All That Glitters

I haven’t done a lot for Christmas in recent years. When I was caring for my father, I made sure to make the day festive for him — decorating his small tree (which I inherited), making a requested meal (usually ham and potato salad), and getting token gifts. After he was gone, I did very little for Christmas, though I did exchange a couple of presents.

Since I’ve always saved wrappings and ribbons, I never had to purchase either. This year, however, I decided to go all out for Christmas — after all, it is the first Christmas/holiday season in my own home in my very own house. I’d used all the ribbons I had for hat decorations, and I had gotten rid of any paper when I condensed the stuff in my storage unit at the beginning of last year, so I needed to buy wrapping things.

The wrapping paper was cheap and pretty, and though I prefer blank undersides (to make gift cards and such), I had to admit the cutting lines made things easier. But oh, what a shock to find, at the end of the roll of wrapping paper not a cardboard tube (which I had plans for!) but simply rolled up brown paper. I did manage to roll that heavy brown paper tight enough to make an okay tube for what I needed (to store leftover window screening). But jeez. What’s the fun of buying rolls of wrapping paper if you don’t get a long tube with it?

And the ribbons. Oh, my. The upside: so glittery. The downside: so glittery.

When I finished wrapping my packages last night, I noticed that glitter was everywhere. I was covered with glitter. The floor was covered with glitter. The countertops and table were covered with glitter.

I dry mopped, thinking that the trap-and-lock cloths would easily pick up all the glitter. Nope. Some, sure, but not even most. Then I tried vacuuming. Again, nope. Those little suckers stuck to the floor and wouldn’t budge. Then I wet mopped — twice — which got up most of the remaining glitter, but now, when the lights are on, I can see glitter between the floorboards. My floor is the original antique flooring that has never been refinished, and some of the boards have shrunk a bit in this dry climate, leaving space for glitter to settle. I have a hunch I’ll be cleaning up glitter until next Christmas.

I was already tired from a full day of festivities at a Christmas event put on by both the museum folks and the art guild. (Here’s some of us art guild members all decked out in holiday gear.)

All that cleaning took me way past my bedtime (and I am not an early-to-bed-early-to-rise person) and wiped me out.

I try to end every blog post with some sort of hook or moral or lesson gleaned from the experience I’d written about — because otherwise, what’s the point — but the only thing I can think of to end this post is a note to myself: No matter how enticingly glittery the glittery things are, next year, be sure to buy plain old non-glittery ribbon and paper.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Ornaments!

Next week I am supposed to bring a Christmas ornament to a party and tell the story of the ornament and why it’s special to me. It’s not really my thing, maybe because my grade school never had show and tell, so I hadn’t planned on doing it. Now I can’t. Too many to choose from!

Today I got a gift from my sister (who definitely sends the best presents ever) with instructions to open it right away. Inside the box were five small prettily wrapped gifts — Christmas ornaments for my first tree and my first Christmas in my first house.

Each ornament illustrated a facet of my life.

A nod to my new house, of course.

Books, definitely.

My car, naturally.

A dragon because we all need a dragon to guard and protect.

And . . . Pat in the Hat. (Front and back)

I’m not sure I ever mentioned how I became Pat in the Hat. I’ve always been a big walker, but it wasn’t until my middle years that I wised up and started to wear a hat to protect me from the sun. Back then, the hats I wore weren’t anything special — ball caps or straw hats, anything cheap and accessible.

Later, when I lived with my father, my sister would send the two of us ornately wrapped gifts with gorgeous bows. My father tore off the wrappings, and tossed them away, but I rescued the bows. They were simply too nice to throw away. I didn’t really have any use for those ribbons, but one day, when I came in from a walk, I tossed my hat on table where I’d put the most recent offering, and something clicked. I wrapped the ribbon around the hat, and was thrilled with the festivity of it all.

Not too long afterward, I noticed that the ribbon was gone, and it devastated me that I couldn’t find it. This was shortly after Jeff had died, when any loss, no matter how insignificant, set me on a downward spiral of grief. Although I retraced my steps several times, I never found that bow. Luckily, I had another one packed away. This time, I made sure to tack my makeshift hatband to the hat to keep from losing another ribbon. I still have a stash of ribbons from my sister, as well as a few things I bought to decorate whatever hat I happened to have.

Now, delightfully, not only is she providing decorations for my hat, but also my tree — my dad’s tree, actually, and come to think of it, my sister bought it for him.

For a person who isn’t that fond of show and tell, I sure do a lot of here! Maybe that’s why I don’t need to do it in person.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.