This week’s column

Orange County Reg­is­ter — North County News-Tribune; Date: Dec. 26, 2019; Sec­tion: News; Page Num­ber: A3

The things we do for hol­i­day joy

Twas the day after Christ­mas, and all through the place,

Moms sipped on their cof­fee, and stared off into space.

By the time Christ­mas day arrived this year, I had dec­o­rated the inside of our house, cre­ated and mailed 75 Christ­mas cards, baked 14 dozen cook­ies, attended city and library events plus friends’ par­ties, and bought presents for my loved ones.

Is it any won­der that I sleep all day on Decem­ber 26th?

I thought about this while I was dec­o­rat­ing snow­men sugar cook­ies. It had been a long night of dec­o­rat­ing, after a long day of bak­ing. I picked smaller cookie cut­ters for my gin­ger­bread and sugar cook­ies, which might have been a mistake.

Instead of two dozen, I had over four dozen of each kind. I had already baked four dozen Snick­er­doo­dles, and two dozen Ital­ian lemon drop cookies.

My back and legs were scream­ing from shuf­fling between the table, the counter, and the oven. As I spread the icing on one more snow­man, I won­dered if there wasn’t a bet­ter use of my time.

For exam­ple, I could be sit­ting in front of the fire with an old movie and a glass of wine.

At that moment, Dale wan­dered through the kitchen, dished up a bowl of ice cream and held it out for me to plop my snow­man into it. I hes­i­tated. This was the prod­uct of hours of hard work. Was I going to let him inter­rupt my flow? Would he eat the cook­ies as fast as I iced them?

And why wasn’t he in here, mix­ing and cut­ting and icing? Or dec­o­rat­ing? Or mail­ing cards?

At the height of my pity party, I real­ized that Dale never asks me to do any of these things. He’s an easy-going guy. I sup­pose if I didn’t dec­o­rate the Christ­mas tree, he’d throw a few orna­ments on it. He might even hang a stock­ing on the fireplace.

I’m the one who wants lighted gar­land on the windows.

Dale would be happy buy­ing a pack­age of cards at the gro­cery store to mail out. In this day and age, he prob­a­bly wouldn’t do that. He’d send one of those fancy email Christ­mas cards with ani­mated snow and bunnies.

I’m the one who loves to write a Christ­mas let­ter, select pho­tos, and cre­ate a mem­o­rable card to send out.

As for cook­ies and other Christ­mas treats, Dale might try his hand at a recipe (he’s a good cook), but buy­ing cook­ies from the store is a faster way to his stom­ach. They all taste good with ice cream, anyway.

Bak­ing cook­ies is a tra­di­tion from my younger days. Back when I was poor, they made great gifts. I got used to mak­ing mas­sive quan­ti­ties, because I boxed most of them up and gave them away.

Appar­ently, I do not do this as much. In real­ity, I know this, and yet, my brain refuses to adjust. This year, I thought I could make 4 dif­fer­ent kinds of cookies.

I did but it required a heat­ing pad and pain reliev­ers. And now I have enough cook­ies to feed an army.

In one moment, I real­ized that I do all the work and suf­fer all the aches and exhaus­tion because I choose to. Because the results make me happy. When Dale held out his bowl, there was only one response.

I gave him the cookie.

Long­time Pla­cen­tia res­i­dent Gayle Car­line tracks those moments that shape her days as a wife, mom, com­puter whiz and horse­woman. E-mail her at [email protected].

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