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