I’ll wait until October….

(Scrooge played by Alistair Sim and the Ghost of Christmas past play by Michael Dolan / 1951)

For all intense purposes…the calendar date reads December 6th—well past October.
But this was my lament and statement back in say, June…

“I’ll wait until October”

Let’s back up a tad…

At the end of spring and the start of summer, we had finally decided to “makeover” two
of the three bedrooms upstairs that were long in need of redoing.

The third room that was already up to speed, is our guest bedroom.
A room that we had lovingly dubbed “Martha’s room”
as it was where my aunt would stay when she’d come to visit.

Of the other two rooms–one had been out son’s room.
A room he vacated, for all intent purposes, in say…2007…upon high school

He occasionally returned throughout college for a few extended stints
before heading off to a fraternity house and later various apartments…and blessedly
basically forever upon graduation.

He is now married for almost 6 years, with two kids…
I think we were safe and in the clear for changing out the room.

However, that’s not to say that the door doesn’t always remain open should a need ever arise…
but it’s just that the content is now drastically and delightfully altered
as the room has been brought up to speed.

The other room had been pretty much a catch-all for things such as a
weight machine (something our son never seemed to think much of in order
to take it with him when he finally moved out–sigh),
along with boxes and boxes of files that had been dad’s world, of which I inherited
when he was no longer able to care for himself.

So my husband and I discarded, sorted, thrashed, regrouped all the stuff that was to
stay and all the stuff that was to go, turning that last room into a lovely home office of sorts.

However, it now irks my husband to no end that I went to a great deal of trouble,
not to mention expense, decorating and arranging with some wonderful old pieces
I’d found, just to simply continue using the kitchen table for my “workspace.”

He, on the other hand, uses the office religiously.

When he retired, he was accustomed to having had an office.
A place where he kept his files, bills, notices and where he sat down
to pay bills and do paperwork.

On the other hand, as a teacher, I was used to simply grabbing space at a clean table.
Hence, my affinity for the kitchen table.
I also like the wall of windows in the kitchen which provides ample light.
Much like my classroom use to provide.

I did have an “office” but “the office” consisted of a computer table with the bulk of the
room being, more or less, storage space and where we housed the kiln.
I, therefore, preferred the open space of the classroom.

For a while, following dad’s slow demise, my home “workspace” was moved to the dining room
table as the papers and boxes were growing exponentially and the kitchen was simply not the place.
Following dad’s death and the gutting of the two rooms, I moved dad and my
“stuff” to the new office.

Since the closets in those two made-over rooms were now basically gutted,
I thought I would store a few of my more cherished and ancient family Christmas ornament
boxes in the two vacated closets.

“Get them out of the attic,” I told myself.
The summer heat, in a house’s attic in Georgia, is deathly.
The winter is equally as harsh.
Not the place to store things of “treasure” but sometimes
that’s all one has.

The boxes contained much loved and long passed down ornaments.
With each ornament telling a story.

One box contained the porcelain Christmas angels and tiny nutcrackers I’d been
collecting since I was in high school.
Gifts along with those offered by long-gone family members.
Boxes that always quickened my heart each Christmas when I brought
them out to the tree.

I thought the move out of the attic would help their survival.


Do we call that the best-laid plans…????

Almost as soon as I moved the boxes to the closet, I placed one on a shelf
in order to come back when I’d next move in a few more, allowing for me to
rearrange my sorting.

Suddenly, there was a loud crash.


Before even looking, I knew.

Sure enough, the porcelain angel box was on its side as pieces of angels were
strewn across a closet floor.

I opted to play Scarlett–for tomorrow would be another day…

(Scarlett following Rhett’s departure / Gone With The Wind / 1939)

I uprighted the box, scooped up all the pieces, dumping them back in the box,
all willy nilly, and closed the top…
I stopped long enough to announce aloud to no one but myself,
I’ll worry about this little disaster in October.

The small disaster was more than I could deal with or bear that day.
Or seemingly any day thereafter.
I dreaded what I would find and I dreaded the meticulous gluing that would ensue.

Well as time past, I kept reminding myself about October.

July came and went.
August came and went.
September came and went.
October…came and went.
November came and went.
December is here.

