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Humor January 2015

The Old Gal

Holiday Psychosis

By Anne Ashley

Anyway, it’s a racket, I tell ya. Somewhere out there, pumpkin merchants are rubbing their collective hands together at successfully convincing the entire world that the humble pumpkin is the eighth wonder of the world.

Phew … so glad that’s over with. Oh, not Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s celebrations. I’m as festive as the next person – so long as the next person doesn’t dress up for Halloween, send Christmas cards, take part in any holiday shopping deals no matter how amazing the “price slashing” is or what household appliance is now practically free, or attend New Year’s celebration, that is. No, what I’m relieved to see the back of is this entire pumpkin hubbub. Every year it’s the same thing … and getting worse.

From mid-October onwards we are bombarded with 1001 new and improved ways to exploit enjoy pumpkins – and that’s on top of the previous year’s 1001 ways to exploit and enjoy pumpkins. In addition to that, we are then treated to recipes and ideas for what to do with leftover pumpkin. (Leftover? Seriously? As if anyone could possibly miss the pumpkin bed, bath and shampoo spectacular!)

Anyway, it’s a racket, I tell ya. Somewhere out there, pumpkin merchants are rubbing their collective hands together at successfully convincing the entire world that the humble pumpkin is the eighth wonder of the world.

As well as the lucrative over-marketing of food products, this time of year also brings about personal enlightenment – whether I like it or not. As I get older I find that I am less and less able to participate in endless social events and daily gorging on festive meals and snacks.

I can recall having boundless energy in my youth. Not even governing hyper, overexcited children or entertaining the judgmental in-laws through the holiday season put a dampener on my spirits or abilities. I ate in between meals and sampled practically every chocolate anything brought to our door without gaining an ounce in weight and stayed up late and woke even earlier than usual to decorate dinner tables and rooms. I simultaneously managed loads of laundry and met school event requirements.

Although, one year I admit I did overdo the multi-tasking just a tad when my daughter needed a white sheet as part of her school Christmas play costume. Such was my last minute haste in obtaining the item from the linen cupboard that I didn’t realize until it was too late that what I had actually procured from the closet was an old forgotten mattress liner – complete with holes, fluff and …. well, you get the picture.

To be fair though, from where I was seated at the back of the auditorium, you could hardly notice that one of the three wise men had an annoyingly lumpy gathering at the forehead instead of the smooth headpiece worn by the other wise men. However, what was plainly noticeable, even from the back of the room, was that one of the animals meant for the manger scene had gotten caught up in the opposite end of the gathered mattress liner and was dragged along as the wise men made their way around the stage. 

Anyway, this year’s enlightenment was abrupt and brutal. I had no more sampled one of the many, many, many pumpkin pies brought by invited guests, than I was hit by an upset stomach and lethargy.

At first I thought it was the beginning of the flu so I immediately checked my medical supplies for the obligatory cures and dosed myself up for the inevitable symptoms. Long story short, it wasn’t the flu. It was the age. My age!

Furthermore, my energy disappeared altogether before the first course was even served. Even with my children being too old to require my participation in any of their festivities I still needed to rise early to rid the fridge of the assorted take-out containers to make room for the rarely-seen-these-days home-cooked offerings, and empty the spare room of unwanted, yet not discarded clutter and debris to make room for the superfluous furniture not needed in the living room or kitchen. It was exhausting. Incidentally, such is the clutter and debris in our spare room that whenever I purchase something new for the home, His Royal Highness sarcastically says, that will look nice in the spare room.

But worse than all that, despite everything giving me heartburn and my food intake being limited to practically nothing more than a few mouthfuls of turkey, I still managed to gain weight!

It suddenly makes perfect sense to me now why everyone says, Christmas is for children. I used to think it meant that the anticipation of new toys, lighted Christmas trees, caroling in the streets, candy canes, and believing in Santa Claus was childlike and pure.

No. What it truly means is that only children have the stamina and obliviousness necessary to get through a month of round-the-clock eating, unwarranted merriment, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, January sales, entire room renovations (just for a few days) and Jingle Bells without a nervous breakdown. Christmas is for the young and the psychotic!


Anne Ashley decided to stop buying Christmas cards (and all that go with them) and donate the money to a different children’s charity each year, instead. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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