Thanksgiving is over! How was it for you? If you weren’t weeping into a Hungry Man TV dinner my guess is, you had an alright holiday. If you were in fact weeping into a Hungry Man, next time check out the paper! It advertises great events around town, places to eat, and holiday activities that are usually free for the public, such as the annual Electric Light Parade. We didn’t get a chance to watch the parade this year or the fireworks that follow, but I did visit the annual Kenai Craft Fair and local vendors bazaar. I even entered a drawing at the craft fair and won free jelly.
Jellies are the best. Here’s why: Jelly makers are connoisseur geniuses. Making jelly isn’t for the lazy man, it’s time-consuming and creative. Jelly makers create the coolest combinations out of what is essentially sugar, pectin, and various assortments of fruit. If you lived in a big city during the early 1990s, one might express themselves as having “mad props for jelly makers.” They could crush bugs into grape jelly and we’d all eat it. That’s how good jelly makers are! On a personal note: having won two jars of jelly taught me that venturing out of my comfort zone into the shoulder-to-shoulder chaos can be worth the headache, hence I’m the proud owner of zucchini relish and fireweed jelly because of it. Jelly makers must also dabble in the art of self-help therapy. This grateful hermit says thank you.
I get weird around the holidays. Once it hits November I basically lock my door, put on sweats, shout at the TV, and shuffle around the house until spring time. A part of me is waiting to transform into the creepy lady that never leaves her house in the winter time, but still peeks out the window periodically to spy on the occasional passerby. A modern day hermit that collects restaurant delivery menus and has a couple fun pranks on hand for the delivery guys. All peaceful pranks, because if I made my car alarm go off there’s the risk of them dropping my food and I can’t risk that kind of casualty. My pranks are mostly innocent stuff, like as they’re handing me the food I get wide-eyed and say, “You’re from the outside!”, then slam the door.
I wasn’t always a hermit for the holidays, probably because it was before I had kids. When you have kids and you have to find a sitter, most of you know we act like it’s pulling teeth and often times we’re guilty of lying about it. If this is just dawning on you to use not finding a babysitter as an excuse ... you’re welcome. When I’d arrive home from college for Christmas break, it rarely involved preparation or stress. I’d waltz into a party with candy cane shot glasses and a new jacket I could barely afford. Now I just pray the Spanx are doing their job and my thrift store dress will trick these fools into thinking it came from Express. But these past years have been about ugly Christmas sweater parties. There’s nothing to stress about when going to an ugly Christmas sweater party. Everyone is on the same page, even if there’s that one guy that goes the extra mile and goes 3D. There’s literally Christmas lights, jingle bells, and ornaments glued or sewn onto a dirty sweater where Santa’s face looks more and more like Jafar over the years. That can’t be right. But it can’t be wrong! Because it’s an ugly sweater party! Huzzah!
Here’s the thing: when I’m home it gives me a chance to daydream about my ultimate holiday scenario. I’m hopscotching on European cobblestone while a nearby civilian plucks the lute, like the rooster in Robin Hood in his puffy sleeved blouse. Are those puffy sleeves or does he just have large muscles? I don’t know, but yes, in my holiday dreams I am transferred to the Renaissance era. I imagine that it’s snowing, poor people are asking for “alms” and selling flowers in their patchwork clothing and it smells like an apothecary. Then a carriage flies by and knocks me unconscious into the Chronicle of Narnia light post. It’s all pretty magical.
Magical or not, hopefully you will spend the holidays with good people. Enjoy time with family friends, church family, or your actual “I didn’t choose these people” blood relatives. And if you have parents, remember to stop by or call them out of respect for their efforts at raising you, if they indeed made the effort. Don’t be a jerk, you know? It’s not always about you! OK, OK, the hermit side is coming out. Spread the Christmas cheer! (Even if you’re in the confinements of your home.)
Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.