I have decided there will be no tree this year.
The first treeless Christmas in 60 years of my life.

Nor is the manger scene box unpacked or moved from the closet.

It’s not so much over the broken bits and pieces of my Christmases past but
really because the kids won’t be able to come home before
Christmas comes and goes as both work and other demands of time will keep them away.

The plan is that we will go up on Christmas Eve to spend the night.
And I’ll go up in about a week to get the kids and help out at home.

The tree is a pain to haul up from the basement–it’s large and cumbersome.
The decorating requires various ladders.
Not to mention the hauling of the ornament boxes down from upstairs.

The fluffing of the tree, the sorting, and unpacking of the ornaments—
only to turn around and pack it all right back up.

A friend of my husband’s had offered to help him haul up the tree but I told him
not to worry.

“I don’t think we’ll put up the tree this year.”
“But why?” he implored.
“Because no one will be coming home, it’ll be just us.”
“Well, the two of you can enjoy it”
“Well, it’s an awful lot of work for just two people to stare at.”

Maybe it’s the melancholy of the season.
Maybe it’s the fact that the house will be quiet.
Maybe it’s the fact that we’re both a little older.
Maybe it’s the lunacy griping our Nation.
The country is being railroaded and no one seems able to stop the madness.
Maybe I’m simply tired.

The jury is still out, but I’m pretty certain there will be no tree…

One day, some cold rainy day, I’ll pull out that box of
debris and start gluing things back together…

But for now…I did at least manage to get the lights and decorations up outside…
so no one passing by the house is any the wiser that on the inside,
only the stockings are hung by the chimney with care.

Oh and by the way, my son stole the stockings I had made for his little crew…
they’ve been spirited off to Atlanta only to hang on the same mantle
my stocking once hung…
So the stockings I’ve hung are quite the hodgepodge.

maybe Ebenezer was right, “wouldn’t it be better if I just
went home to bed?”

(Alistair Sim

Ebenezer : [to the Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come]
I am standing in the presence of the Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come?
And you’re going to show me the shadows of things that have not yet happened but will happen?
Spirit of the Future, I fear you more than any spectre I have met tonight! But even in my fear,
I must say that I am too old! I cannot change! I cannot! It’s not that I’m inpenitent,
it’s just… Wouldn’t it be better if I just went home to bed?

“Our freedom always has this marvelous power to make what is taken from us—by life,
events, or other people—into something offered. Externally there is no visible difference,
but internally everything is transfigured: fate into free choice, constraint into love,
loss into fruitfulness. Human freedom is of absolutely unheard-of greatness.
It does not confer the power to change everything,
but it does empower us to give a meaning to everything, even meaningless things;
and that is much better. We are not always masters of the unfolding of our lives,
but we can always be masters of the meaning we give them.
Our freedom can transform any event in our lives into an expression of love,
abandonment, trust, hope, and offering.”

Fr. Jacques Philippe, p. 58
An Excerpt From
Interior Freedom

20 comments on “I’ll wait until October….

  1. hatrack4 says:

    No tree for us either. We are going to Tennessee to help out and deliver my wife to be babysitter for our daughter-in-law’s next semester in school, hopefully with our son back at work. He is in the hospital, and may stay until Wednesday of next week, but he is finally thinking clearly, having his meds changed yesterday.

    Has James gone to the surgeon for his final check up?

    • Well I’ve raced to Atlanta as they called earlier this morning telling me the Mayor was throwing up uncontrollably so they rushed her to the ER at Scottish rite— I think it’s just a bug and they’ve given her meds and a popsicle which is holding thus far— I’m sorry about your son— when it rains it pours Mark—-

      • hatrack4 says:

        Thanks, I’ll pray for the mayor too.

