Having Ourselves a Teeny-Tiny Christmas

By Karen

Remember last year, when I put up the big tree and decorated it with my whole cat ornament collection?

Well, fuggedaboutit in 2021. I think being incessantly nagged about “getting started on Christmas early” since before Halloween caused attitude backlash, and this is me today…

I’m not feeling the spirit at all, not even a little. This year’s tree is cat-size — with no ornaments, no lights, no garland — and the four presents under it are IT, and none are for me…

It annoyed me no end that I actually had to wrap one, but I was able to get the other three into bags and throw some tissue paper on top. Done.

I dipped into my boxes of house decorations just enough to fish out bows for the banister…

And stockings on the fireplace, which Max is inspecting…

Santa Kitty, being a highly efficient feline, has already stopped by to avoid being rushed on Christmas Eve. When I peeked in my stocking, this is what I found…

Who on Earth wants fucking soybeans for Christmas? But I gave up years ago on wishing for magical gifts and someone special to celebrate with, so why not soybeans? It could have been kitty litter.

I haven’t listened to Christmas carols because the ones that aren’t monotonous are mostly sad. I haven’t watched any Christmas TV specials or Hallmark Christmas rom-coms. I don’t need my nose rubbed in the fact that Christmas is for couples, especially couples with kids.

(Maybe the cats and I will watch Love, Actually on Christmas Eve, since it will be just us. The family, who traditionally came over for Christmas Eve dinner, is doing lunch instead, so no driving after dark.)

Even though I cut my Christmas card list to the bone last year, I’ve sent none.

On the other hand, I’ve only received three. Apparently Trump’s incompetent postmaster general puppet who still festers in the USPS has succeeded in killing “DeJoy” in the card tradition by making postage pricey and delivery iffy.

When I venture out to buy groceries and cat supplies, the parking lots are packed and stores infested with maskless disease-spreaders rummaging among whatever shelves aren’t bare for whatever marked-up, unwanted, unneeded crap they can buy for “loved ones” they otherwise don’t mind killing with COVID denial.

I’ll confess there was a nanosecond I wanted to resuscitate my spirit by switching things up with a white Christmas tree. So, I went to At Home, which is normally Christmas Mecca with trees and trimmings in every color you can imagine.

I found what looked like last-year’s unsold leftovers laid out in heaps, and whole aisles in the Christmas section empty. It was so depressing, I walked out empty-handed and that was that.

The cats are rolling with our minimalist approach and have knocked the tree over only twice. Even though I’m not feeling it, on Christmas morning, don’t worry, they’ll have plenty of toys, catnip, treats and, of course, our annual showing of Video Catnip

Hope your holidays are going better.

24 Responses to Having Ourselves a Teeny-Tiny Christmas

  1. Donna says:

    Karen,I don’t even care enough to hate Christmas this year. I’ve secretly hated it all of my adult life,but this year feels extra idiotic. Mind you,I love the winter celebration,with candles and greenery. I love the dark,the cold,the quiet. But nooo,Mother Nature won’t turn down the thermostat. I’m roasting in my city condo with indoor temperatures 80+ Falalalafuckthis. If it were possible,I would go to Stonehenge for Solstice. That would feel meaningful,plus there wouldn’t be any of those moronic Christmas songs
    I’m working Christmas Day,then doing laundry. My Christmas gift from the Universe will be an empty laundry room
    Happy Merriness to you and the Cats. Thank you for your wonderful insightful and hysterically funny posts. May 2022 be…..never mind

  2. feijicha says:

    Christmas has been mostly a dud here also. I actually started thinking about it earlier than usual and managed to get a few things done. We put up our outside lights, mostly. I thought about Christmas cards, and did manage to get out the business ones but haven’t gotten back to friends and family…. and like you, the number I’ve received this year is woefully small, so it feels like everybody else on my list got the bah-humbugs as well. I was in an online meeting where someone mentioned the “getting bombarded xmas music” thing. And I realized I haven’t heard or been listening to ANY. I think because I’m not in the car going anywhere or commuting. I have since put on the xmas playlist on my iPod, but mostly just the Guaraldi Charlie Brown soundtrack. We put up our fake tree instead of a real one and went kinda minimal on decorations too. We made a half-hearted tour of the community to look at people’s lights and decorations. Some people really put in the effort and I feel like it’s nice to notice. Normally we play xmas music and have travel mugs of cocoa when we do this but this year not so much. Got boosted with Moderna a little over a week ago. It kicked my butt for like 36 hours and then lingering fatigue for a few more days… def packed more punch than the lame J&J I got in spring. Feeling very glad I got boosted now that omicron is everywhere.

