Christmas is nearly upon us and I haven’t bought a single present, sent out cards or baked cookies. We’ve only had one day with enough snow to cover the grass and that didn’t last more than a few hours. It was seventy degrees over the weekend and the flowers that I never got around to pulling out of the urn on the front stoop are blooming again! This is northeastern Ohio. We should be buried in snow by now. I should be shoveling the front walk to make a path to the car. Then dust the snow from around the door so the flakes don’t blow inside as I retrieve the snowbrush. With the white stuff cleared from all the nooks and crannies of my SUV, I’m ready to take on the plowed roads while listening to holiday music on the radio. I slip and slide through the slush in the mall parking lot, push my shopping cart through more slush at the grocery store and put folded dollar bills into the Salvation Army’s kettle with Santa wishing me a merry Christmas. In the past, this has always jump-started me into the Christmas spirit.
The Fox 8 news station just did a segment on the art of wrapping gifts. I remember the days, not long ago, when I carefully designed and wrapped each gift with the recipient in mind, along with the theme for that year. Mom loved angels and the color purple. Her warm robe, sweater or nightgown would be wrapped in the special lavender and gold paper I managed to find, and adorned with an angel nestled in an elaborate bow. Mom passed away two years ago, just days after Christmas. I haven’t shopped for an angel since. The people that I have to shop for this year don’t want gifts that fit in boxes. Their gifts can be downloaded with the click on a handheld device, or gift cards to be turned in at their local home improvement store or grocery. The few gifts that I’ll actually be shopping for can easily be set into gift bags. The artistry comes in how to arrange the colored tissue paper sticking out the top
I have a good friend who makes Christmas the most wonderful time of the year. She plays the flute and oboe in her church’s Christmas concert. Her home is decorated like a page out of House Beautiful’s holiday edition and she fills it with family and friends. She spends days baking an amazing assortment of Christmas cookies which she packs in lovely tins to be distributed to friends. My family referred to her as the Cookie Lady, and anxiously waited each year for their special box. For twenty-plus years we made our individual holiday plans together, and we laughed and celebrated through New Year’s Eve. I haven’t seen her in two years, not since my mother’s funeral.
I think it’s time I called the Cookie Lady.