      • Thank you Mark…it’s always something when they are little—but you’re realizing it matters not their age—when our kids get sick, we, as parents, are there—prayers for you and your family as well!!!!
        and I forgot to ask Abby when she’s suppose to take James back—knowing Abby she let the date pass by…

  2. Dawn Marie says:

    I thought we too would not have a tree this year as I was in a terrible auto-accident (perhaps more on that later) and am not physically capable to do so. I figured by the time I would be well enough there’d be such little time to enjoy it before the Season was over; there would be no sense in putting one up. HOWEVER, several earthly angels showed up on my door-step just the other day to decorate not only our home but our tree!! One by one they hauled up the storage tubs, waved their magic wands and I am now surrounded by the magic their generosity spun together. I am so grateful!! Grateful to be alive. Grateful to be home. Grateful for such loving friends & family. And grateful for my Christmas tree. I’m sending you thoughts of a table-top tree…if I were nearby I’d deliver it to you myself! I envision tiny slips of accordion folded paper dangling from it’s branches or maybe even a miniature paper-chain – each one cataloguing a written down gratitude of your own. Happy thoughts and warm hugs to you Julie for allowing me to share my own gratitude through your post. ❤️

    • Oh WOW— I knew something was wrong— I felt it in my bones!!!
      Yes tell me — jcook13@bellsouth.net — are you ok???
      I have decorated the mantle and the dining room and kitchen as well as copious outdoor lighting so not a total Scrooge— I even thought maybe I’d decorate a tree today but they called early this morning telling me the Mayor was vomiting uncontrollably and they took her to the ER at Scottish rite so I jumped in the car and raced over( racing to Atlanta on a Friday morning in December-HA!!)— I think it’s a bug and they’ve given her meds so yes, what was I saying about best laid plans???

  3. Wyldkat says:

    The last proper Christmas tree I had was in 1998.

    Mom died in early 99 and by December Dad was in Tennessee getting married, and I was in my apartment. Instead of a tree I put my Nativity set on a table in front of the window and then placed the few packaged I had under the table.

    I left Ohio in ’02 to live with my sister. There simply isn’t enough room for a “proper” tree in the townhouse, so we went with a small ceramic tree and the Nativity set.

    Over the years we’ve done less and less decorating. The ceramic tree is old, and I am afraid it will get broken, so I stopped putting it up. The cats kept knocking over the Nativity, so we downsized it then it also stopped. I don’t remember when we stopped putting up the little lights outside.

    All of our decorations are stored off-site, so getting to them is a chore – no one wants to drive to the storage unit and dig through the boxes to get to the back and pull out the decorations. This year was the first time in almost a decade that I have suggested getting something out. I told my sister that if we could make a space, I’d go get Mom’s ceramic tree and bring it home – may not get plugged in but it would be out. Of course the half-grown kitten is a concern, but if I put it in the middle of the table it should be safe. (I hope) Or maybe I’ll just shrug it off. Christmas really hasn’t been the same since ’98.

  4. Salvageable says:

    We still have the artificial tree and ornaments that survived our Cinco de Mayo fire in 2017. I will definitely be putting it up again this month. But not this weekend. I expect to do some decorating tomorrow, but the tree can wait another week. J.

  5. atimetoshare.me says:

    We went through this a couple years ago. No one comes to our house for Christmas anymore. It’s even getting hard to decorate the house. That’s why our son & his fiancée and our youngest daughter & her family are coming over Sunday after church. My son lives on the other side of town. When he came to get Paul for their annual hunt, he noticed how my long illness kept me from doing a lot of household chores. He offered to clean for us this weekend. Our daughter will be celebrating her birthday in the 12th so we suggested they all come over to have fun. I told him we could use help decorating more than anything. I plan to divvy up some of our treasured ornaments because i know the girls will appreciate them. So we get to do a little pre-Christmas celebrating without the hard work of cleaning. I bought a tiny tree and have my Charlie Brown Christmas tree so we are set. Change is good!

  6. Tricia says:

    I’ll have a tree up this weekend, fresh from the Home Depot lot. I can understand the reasoning behind those that don’t or who use artificial ones. Sounds like it just wasn’t in the cards for you this year Julie. There’ll be plenty more chances.

    I love watching old Scrooge movies this time of year. Nothing like the classic Alistair Sim version, but I do so enjoy Bill Murray’s Scrooged too. Classic in its own way!

    • We use to always have a HD tree when our son was little but about two years ago, we got an artificial tree. I vowed I would never do such, but my husband was insistant as the dead needles at the end of the holdiday was a nightmare…so I gave in and I admit, with the lights already attached, I rather like it.

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