  3. catsworking says:

    Donna, I once took a cruise around December 16 thinking I could escape Christmas in the Caribbean. It was even WORSE. The ship had fully decorated trees every 10 feet along the main deck, the island, although sweltering, were all decorated and playing Christmas carols. It was a nightmare. Then I got home in the nick of time to go through all the usual motions.

    This morning I noticed that my two holly trees have barely put out any red berries because the weather has been so fucked up, I guess. Yes, I do like winter, too. The gray days, the bare trees. I’ve got a candle burning on the coffee table right now.

    Hope you get yourself something great for your dinner Saturday. In a pinch, chocolate cake always works for me. And thanks for your kind words about the blog.

  4. catsworking says:

    feijicha, I got my booster in late October. Pfizer, after the J&J back in March, which the media is practically saying was no inoculation at all. The day after the booster, my arm was sore and I ran a fever of 101 and felt like shit all day, but after a good night’s sleep, I was OK the next day. At this point, who knows how safe any of us are? I wear a mask everywhere, no exceptions.

    I’m glad to hear from you and Donna that you’re not feeling the spirit, either. I did put a little five-candle light in the kitchen picture window, but that’s because it’s the only window with a plug nearby. Whoever designed this place gave zero thought to the electrical. I’ve got two power strips and cords ALL OVER the living room floor so I can charge my various devices.

    Some homes around here went all out with the outdoor decorations. My neighbors on both sides have a lot of lights up. And in a nearby subdivision, it’s like there’s an inflatable competition to cram the most into their tiny front yards. The lights are beautiful, but I’m meh on the inflatables.

  5. feijicha says:

    My fever peaked at 103 and hung at 102 for the better part of 24 hours. It was the middle of the night and I thought, well, I’m gonna have to ride it out and see what morning brings, and even then i’d have to haul myself up and out to get any sort of medical attention which was the last thing I felt up for. Luckily it broke, hovered around 100-101 the next 8 hrs or so then went away. Indeed the media coverage of J&J does make you wonder if it did anything at all. I did fly once before the vaccine, loaded up on N95s. We traveled to Canada a couple months ago, needed a negative test here within 72hrs of crossing the border, then as luck would have it got selected for “random” testing AT the border on the Canadian side. We’re lucky I suppose that we live in a community that takes vaccines seriously. I saw that the previous moron said he got vaxxed (and boosted) along with his old crony from fox and they got booed.

  6. catsworking says:

    feijicha, Wow! You had a bad reaction to the booster. I just walked around feeling tired and “off” all day, then finally took my temp at dinnertime and it was 101. After getting the J&J initial vax, I had a sore arm, but that was it.

    Virginia turned from blue to red in November, so I don’t expect the new governor will be lifting a finger to do anything about COVID. The outgoing Democratic governor just ordered the still-standing pedestal of the Robert E. Lee statue dismantled, probably in case the new guy gets any bright ideas about putting the status back up to play to the MAGA crowd.

    I saw the clip of Mango Mussolini and Bill O’Reilly getting booed at saying they got the booster. Hypocrites.

  7. Bonnie C. says:

    Ditto here for “not feeling the spirit”. We’ve been behind before, but I think this year takes the cake.

    Tree is still outside leaning up against the house, & the only “decorating” has been a wreath by the door & 2 wreaths hanging on the fenceposts on either side of the bottom of our driveway. We haven’t even done our usual run to the food bank with hams, all the trimmings, other Xmas goodies + a fat check. Were going to do that this morning, but two months we adopted a puppy from a rescue, & due to meds yesterday she has the “runs” this morning, so don’t want to leave her in a crate while we’re gone. So the food bank will have to wait until tomorrow.

