No stress Christmas

Every year I make same pledge, which is that I refuse to get caught in the swirl of pressure associated with “getting ready” for Christmas.

I cannot remember when I first made the pledge. It doesn’t matter when. Just know that I did and every year since then I have been nominally successful.

This Christmas presents some unique challenges for me. It will be the first holiday in 52 years without Kathy Anne. We lost her on Feb. 3. We struggled through the year in various stages of grief. Then on Dec. 1 we got another punch in the gut when we lost Toby the Puppy. My puppy was far more than a pet; he was my traveling companion, my bunk mate, my best pal.

So … we’re dealing with that loss, too.

However, I want to stipulate that Christmas has arrived and I am proceeding as pledged. I won’t let the stress associated with the holiday overtake me. Indeed, I am actually enjoying the act of shopping for the holiday. As I write this blog item, I am essentially done shopping.

Today is Dec. 10. I am effectively done with two whole weeks to go before Santa arrives. I am going to be like the proverbial cool breeze from this day forward.

I am going to hug my family and my friends. I am going to relish the joy they have in welcoming the season.

Oh, I am going to have a calendar-burning event in my back yard on New Year’s Eve. The fire pit awaits. I don’t have many 2023 calendars laying around the house, but those I have found are doomed to become nothing more than ash as I bid good fu**ing riddance to the worst year of my life.

What lies ahead for 2024? New adventures, surprises that present themselves. It’s a new year that will allow me to move forward with optimism and joy.