebrate the Winter Solstice and Lunar Eclipse, and save Saturnalia for next year. 8)

Actually, most of our friends and family know to keep gifts to a bare minimum. They’re happy not to be inundated with presents that “don’t quite fit” their tastes and temperaments.

And we’ve stopped keeping Hallmark in business by sending cards to everyone we’ve ever known (even if we haven’t seen or heard from them in years).

2. healing4tomorrow - November 2, 2010

For years now I’ve not allowed the holidays or society to dictate when I can show love and appreciation to my loved ones. I tell them I love them everyday (too bad for Valentine), I buy them presents when I can afford it (since Chiristmas is at the end of the year, they usually have what they want by the time it rolls around) and no credit card bills in January. Still love Thanksgiving though, it’s nice just to get together with loved ones without the pressure of gift giving or discussing religious dogma.

nrhatch - November 2, 2010

You have the right idea. 🙂

We gave more gifts when we were younger and still “setting up our households.” Now, we have all that we need and so do our siblings (and their kids).

We still exchange token gifts, but they tend to be consumables (food, chocolate, wine) rather than stuff to dust.

3. booksphotographsandartwork - November 2, 2010

As I was making a purchase at the grocery store on Halloween day I realized there was a Christmas tree sitting right in front of me! Everything is far too rushed. We need time to enjoy one holiday before we have to think about another one.

nrhatch - November 2, 2010

Exactly! That’s why people feel stressed, because the ads start coming and one article after another gives tips for the PERFECT holiday season ~ buy bigger, buy newer, buy more.

I’ve never done anything about Christmas until after Thanksgiving ~ except for picking up a few gifts throughout the year and keeping them in a gift drawer.

4. Joanne - November 2, 2010

All my sentiments EXACTLY…!

nrhatch - November 2, 2010

The Grinch hit the nail on the head . . .

Christmas doesn’t come from a store.
Christmas means just a little bit more.

5. jelillie - November 2, 2010

A wonderful holiday plan!

nrhatch - November 2, 2010

Thanks. The less time we spend at the mall, the post office, or wrapping gifts, the more time we have to enjoy special holiday events in our communities. 8)

6. Cindy - November 3, 2010


nrhatch - November 3, 2010

Keep your eyes open . . . maybe you’ll see a bargain on red shoes. 😉

7. Naomi - November 3, 2010

Sounds like you’ll enjoy yourself for sure, Nancy! Happy First Date Anniversary in advance and good luck with that short-story contest 😀

nrhatch - November 3, 2010

Thanks, Nomes! We may not do everything on the list, but we (for sure) will not spend the Holiday Season trolling the Malls. 8)

8. andalibmarks - November 3, 2010

OK,I admit, when I got that email (the same one you got) of ‘Get a Head Start on Holiday Planning.’I panicked!
So soon?! OMG!!
There’s so much to do!
Prezzies for the nieces and nephews!
Prezzies for the brothers and sisters-in-law!
Prezzies for the folks!
Prezzies for moi! Yes, for me! What can I say? I like to spoil myself and Christmas is as good a time as any!
Prezzies for Binx! Good luck with the ‘It’s poisonous’ ploy. I tried that with Binx when I brought home fresh fish from the market – he didn’t buy it!

Party arrangements!
Find the damn cookie recipe!
Buy the ingredients!
Get the tree (wherever the hell it is)
Find the decorations (wherever the hell THEY are)
Listen to the proper mood music!
etc, etc, etc…

Then, I got the mail stating Nancy put up a new post and I came here, read the post and thought –

Fuck it.

The kiddies can all get ‘recycled’ gifts (and some money), my parents can get a plant or two or three (they’ve started a new ‘project’) and my bros and their wives can all get cards.

I’ll still get Binx a prezzie though. My darling can’t have Christmas without a prezzie!

Thanks Nancy for (once again) opening my eyes to consumerism!
You’re the best.

nrhatch - November 3, 2010

Your comment should be elevated to it’s own post on Nightengale. It’s wonderful and frenzied and creates marvelous imagery. 🙂

For Tigger, Christ-Mouse is a year round festivus maximus with us as his slaves and him as lord of the manor.

When our nieces and nephews were young, I loved buying them fun books and crafts and even the occasional outfit.

I also shopped in the Gift Shops in Museums, Zoos, and Nature Centers for nature related jewelry, puzzles, and games.

Then they grew up . . . and developed preferences that change faster than I could ever shop. So, now, I let them do their own shopping by sending a check ~ they get to buy things that they want at AFTER Holiday prices.

nrhatch - November 3, 2010

And you should spoil yourself sometimes.

Maybe another rock-climbing trip . . . or a spa day with a manicure (!) to give your hard working hands a break.

9. andalibmarks - November 3, 2010

Oh, I intend to!!

I’ve already seen a new pair of peep-toe ankle boots that have my name written all over them!! They’ll go great with my jeggings and my lilac wrap dress!


10. Cate - November 5, 2010

I love this list!

nrhatch - November 5, 2010

Thanks, Cate.

The less time we spend in malls, and the fewer packages we have to buy, wrap, and ship, the more we can enjoy the reason for the season.

Loved your post this morning . . . great reminder that we each need to set priorities that work for us.

11. withduckandgoose - November 5, 2010

Ah, yes. I’ve gotten those emails since I ran out of Halloween candy on trick-or-treat night. I’ve since unsubscribed from 99% of the email lists I was on because I refuse to let commercialism ruin an otherwise amazing holiday.

Love your list 🙂

nrhatch - November 5, 2010

I’m going to follow your lead and unsubscribe from most of them.

They’re easy enough to ignore, but I’d just as soon not see them at all.

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