Pathetic pandemic holiday hack, enumerated:
1. Be sad and unmotivated to put up your vintage silver Christmas tree, because your kids won’t be home and it might make you cry.
2. Think to yourself: maybe I should do something different this year.
3. Then think to yourself: I always thought it would be fun to have a pink Christmas tree!
4. Google “pink Christmas tree” and go to overstock.com and look at pink Christmas trees.
5. Stay there for a minute, then decide, “Nah, it’s gross to buy a plastic new pink Christmas tree.” Bail.
6. Open your laptop later, go to any website, really any website at all, and be deluged with ads for pink Christmas trees. So festive!
7. Merry Christmas! You got your pink Christmas tree, only it’s “virtual” like everything else this year.
8. You’re welcome.
This is all meant to be funny, of course, though I stand by my little hack as solid advice for anyone who, like me, is having “bah humbug” thoughts about what I have now taken to calling “COVID Christmas.”
The holiday will be different and diminished for so many of us this year who have decided to curtail travel and visits with relations and friends, and instead adhere to CDC advice and just plain common sense.
It’s rough, but there are hundreds of thousands now in the USA who are having much worse holidays, with permanently empty seats at their table. Theirs is the most terrible sacrifice. The rest of us have it easy.
Like so many other parents of adult kids, I won’t be seeing mine this year, for the first time ever.
Their decision not to come home came after weeks of back-and-forth on the phone and Zoom. I was shocked that it was all so hard to re-imagine.
My twins are in college in the Midwest and both have the same long break, from late November to the beginning of January.
They could drive, right? But what would happen if they had a tire blow out in North Dakota? Would it be too cold for them to sleep in the car? It’s too dicey to chance a roadside motel, right?
Okay, maybe they could fly. But they shouldn’t come anytime around Thanksgiving, of course. Anthony Fauci said not to do that.
Maybe if they came on Dec. 10 it would be okay. But wait, the pandemic is now even worse than it was at Thanksgiving. And how long would they have to quarantine in the garage, and then, where could they get tested at the end of that?
And then, wait, they’d have to do the whole thing in reverse in January. Two anxiety-ridden plane trips, two quarantines, multiple sets of tests. And the terrible chance that they would somehow be infected along the way.
No way. We finally decided, no way.
My brilliant husband found the perfect phrase — “it’s too much of a hassle” — to end the indecision.
It somehow made us all more comfortable to think of it that way — just as a hassle, not a life-threatening choice during a raging pandemic. Not the monumental milestone of not being together on Christmas for the first time ever since they were born. Just a hassle. Where something that was “a drag” could happen.
Of course, as the days dwindle down between now and No-Noel (my other name for Christmas now) we miss them horribly.
And unsurprisingly, they’re coping better than we are. They are holed up together in my daughter’s apartment in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where they are cooking delicious dinners every night (they text us photos).
They’ve gone out to a tree farm and chopped down a fine-looking Serbian spruce, which they have now decorated with colored lights and ephemera from the apartment — a jack-o-lantern, plastic dinosaurs and a star-man cut out of cardboard.
It could snow in Michigan. It probably will. And then they’ll have a white Christmas.
Meanwhile, our silver tinsel tree is still not up.
Maybe, if you’re reading this and just happen to have a pink tree in your garage that you wouldn’t mind loaning to me, you could drop it off at The Beachcomber.
Just an idea. I’ve always thought it would be fun to have a pink Christmas tree. But really, I’m fine. I know we made the right decision. I hope you’re fine too. May all your decisions be merry and bright.