Today and yesterday have been beautiful and mild, but they are the exception: in general, it is now the season of cold, dark, and snow. I spent no small amount of time yesterday putting fuzzy flannel sheets on the beds and laundering and storing the regular sheets, my heavy-duty winter coat is getting much more use than my cute, stylish one, and since the time change (WHY DOES THIS STILL EXIST WHYYYYYYY) it is dark at 5:00 pm.
Note about the cute, stylish coat: I bought it many years ago at Lululemon and it is the most flattering, pretty winter coat you could ever imagine. It was advertised as the warmest coat that Lululemon sold, and I’m sure it was. I’m sure it would be a perfect coat for winter in Vancouver. However, here, in Hoth, it is really only suitable for zero degrees and above. When it dips below that, I take out my Mountain Equipment Co-Op coat that is so big, it practically has its own postal code. It is close to having its own solar system. It looks like I put sleeves on an old-school giant sleeping bag, the kind of winter sleeping bags that existed way before microfibers and technical filling and what have you, and then added a belt in an optimistic, but essentially futile attempt to contain its bulk. That belt and its giant fake-fur hood are its only concessions to fashion. It is the orthopedic shoes of winter coats: I am glad to have it, it is comfortable and warm, but I’m not winning any beauty contests in it.
November, am I right? Cold, dark, and snow. When it snows in September or October, or even April or May, for that matter, my reaction is, Boo. Oh well. It will melt. In November, it’s a totally different ball game. It feels like winter is here to stay and I might as well get used to it. Some people think February is the bleariest month, but at least a) it is a short month, and b) the days get longer. In November, it’s just a slow but steady forward march to the day that the sun sets just after 4:00 pm and doesn’t rise again until 8:45 am.
I don’t find November depressing, despite all this, and that is because for me, November 1 is the start of the festive season. There seem to be three types of people in the world: those who also start thinking Christmassy thoughts in early November, those who think that’s far too early and who also are at the mall on Christmas Eve, and those who think that anyone who might start thinking happy festive thoughts on November 1 are terribly disrespectful people.
Well. In my Venn diagram of life, respectful and solemn observance of Remembrance Day can coexist with thoughts of joy, love, and giving. One does not preclude the other. My mental timetable is as follows: November 1-15, finish Christmas shopping, choose layout and order Christmas cards, create and order photo calendars for the grandparents, and start stockpiling ingredients for baking and treat-making. November 15-30, mail and deliver gifts that have a deadline (Secret Santas, my in-laws’), write and mail cards, and start making things that can be frozen for December elfing: cookie dough, chocolate bark, and other make-ahead goodies. December is the time to actually wrap gifts, bake and decorate cookies, and attend all the functions that come at this time of year. Our tree will go up November 23 or 24 this year, and the outdoor lights and decorations will probably go up next weekend, as it seems like it might be fairly mild and I enjoy having a non-frostbitten husband and sons, outdoor decorating being an overwhelmingly blue job around here.
You do you, is what I’m saying. I need to avoid the malls at all costs after mid-November, for my own mental health. Of course, this backfired last year when I accidentally arranged to meet a friend for coffee ON BLACK FRIDAY. Neither one of us realized it was Black Friday, which is unbelievably ridiculous, but here we are. I’m fine with being a happy little Christmas elf, and if you’re not, we can still be friends. This meme about Christmas describes me and my dear friend Sharyl (HI SHARYL) to a tee:
And yet somehow, we MAKE IT WORK. You do you and I’ll do me, and we shall all be fine.
Speaking of festive things, I must update you on the poinsettia fundraiser. After the big meeting at the school, I received the actual printout for the fundraiser:
I will admit to you right now, dear reader, I waffled for a bit after seeing the outdoor planters. You see, due to extreme pollen and pine allergies in our house, I cannot actually have such things IN the house, but an outdoor planter? I thought about it for a bit – maybe it would be nice! maybe I could participate! – and then actually read the accompanying letter. Each student participating is required to sell twelve items. Let me say that again. TWELVE. There is absolutely no difference, in the school’s eyes, between a $17 poinsettia and a $45 planter. My son could sell twelve poinsettias or twelve outdoor planters. Then, the trip cost decreases by FIVE WHOLE DOLLARS per item, regardless of the item sold.
What kind of communism is this? In what fundraising world is a $17 poinsettia equal to a $45 planter? HOW IS THIS A THING.
I have been wondering why I am so out of sorts about this fundraiser, as I had decided weeks ago to just pay the “donation” fee in lieu of fundraising. Normally I would make a decision and then move on; why can I not move on from here? Then I realized the reason: this makes me feel like I Am Not A Team Player, when, in fact, I am. I have had a long and enthusiastic relationship with fundraising: I have helped organize dances and silent auctions, I have sold bedding plants and supported all of my friends in their efforts, I WAS THE BOOK FAIR LADY FOR EIGHT STRAIGHT YEARS. I have no issues with fundraising! But this, this ridiculous exercise, this is my line in the sand. Not to mention I saw the very same outdoor planters at Superstore for twenty dollars less, and yet there would be almost NO benefit for me to buy from the school fundraiser. The cost of my son’s trip would not decrease, and I would have to go through the rigmarole of collecting the planter from the school, which would certainly not be organized, if the past is a valid indicator of the future.
Well. My son tells me that every single day, his homeroom teacher asks the class how the poinsettia fundraiser is going, and all I can say is that the deadline is next week, and so that will be the end of it. Time to move on! For real this time!
I finished my Christmas shopping yesterday, and while I was in the mall I spotted this: