Thanksgiving, Shopping, and Decorations

                                                   A Piece of My Mind
                                                           By Jeff Salter 

            Our topic this week gives me a lot of wiggle room.  I’ll start with a wrap-up of Thanksgiving Day and the days around it. 

Thanksgiving
            We had 16 for dinner that day — way more people than I actually feel comfortable with.  [As I mentioned on one of the Foxes’ blogs this week:  I much prefer spending one-on-one time with people I care about.  The sustained noise and movement of MANY individuals – no matter how much I like them – tends to rattle me.]
            Ten of those were in-laws … the families of two of my wife’s 26 first cousins.  Good folks, all … but in-laws are in-laws, if you know what I mean.  Those ten in-laws stayed with us for three nights.  The first six left at mid-day on Saturday and we had the remaining four for a fourth night.  Great folks and I was sorry to see them go … but we were exhausted!
            We filled our 13-gallon (kitchen) trash container twice each day the company was here.
            House-guests are not a problem, per se — as I said, I like these folks.  But that’s a lot of bodies to stumble over, each with their own unique schedules.  Some went to bed early and several stayed up ‘til the wee hours.  Some rose from slumber around 10 a.m., requiring the rest of us to try to be quiet during the hours most people are up and about.
            Did I mention that one family had an infant and a 3-year-old?

 Shopping
            I don’t do it.
            At least, I don’t do much anymore.  I used to go whole-hog … trying to get ‘X’ dollars worth of gifts for each child and be sure my wife had several different types of gifts.
            Heck, I even bought gifts for friends and neighbors at one point!  Office co-workers, etc.  I was a regular Santa.  I’d take vacation time on two or three December afternoons … just for shopping!
            But one season, after a full day of dragging myself up and down the mall, I came down with a case of pleurisy which (the Dr. told me later) would have landed me in the hospital if they’d gotten back the lab results that same day.  Don’t think it was directly connected – in a true medical sense – to my shopping efforts, but I’ve never forgotten that the last thing I did before falling so incredibly ill … was spend an entire day shopping at the mall.
            These days, I mostly shop on-line.  Saves gasoline … and a bit of sanity.  Better selection than I’d find at any particular mall.  The physical exertion is minimal … and I have no fear of contracting pleurisy!  I hate paying shipping costs, but it’s an acceptable trade-off.
            Even if I did still DO traditional shopping, I certainly would NOT get myself out on so-called Black Friday.  [By the way, I really dislike that term.  I understand it’s a financial reference to profit vs. loss, but it sounds awful.  Just call it ‘Debt Friday’ or something more to the point.]
            Those extreme price cuts won’t get my business on Black Friday.  If a retailer wants my attention, give me free shipping (with no minimum order required), plus at least 30% off the true regular pricing (for my total order), and a few coupons I can use in addition to those other two discounts.

 Decorations
            Some people start the Christmas – and/or other ‘seasonal’ – decorations immediately after Halloween blows over.  That’s WAY too soon.  So the more traditional ‘norm’ is immediately after you run away all the Thanksgiving visitors.
            As a kid growing up, our routine was much later.  The Christmas stuff didn’t go up until after my birthday.  You see, I was an early December baby, and my Mom wanted to be sure my birthday didn’t get completely sloshed over by the Christmas frenzy.  So, nary an ornament was put out until Dec. 10th each year.  I appreciated that consideration.
            My daughter, bless her heart, was born on Dec. 23rd, so her birthday is totally subsumed by Christmas activity.  To counter that, my wife often held my daughter’s birthday party in January … AFTER the holidays, so it could get the attention and participation (i.e., party guests) it deserved.  I think that was a good solution.
            In holiday decorations, I like simplicity, elegance, and understatement.  Unfortunately, I see a lot which are complicated, garish, and grossly overdone.  There … I’ve said it.  Lock me up in Christmas Jail.

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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15 Responses to Thanksgiving, Shopping, and Decorations

  1. I’m a Christmas nut normally.
    The last several years haven’t been quite as merry dealing with a sick mom who has now passed away. This year is the first time, in a long time, that I’m enjoying all the hub-bub surrounding the season. My decorations went up at Thanksgiving, presents are already wrapped under the tree- with several more hiding in various spots around the house and I will host our Christmas Eve party again. Christmas is a time to remember Jesus’ birth, but this year I almost feel like it’s a re-birth of my spirit.
    HO HO HO- Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      “Christmas is a time to remember Jesus’ birth, but this year I almost feel like it’s a re-birth of my spirit.”

      I agree completely with the first part … and heartily congratulate you on the re-birth of your own spirit.

      I had two holiday seasons in a row which immediately followed funerals of people dear to me. It was difficult to celebrate much of anything after such losses.

      You sound VERY organized and proactive in your holiday involvement. I admire that — seriously. Folks as prepared as you can probably avoid some of ‘last-minute’ stresses that many people fall into.

      Like

  2. Another December baby here. I like to have the tree up for my day, but I don’t like Christmas wrapping paper on the b’day stuff. Weird, I know, but there you go.

