‘Tis the season to be exhausted

December 10, 2017

Now that you are retired, you get to truly relax and enjoy the holidays, right?

My friend Diane said she had to bake eight dozen cookies for a charity bake sale, and she was behind in her decorating. Had to? Something is haywire here.

The idea of feeding so much company is daunting, but it feels like "I have to." But I really can't blame anyone but myself for failing to simply enjoy the holidays. I'm sending my husband to Costco to stretch my retirement dollars when he points out rationally that there is no shortage of grocery stores and take-out places nearby which can solve our culinary needs. Our fresh Thanksgiving turkey from Lloyd's Market in Lewes was one of the best we have ever eaten.

One of my relatives always volunteers to bring the diet soda. So I say, "Could you please bring a potato dish to go with the ham?"

"OK," she says. "How about potatoes au gratin?"

"Aren't they made with real cream and lots of parmesan cheese?"

"Sure, but's it's the holidays, right?"

"My daughter is vegan and doesn't eat a lot of cheese. How about if you bring a vegetable?"

"OK. I'll bring the green bean casserole with canned mushroom soup and those fried onion rings on top."

Heavy sigh. Clenched fists. "I think diet soda will be fine."

The real problem is that I want the food to be fresh and local like it was all summer long at our farmers markets.

Guess what? You can order fresh food from our local vendors online through Hattie's Garden – and they deliver! Fresh turnips, fennel, ginger, sweet potatoes, grass-fed meats, cheeses, eggs – you name it! Order before Wednesday at noon for either pickup or delivery the following Saturday. Check out and subscribe to her newsletter.

If delegating is not your strong point, look to see what you can take off your list. My son and his family are not arriving until the 26th. No stocking stuffers for you folks this year!

When I was a child, my parents put a fat orange in the toe, threw in some whole mixed nuts and a book of LifeSavers, and stuck a candy cane in the top. My problem again is my inability to keep it simple.

My spare bedroom looks like it was paid a visit by The Cat in the Hat's Thing 1 and Thing 2. Piles. Bags. Ornaments. Wrapping paper rolls and a box stuffed with ribbons. Oh, no! No tags?

My Helpful Husband writes the names directly on the package.

"You can't do that! You must have a gift tag! Here, use the gold sharpie which shows up well on the forest green card."

Where is there a box bigger than a coffee mug? My kingdom for some shirt boxes, please!

I recall a friend giving me advice about retirement – you can do anything you want to do!

And you can overdo everything, too.

Last night, I took a walk just before sunset and noted the pink sky against the dark silhouette of the trees. The branches looked serene. Take stock of what matters most, dear friends. Your health. Happy Holidays to all of you, and to all a good night's sleep.