    And we haven’t yet procured our traditional Xmas goose for Xmas dinner, & if we don’t find one tomorrow, I fear that for the first time in more than 20 years, we’ll be having duck instead (assuming we can find one of those).

    The only thing I’ve accomplished is getting all my Xmas shopping done – but that’s only because it consists of just my husband & a couple of close friends. And wrapping? Ha! Ha!

    And I agree about all the increase in masklessness. It seems like with the increase in cases there’s been a decrease in mask-wearing. Even those vaccinated & boostered (which we are) need to understand that this does NOT mean they can’t catch & spread Covid. It just means they won’t (hopefully) get it severely enough to end up in the hospital or dying.

    My days lately have been filled with just one big depressing sigh after another.

  8. catsworking says:

    Bonnie, so it sounds like we have our own little Cats Working epidemic of the Christmas Bah Humbugs. Believe it or not, it makes me feel better. 🙂

    I’m having the family over for Christmas Eve lunch and I’ve been wavering over what to serve: pizza, sandwiches, or Chinese (pizza and Chinese are takeout; I’d make the sandwiches)

    Today I’m leaning toward pizza because I think they will deliver at lunchtime. But I have to go to the grocery store for some drinks and dessert and I’m dreading it. I know it will be packed with a lot of bare-faced maskholes.

    The week is all screwed up because I’m working, AND I’ve got a guy patching the pecker hole and it’s a 2-day job. (I’ve got a post in mind about what’s been eating the house. Literally. It’s been an interesting few weeks.)

    AND housework to get the house presentable for other humans. All I want for Christmas is a nap.

  9. Bonnie C. says:

    Actually, since I “traditionally” make a bit Christmas Day Roast Goose dinner – even though it’s just hubby & me – our traditional Christmas Eve meal is a “Seafood Pizza” as a sort of nod to the “Feast of the Seven Fishes”. One of the little local Italian restaurants around here does a really nice one topped with shrimp, calamari, clams, etc. It’s the one thing I’m actually looking forward to.

  10. catsworking says:

    Bobbie, that seafood pizza sounds divine! Now you’ve got me craving seafood. Hmmm… I do have some shrimp in the freezer. Maybe tonight’s dinner.

    I think everybody would like that pizza but my mother, who is barely eating anymore. She lost her sense of smell well before COVID, and probably can’t taste, although she refuses to admit it. So I’ll get her a small cheese pizza, then a large one with everything (pepperoni, sausage, onions, mushrooms, peppers) for the rest of us. I like my pizza loaded.

    Can’t say that I’m into goose or duck. I was once served some very bloody near-raw duck that was supposed to be “a la Escoffier” that turned me off duck forever. And I can’t stay in the room when somebody on TV is using a duck press. Goose, I have zero experience with.

    I also freak out over Cornish game hens. I think I have a poultry phobia.

  11. Bonnie C. says:

    Well, husband doesn’t eat mammals, so we’re a strictly, veg., seafood, & poultry house.

    I don’t care for very rare duck – particularly whole – but I do like my sliced duck breast medium-rare. Goose is never served rare that I know of, but if you don’t care for duck, you wouldn’t care for goose. We’ll be going out on our great goose hunt tomorrow, & are hoping some supermarket still has one in stock. Our local market had a bunch of them right after Xmas & then again in July – ??? – who the heck roasts a goose after Xmas or in July?? Anyway, we’ll hope for the best. If we can’t find one, duck it will have to be, & we’ll just pretend it’s a small goose.

    I will regret not having those goose leftovers though, as I use every smidgen of that pricey bird – roast goose dinner, encore roast goose dinner, my New Year’s Day French Cassoulet, any remaining shreds for stirfry, & then the carcass gets cut up & into my largest pot for goose stock. And let’s not forget the rendered goose fat!!! It’s pure liquid gold that I keep in the freezer for roasting vegetables – particularly potatoes, & other things.

