I’m Never Ready For Christmas

Dec 16

It’s December 10 as I write this post, but I can safely say that whenever you read it, I still won’t be ready.

Wasn’t it just summer when I was worrying about going out in public in a bathing suit?

Wasn’t it just Halloween when I was passing out packets of hyperactivity-producing goodies to cute little gremlins who seemed shocked when asked whether they wanted a trick or a treat? No more pranks these days: helicopter parents hovering in the hallway.

Maybe having too much fun can actually alter your sense of time, make it fly or something. . .so it only seems like it was just summer.

But come on, aren’t we pushing this holiday thing earlier every year?

I got announcements for the Christmas Show at Radio City in May. The Holiday Fund in my building is closed last Friday. The tree-lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center, which has morphed into a over-the top television extravaganza (like everything else) is over. While you’re still eating turkey sandwiches ya gotta throw out the pumpkins and get out the poinsettias. Before they’re sold out!

Too bad I can’t decorate my apartment with all those colorful Christmas catalogs that clutter my mailbox, most of them from stores I will never, ever order from, in this or any other season. Or planet. Hello! I’m five foot two and a female: stop sending me stuff from Big and Tall Men’s Sportswear.

What really gets to me is the “Last Minute Shopping Suggestions”— in November.

Last minute! These people don’t know from last minute . . .

One year long ago when the world was new and I floated around this magical city in a happy holiday haze, I waited until December 24 (Zero Shopping Dates Left to Christmas!), ran over to B. Altman’s (Talk about dashing through the snow) and bought something in the color red for everyone on my list: a red scarf, a red tie, red gloves, red slippers, a red address book, red pajamas. I moved through the store like a shopping tornado and got everything done in hours, not days. Or months, Or years.

And it worked. My choices that year were no better or no worse than previous years when I had agonized over them. And all that color made a real statement when the presents were opened.

I wouldn’t dare do this now. Stores are scary. And not even Amazon could get things to me that fast. Basically, everyone has everything already.

To make things worse, Sidewalk Santas have disappeared! Not down any chimney I’ve heard of, but due to budget cuts by the Volunteers of America, who now do their soliciting on line. Okay, I’ve mentioned in the past that some of the Santas were looking a bit funky around the edges  but hell, they were homeless guys given a part-time job when they needed it and were a real tradition for us New Yorkers.

Bah Friggin’ Humbug!

This one, who’s not a sidewalk guy, looks downright dangerous and raises the question of just how friendly Old Saint Nick should get at your Christmas party, mistletoe or not. Tired of all this? #Metoo. Yes, yes, I’m for the movement, very much so. But banning “Baby It’s Cold Outside?” Not so much. For more of this, if you can bear it, check out The War on Men.

Oh well, although you’d never know it by reading this post so far, I actually like Christmas: the trees, the presents, the parties, the good will. Yes, Virginia, we actually do get some of that this time of year.

Besides, (Christmas)time waits for no man — not even a woman such as I, I am sad to say. So, no matter how cranky (or, god forbid, bitter) I could be if I wanted to . . . I am determined to get on with it and be of good cheer. Or as my friend Leslie always said, “Rejoice, Goddammit!”

And on the bright side: It’s too early to start getting in shape for summer. Tax season is far, far away. And very soon, you’ll get to break all those New Year’s Resolutions you never planned to keep in the first place.. You know you wanted to be naughty, anyway.



Note to Bitter Fans: An earliest version of this post appears as “I’m Not Ready For Christmas.”


  1. Except tax season is really not that far away!! I’ve already started to stress about that!

    • Let your accountant worry about that go directly to stressing over bathing suit season. It will give you the illusion of having plenty of time.

  2. Caroline /

    I stopped trying! Happy Holidays!

    • Good “plan.” Besides all the joys of the season (the eggnog, the good cheer,the egg nog), there is no way to get through the holidays without 1)pissing someone off, 2)getting roped into doing something you don’t want to do, 3)giving the wrong present, 4)getting the wrong present, 5)being visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, 6)going off your diet and 7)being blindsided by Santa Con. There’s lots more, but you get the picture. So the best plan, as it often is in life, is no plan.

  3. I am Scrooge on steroids this year. I have donated to Backpacks for the Street in everyone’s name. No other gifts.

    • I don’t see you as Scrooge, even a little around the edges. Donating to a charity is very un-Scroogelike. But maybe your kids will disagree. . .

  4. Diana Giuseppone /

    Rejoice already, Goddammit before it’s too late.
    Good advice Leslie…

  5. Louise Gikow /

    Have a merry merry Christmas, wonderful Pat, goddammit!!

  6. Love it. Great Article (hysterical too)!
    Thinking of you and wishing you the best for Christmas and the New Year.

  7. Colleen /

    Oh, you make me smile!! Such good humor.

    A Very Merry to you.
    Hope to see you in the goddamn New Year!!

    • The only alternative to humor is taking it all too seriously, which leads to becoming (Gasp!) bitter.
      Merry Everything to you too, Colleen.

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