This year, for the first time in more than 30 years, instead of Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Jim and I are Luther and Nora Krank. Have you seen Christmas with the Kranks, the 2004 film based on the novel Skipping Christmas by John Grisham? If you have not, you must. It will make you laugh and it will make you think. Better yet, read the book. Not one of Grisham’s acclaimed works, it is, however, warm and funny.
This year we decided on a shared family experience instead of a traditional store-bought Christmas. This means no wrapped gifts or stocking stuffers, a small tabletop tree, limited decorations and outside lights, no children at home, and a trip south for some fun and sun. I am surprised that I do not feel guilty. At all. Watching parents I know with young children who are stressed as they finish all of the last minute details to create the perfect Christmas for their families, I have a deep satisfaction in knowing I did that for many years. Now, Jim and I are in a kind of sweet spot, with adult children and significant others, but no grandchildren in sight.
On Christmas night we will be dining al fresco with a view of the Gulf of Mexico with one of our daughters. I cannot wait. No over-the-top commercial Christmas, and a short trip. The year of the Kranks.
I have been thinking a lot about 2020 – the beginning of a brand new decade. I wonder what it has in store for my children, Kent School, and, of course, Mr. and Mrs. Krank. What would it mean to eschew commercialism this year and be grateful for what we have? And, if we have to shop, shop local and small, with a nod to all of my friends with businesses I love in Chestertown. I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions as I find they sound great with a raised champagne flute on New Year’s Eve but really don’t materialize during the rest of the year. This year I will make an exception, I resolve not to spend on unnecessary household items, like decorative pillows or linen kitchen towels – both slight obsessions of mine. I will think before I add or replace something to an already full home and life.
As I grow older I realize that my Christmas list is shorter and shorter and there is nothing on it that comes from a store. The only present I really want is the presence of my husband and my children – all together – a few times a year. And, if that means travel expenses, so be it. I will start my travel fund in January.
Anyone want to buy a decorative pillow? I have a closet full of them.