  12. catsworking says:

    Bonnie, I eat chicken or turkey at least 3X a week in one form or another. Also fish and whatever shellfish I can get. The occasional pork ribs or chops. Beef, pretty much never unless I order Chinese takeout. And pasta and rice. My mother is making a beef tenderloin for Christmas dinner.

    I did buy a whole chicken last week because it was just easy. Roc and Tony LOVE fresh roasted chicken. I hate dealing with the skin and bones afterward. I can’t stand to touch raw chicken with the skin on. It creeps me out.

    But it does sound like you really know your way around a goose. Your husband eats very well!

  13. Bonnie C. says:

    Whole roast chicken is definitely one of our favorite meals as well. I have a large 8.5-quart air fryer & a 3-5 pound whole chicken fits in there easily & produces the moistest crispiest-skinned bird you can imagine. If there’s a sale & come home with one of those roaster chickens that’s larger than that, I just do it in the oven in a sizzling-hot cast-iron pan – sometimes on a bed of potatoes. Makes several meals for us, as well as the usual several quarts of stock for soup from the carcass.

  14. feijicha says:

    That sounds like an awful lot of meals out of a goose!! Just my husband and I are lucky to get 2 good meals out of a 5-ish pound roast turkey.Then it goes in the pot for soup/stock.

  15. feijicha says:

    Oops, I meant to say roast chicken above, not roast turkey. I’d be lucky to find such a small turkey!!

  16. Bonnie C. says:

    “That sounds like an awful lot of meals out of a goose!!”

    Not really. The geese we buy weigh between 10-12 pounds.

  17. GlamourMilk says:

    Merry Christmas.
    It ranks as one of the two most ‘unusual’ ones (the other one was last year) that I ever experienced.
    It might even be a bit worse than last year, because I feel there’s less hope now than 365 days ago.
    That said, I expect a reasonably nice weekend ahead and I certainly wish you a good Christmas-weekend 🙂

  18. catsworking says:

    GlamourMilk, thank you. Merry Christmas to you and yours as well. We will be celebrating Christmas here tomorrow on Boxing Day because I’m expected at my parents’ in just a little while. Roc and Tony already have wind of one of their gifts because I had to charge it, but I want to try to get some video of them interacting with it; hence, the postponement.

    I did get through my Christmas Eve luncheon pretty well yesterday, although I have to rearrange the whole house whenever people are coming over to remove all the cat accommodations I’m used to.

    I only have four proper chairs to go around the table, so I added a little stool because we needed a fifth, and promptly fell off it and hit my head on the fridge when we were sitting down to eat. But I must have gone down well because I’ve got no aftereffects. My ballroom dance teacher once told me I was good at taking pratfalls. I guess it’s like riding a bike; you never forget!

  19. Anita says:

    Merry Christmas Karen and Kitties!

    I’m so sorry to be so out of touch. The Covid I had in April knocked my brain out. I’ve only felt a bit more “normal” the past few weeks. It’s still not completely back to normal. Typing seems to be a struggle which is so weird for me because I can type about 200 WPM.

    We did a big Xmas celebration Dec 12 with my stepson, wife and their grandchild born 5/21. You have no clue how hard that was to do being brain dead and two weeks early. I feel like a whole week was taken out of my December early with all the hoopla around that.

    I had a best friend die 10 years ago on December 19 from breast cancer and that was the worst Christmas ever. I hated every Christmas song that came on everywhere. I’m over that now, but Joni Mitchell’s “River” song sums up how I felt that year. If you need to cry at Christmas, that’s the song to do it with.

    Happy Boxing Day to you and your family tomorrow! I’d love to be in London for Christmas. Maybe that is something cherry to think about for the New Year.

  20. catsworking says:

    ANITA!!! WELCOME BACK!!!! I’ve been wondering/worrying about you. So sorry to hear it’s been the COVID. Holy shit. Hope you are finally on the mend. Have you been boosted? (I’m thinking yes.)

