The worst thing about Christmas is that it comes around every December 25, whether you’re ready for it or not.

This year, I wasn’t ready.

Normally I put my tree up over Thanksgiving weekend.  And in the years since the start of the pandemic, I’ve decorated more than I ever had.  Lights on the windows, lights in my office.  Nothing worthy of a Hallmark movie, mind you, but remote work meant I was home to enjoy it.

Not this year.

This year I put off putting up the tree so long that I thought I’d just skip it all together. 

But last Tuesday I dragged the box up from the basement and put up the tree.  I fiddled with the lights, and topped it with a Queen Elizabeth statue (rest in peace) and after surveying the box of ornaments, decided anything more was too much trouble.

I didn’t put up the outdoor lights, or the garland, or the twinkle lights in my office.

This was going to be a bare minimum Christmas.

I normally wrap the presents early, but this year I was running around on Christmas Eve with ribbons and bows flying.  And when I was finished, I sat down to lunch and put on Ingrid Michaelson’s Songs of the Season.  I’ve always liked my Christmas music mellow and a little melancholy. 

The album ends with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, which I suppose is more of a New Year’s Eve song, but it hit me just right.

Christmas holds the most meaning for children and the deeply religious, neither or which apply to me. 

But Christmas is special for me because of the sentiments expressed in Auld Lang Syne—a song of friends sitting down and toasting to their long friendship and remembering those who are no longer with them.

For me, Christmas is the time when my oldest friends come home to visit.  It’s when I go to parties with friends old and new.  It’s when I take some time off work, away from my normal routine, and spend it with the friends and family I love most.

Bare minimum or Hallmark-ready, Christmas comes around every December 25, whether I’m ready for it or not.

That’s the best thing about it.

Merry Christmas to you and yours this holiday season, and thank you for spending a part of your Sundays with me.