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Are We Ready for the Holidays?

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Finally, I think I’m almost finished with everything and ready for the holidays. Believing there isn’t much more to do, I can put my feet up and try to relax. There’s no false sense of security floating around in my brain. Many types of anxiety and OCD are attempting to work their charms, so I use self-talk to find ways to calm myself. Eventually, I convince myself that all the various celebrations are almost two months ahead, and I’m ready for each of them. Now, it’s time to stop writing for today. My friends are waiting, as we are going for an evening of trick-or-treating. What about everyone out there, are you also getting prepared for these special, joyous occasions?

All the gifts have been placed in their respective boxes, each adorned with holiday wrapping paper. In addition, the packages have bows on top to make them distinctive, and we can tell who gets the proper one. Yes, there are some OCD moments here, but I maintain focus on the task at hand. No sweat here; it’s only a few days before December, and I am doing my best. For years, I did not write many cards, but for some people I will not see, a few are sent to acknowledge them for being part of my life. Although I do not want or expect many colored-decorated envelopes, a few would be nice.

While getting ready, I thought about a recent occurrence. It was a cold, breezy, and damp December afternoon. Outside, the trees were shaking, and the flags along my block are currently wrapped around themselves due to the mighty wind. Using all my senses, I felt the water streaming down my face, some entering my mouth and others soaking the packages. Meanwhile, I still heard birds singing, saw cats racing for cover, and smelled dog poop under my feet. Fortunately, the heavy rain helped to wash most of it away, but the vile scent lingered a bit longer.

Finally, the bundles were inside and ready to be put away. Initially, the ice cream and frozen entrees were placed in an already crowded freezer. After rearranging, there was enough room to fit the items inside. Next, the perishables were repositioned in the refrigerator so the new items could be added. Starting from the top shelf down, I successfully placed the items and ensured the perishables were where they needed to be. A few minutes later, the remaining articles were put away in the closets.

Often, our conversation was about school or the latest video games they were enjoying today. After spending a day with my nephews for the younger one’s birthday, I found out what they wanted for their respective gifts. Both of them have asked for very little this year in terms of presents, so it was exciting to think of ideas to get them. Ultimately, decisions were made. At this point, it was difficult to wait to watch their glowing faces when each one received their surprise. Good news: by this day, most of the gifts were already picked out, purchased, wrapped, and put away in my closets for safekeeping. So, I am mostly ready for the holidays.

The Thanksgiving meal that year started at almost 5:00pm. Like most years, the meal was more than a meal; it was a feast. Besides the annual turkey, the kitchen/dining room was filled with side dishes and desserts, too numerous to put on the table. Among them were green broccoli, orange carrots with white corn, yellow turnips, red cabbage, multicoloured cauliflower, different types of potatoes, and stuffings. Also, there were an assortment of desserts, including apple sauces, fruits, several cakes and pies, and many flavours of ice cream. Before the meal, I said to everyone, “Stuff the bird, not yourself.” Like myself, no one listened. All of us at this feast were too full to move an inch because everything was great and extremely delicious.

As December blows in, there are still a couple of people I need to buy for, but it is much more manageable this time around. My expectation is that these presents will be bought, packaged, and wrapped within a few days, which will keep my anxieties at bay. During the second week of December, menu planning is completed, so food shopping trips become less chaotic, making getting ready easier. Naturally, the supermarkets are extremely crowded, and lots of items have to be restocked often.

Some years, the December holidays merge together. In fact, a few of them are really on top of each other. One such instance was when Christmas Eve and the first night of Chanukah were the same, making Christmas Day and the initial day of Chanukah both fall on December 25th, and Kwanzaa, the next day, on December 26th. It was very interesting, but most of us were ready for this event and made the most of this highly infrequent occurrence. Was everyone ready?

As the year draws to a close, so do these stories. Over this year, many of my articles and poems were included in different blogs and websites to make people feel slightly better about their situation. Whether young or older, richer or poorer, for individuals who are mentally or physically infirmed or extremely healthy care about each other and the world we live in. To all my readers, treat everyone fairly and equally because, in the end, we are all humans. Goodwill and happiness to all. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Are we all ready? I know I am!

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The stories above are fictionalised accounts from various years when I was getting ready for the holidays. All the events occurred, but not exactly as written. However, they are placed in order chronologically, but they happened in different years.




Howard Diamond is a New York State-certified peer specialist from Long Island.

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