    Christmas brings up a lot of crap for so many people. My beef is that I’ve always been alone, no matter who the man du jour was. I’m just happy we are in the home stretch of all this holiday garbage. I had the family over for Christmas Eve luncheon, and then we were at my parents’ for Christmas luncheon. New Year’s is a big nothingburger for me.

    Now that all the human festivities are out of the way, the cats and I are celebrating Boxing Day tomorrow, just them and me. They have had a hint of what’s in their stockings, but they’re being very patient about it.

    I’m about to pop “Love, Actually” into the DVD player for my Christmas night movie-watching, and Joni Mitchell figures in there.

    I’ve love to be in London myself right now, or any time of year, for that matter.

    Take care and stay in touch!

  21. Anita says:

    Happy Boxing Day Dear Karen and Kitties!
    Yes it’s been a wild and crazy six months. Mostly hell breaking loose on a monthly basis.

    Lost a dear friend to a brain aneurysm at the end of September. At least she was on a wine tasting trip having fun but what a shock for everyone. It was devestating.

    We had an outdoor memorial for her at the end of October and 90 people were there, all vaxxed, and no one got sick. That was before Omicron of course.

    Yes I did get boosted in early October and had my antibody levels tested before and after. Figured since I had Covid in April (and two vax shots) I should still have some. The before was 200 and the after booster shot was over 800. They didn’t give me the actual number. I guess only the Pharma companies and labs get to see that.

    I have been reading all of your posts though, just didn’t have the energy to respond. I do feel better. Although I now have these horrible body ache/pains I never had before. I read something about “Reactive Arthritis” that once you have a bad virus or infection it takes about a year to clear up. Either that or I have bone cancer. That’s just a joke, but it is fairly painful. When people complain about arthritis I now get it.

    And so sorry about Virginia going Red. I’m actually very concerned about 2022 and 2024. Would love your thoughts on Kamala. I just don’t know if Joe will have the ability to run. Even I’m a little worried about him.

    Anyway, we don’t have to start these conversation for another week! Let’s enjoy (?) what’s left of 2021 because 2022 could be worse. Or worst. Both probably apply.

  22. catsworking says:

    Anita, so sorry to hear about your friend. Every time I get a headache or a sharp pain in my temple, I worry about aneurysms.

    I’ve never had any antibody tests. In fact, I never even see them mentioned anywhere. But good to hear that you had such dramatically positive results from your booster.

    This year, at least 5 months after getting the J&J shot, I broke out in all these crazy rashes, which the dermatologist has yet to provide a reliable diagnosis or practical usable treatment for, but he’s another story. They flared up again pretty bad some weeks after the booster, and I’m wondering if there’s any connection. The symptoms and side effects of all this are so freaking mysterious and far-reaching, who knows?

    I took 4 days off work for Christmas and tried not to think about anything, and the rash cleared up 95%. I had asked the dr. if it might be stress-related, and he said no, couldn’t be. Fucking asshole.

    Besides the skin problems, I have GERD that won’t quit. I can and do get heartburn from a sip of water. I’ve had a hiatal hernia for years, and now it seems to be erupting like a volcano suddenly come to life. I think it’s probably more to do with regaining most of the weight I lost than anything COVID-related.

    I’ve been deliberately avoiding politics lately for my own sanity, although I do know what’s going on and I will get back to it. For now I’ll just say that I am freaking furious at Democrats, both on the state and national level.

    But I’m trying to take it easy and not let my blood pressure spurt out my ears this last week of the year.

  23. MorganLF says:

    As usual I’m late here…Donna I’m coming clean, cause you did as an adult I have loathed Christmas. This year sucked worse than usual…rona …family, I’m starting to wonder if I’m depressed, or just fucking annoyed

  24. catsworking says:

    Morgan, I’ve also wondered if I’ve been depressed. I don’t think a doctor would say yes. What we’re having is a normal reaction when life sucks in so many ways beyond all reason and we see no end in sight because we’re dealing with a faction beyond our control who LIKE it this way and perpetuate it.

    I think it’s the ones who hurtled through Christmas like demented grinning nutcrackers, shopping, baking, decorating, entertaining, spending too much, etc. who may have mental health problems.

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