They say that time speeds up the older we get and, while I’m no Einstein, even I know that this is impossible. What's happening is that since the holiday season is synonymous with stress, and therefore something we try to avoid, it comes upon us sooner than we would like. This is due to the universal law that the things we don’t want to happen always happen faster than the things we want to have happen. I can simplify this with the following equation:
^#%@ happens x attempts to avoid = Wake me up after New Years
The good news for the aging crowd is that the holiday season is the one time of year our culture allows a positive spin on getting older. Families travel over the river and through the woods, not to get to a palatial mountain cabin, but to grandmother’s house. And there’s grandma in the kitchen, filling the air with the sweet smells of the season. Commercials on TV aren’t showing that grandpa has fallen and can’t get up, they show him cutting up the holiday turkey. This includes wielding a knife, that at any other time of the year he is not allowed to go near, like a Samurai warrior. Yes, this truly is a magical time of the year when being old can be a gift.
To make sure that this gift does not turn out to be the proverbial pair of socks, clay ashtrays or fruitcakes (feel free to insert whatever gifts you have to feign appreciation for) we have to drop some major hints to the, would-be, Santas in our lives.
By all means, play the gray card if you don’t feel like turning your home into a festival of lights simply because the young couples who live in your neighborhood power theirs with the wind turbines in their backyards. Refuse to open rooms in your home, that have not been cleaned since the Reagan years, to family members who, despite having spent a king’s fortune on unnecessary gifts, are saying they can’t afford to stay at the local Holiday Inn (go ahead and remind them it even has Holiday in the title).
Other helpful holiday tips include:
1. Repeatedly tell the story—even if it’s not true—about how when you were young the holidays meant sitting around a warm fire, drinking hot chocolate and simply being grateful that the plague passed the family by that year.
2. Drop, not so subtle, hints about not being sure if this will be your last holiday or not. You can push the guilt factor through the roof by placing revised copies of your will into the hanging stockings.
3. If asked to cook the holiday meal, inform everyone that you are going to go “old school” with it and they should come wearing smocks because, “Butchering the fattened calf can get messy.”
4. Play nothing but an old, scratched, vinyl record of the Lawrence Welk Orchestra’s Holiday with Alvin and the Chipmunks.
5. Play the memory game and show up at the door wearing a Hawaiian t-shirt, straw hat, and waving an American flag, saying, “Happy fourth of July!”
After surviving 50, or more, holiday seasons, why not take more pleasure in watching others hop on the holiday stress sleigh? Go ahead and fill your holiday mug with warm cider and bourbon, content in the knowledge that, after January 1st, the mass of humanity will be diligently going about trying to make it through the first week of their New Year’s resolutions.
God bless them, one and all.