    I have to say, if I had all those people in my house, I’d have to be scooting over to a hotel. I could NOT deal with that. Nope. Uh-uh, No way. *shudder*

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      LOL. Well, (daughter) Julie and her family were traveling to Texas, so I could have trotted down to the farm house and taken a breather.
      But I didn’t. One more day … and I probably would’ve.

      Like

  3. Laurie Ryan says:

    Okay, there’s WAY too much to comment on here. lol First, you must have a HUGE house to accomodate all those people. Either that or you were stepping over warm bodies for several days. Second, I do more and more shopping online each year. I can generally get by with one trip to the mall…and to Toys R Us. The rest I do online. But the Sci-Fi-er in me wonders if we’re morphing into a society of recluses. 🙂 Lastly, I’m late with my Christmas decorations. Usually put them out on Black Friday. Still trying to get my house cleaning done so I can decorate. I don’t use much, but opening the boxes of Christmas decorations are like visiting old friends. I love it. 🙂
    Happy season, Jeff! And I’m glad your house has returned to normal!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Well, Laurie, our house is 3000 sq ft. not counting the three garage slots. So that’s well more than double the place we lived for 26 yrs. in La.
      The way it’s designed, nearly 1400 ft are in our ‘lower suite’ which has its own bathroom and sink and mini-fridge & microwave. So the six people down there (which included the two youngest) had their ‘own’ space … so to speak.
      Upstairs, in slightly over 1600 ft, we had two people on the couches and another couple in the guest bedroom … so we managed okay. They had a bathroom separate from the one in our master suite.
      In a situation with this many people, the number of bathrooms is a critical KEY. Even with 3 bathrooms, we still occasionally had people waiting in line. Ha.

      Like

  4. danicaavet says:

    I like Christmas when it’s here…I just don’t like all the insanity leading up to it and prefer hiding in my house until it’s over. And I don’t like shopping on a regular day, much less during the holidays *shudders* but I did leave my house on Black Friday. I bought a new bed and hurried back home as quickly as I could.

    Like

  5. jeff7salter says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention something about decorations … from my childhood.
    Back in the old days, my parents would take us to New Orleans — approx. 50 miles from where we lived in the ‘north shore’ area of Lake Ponchatrain.
    As a kid, I really loved all the Christmas decorations along Canal Street — which, at that time, was the primary retail district. They had an old & notable hotel called the Roosevelt (it’s a diff. name now) which went ALL OUT with decorations. A main ‘hallway’ some 50 ft wide (and what seemed like hundreds of feet long) led from the main street entrance to a movie theater on the ground floor. One year, that entire space was covered with white cotton batting (or whatever it’s called) which looked like snow. To me, it was a snow tunnel. Very cool. I don’t remember which movie we saw that particular time … but we went to several there.

    Like

  6. Micki Gibson says:

    Well you’re just a regular ol’ Grinch, aren’t you? Just kidding. These days, the holidays + extended family could turn any sane human being into a green monster whose heart is two sizes too small. I think the older we all get, the more it’s not so much “Grinchy” behavior as being more assertive in drawing the line about what will make us insane. I’m all about preserving my sanity. Lord knows my family has more than enough evidence to lock me up considering the crazy stuff I do the rest of the year. Best not to give them additional ammo. Glad to hear you survived and mostly enjoyed having your company, Jeff.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Micki.
      As I said, these 10 in-laws are a pretty terrific bunch. With certain others, I may not have lasted even a single night! Ha.

      Like

  7. Tonya Kappes says:

    I LOVE decorating for Christmas!! I LOVE the decorations this time of the year. But I don’t go shopping either. Most of my items are online. I also don’t do black Friday or cyber Monday. I do Tonya time starting in September and by the time the crazy shopping season starts, I’m all done! I don’t care if I do pay full price:))

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      “Tonya Time” — love it!
      Yeah, the folks who (like you) get things done early usually have a lot less stress during the rush peak periods.
      I really feel sorry for the clerks working in retail sales … during the final ten days before Christmas. I’ll bet nearly every one of those days is nearly as bad as ‘black Friday’.

      Like

  8. Lois Grant says:

    We have traditionally put up our tree either the day after Thanksgiving or at least the weekend after. Thankfully I didn’t have to worry about it as Autumn puts one up in her area. We have a Christmas baby in our family as Lila was born on December 25th and it really is trouble finding a good date for her party. We have even had a party in June for her. She also insists that her birthday day gifts be wrapped in birthday paper and NOT Christmas.

    As a child I really do not remember when we put up the tree, but can remember helping decorate and the yearly enjoyment of the old ornaments and the old bubble lights and foil icicles. What I do remember even better is Momma starting her Christmas cooking at least two weeks before Christmas starting with her fruitcake as it had to be marinated in whiskey. She would start all of her pies about a week before. After I got my Easy Bake Oven for Christmas, Mom would use the little pie pans to make sample pies for my brother and I so that we would pester her to cut the Christmas ones. Momma had a gum drop tree also that we would load with gum drops.

    Thanks for including me Jeff!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      I still have a string of my grandmother’s ‘bubble lights’ and a few of the bulbs still work! Those used to fascinate me as a kid.

      Like

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