Ten Days to Go

Or should that be ‘to run’? You decide.

A short story. I think.

How many are preparing for the big day? How many, like this household, dread the next ten days? Most rattle the purse when considering budget and what remains to be procured. Will it be the meat sacrificed to include the seafood? Or will it be a reduction in the overall plates? More vegetables, not as many that contain the expensive items, the ham, the turkey, the duck and chickens. Or will it be removal of the disgustingly sickly fruit puddings, the big containers of baked cheesecakes and trifles? Maybe the table will have more cupcakes with season’s decorations. Cheaper, faster, easier. Is there enough for those? Add a few rolled oats to the flour for the little cakes.

Ten days remain. Decisions need to be made. Unless not making a decision took many things off the table already. Is it too late to order turkey? Good. A chicken or two will do, and a nice tasty stuffing that does double duty as fried bits of leg-shapes. Who would say anything, and risk the ire of those who show more than the barest indication that it’s about more than feasting and holidays?

The young ones might, but they don’t follow the same rules, and they don’t go to family dinners. They don’t feel the obligations as strongly, let alone the deeper aspects.

And relying on that may help lighten the load. If there are twenty young ones, and only one in five turn up, that’s less food needed for the table. One extra job, then, is to check those who promise to come, and those that dither – and cut them out of the count. Dithering means no. It’s only confirmed responses that get the obligatory place at the table.

In place of bread, there could be home-made buns, cooked now and reheated in the big oven on the day so they feel fresh and crispy.

More pumpkin than potatoes, a few tasty yams to colour up the plates of veg, lots of salads with plenty of colours, and more bowls of fruit in jelly. Nice, colourful, cheap.

With luck, it leaves a dollar or two for a nice coffee, a dob of cream for the packet-made custard, and a bottle of brandy flavouring.

Bowls. Now that’s another matter. The younger ones don’t like the plastic plates, the lightweight, cheap options. They want the real stuff, glasses that match, mugs that aren’t cracked or mismatched.

Is there time to go to the charity shop to look around, or are there still people doing hard-waste throw-outs so late in the year.

A few more chairs, or pillows cut in two to make cushions to put on the repurposed pallets. And on the day before, all the cleaning. The greatest anticipation of all.

Then it’s ready. And if they don’t turn up … wars have begun for less than the bit of appreciation for the effort taken to keep up with the tradition of this holiday.

19 thoughts on “Ten Days to Go

  1. Wow. You sound stressed. Why not just do one thing and everyone else does one thing and have a pot luck. Or just snacks instead of a big meal? Good luck, take a break, maybe a nap and try to relax and just enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you – it’s nice to know someone’s got your /my back. Although this is a story of sorts, it’s based on how every Christmas holiday creates a lot of kerfuffle, especially for those on tight budgets, and when others don’t appreciate the effort put in.
      These days, I stand back and let the youngers take the reins, and make sure I show my appreciation of all their hard work.


  2. For me the day is just another day – no stress at all – the quieter the better for me – l have found and more so in the last year alone, l have absolutely no interest in being social with others on these days.

    A cup of coffee and a couple of crackers and l am good 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can empathise with this story because we’ve had two big vet bills just before xmas. Was definitely not budgeting for /those/. Still, both my furbabies are okay and we’re still isolating so the stress is a little less than it might otherwise have been.
    I love birthdays, but enforced celebrations leave me pretty blah these days. Maybe next year.
    I hope yours is pleasant and not too stressful. Roll on 2023. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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