Odd Thoughts: Perfect Christmas not easy to plan

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.” And so it was this Christmas.

Although, the outcome was not nearly as disturbing as that of the incident that prompted Robbie Burns to apologize to the mouse he had turned up with his plough 230 years ago.

For the first time in years, Donna and I had the time and circumstance to plan a perfect Christmas with the immediate family. Kids and grandkids would all be here.

With my retirement having unburdened me of the ceaseless deadlines that piled up and threatened to overwhelm me through the approach of Christmas each year, we would have the time and energy to provide a perfect Christmas with all the iconic Christmas meals, from breakfast through dinner perfectly planned and laid out.

The outdoor lights went up in time to turn them on Dec. 1 – a feat I had dreamed of in years past, but had never accomplished.

And Donna notes I managed it with fewer than three dozen swear words – a feat that shattered the previous record.

The tree and accompanying indoor decor went up a day behind schedule. But that wasn’t bad, especially considering that only some of the lighting and none of the air was blue by the time I was done.

And it was still weeks to Christmas, so our version of Robbie’s mouse was not put out in the least.

Gifts were all purchased with weeks to spare, instead of days… or hours (or sometimes only minutes).

It was while hunting the turkey that we got our first real hint of what was to come. I went out to our preferred hunting ground on the designated Turkey Day and… there was only one left! And it was on the edge of not big enough. Arrgghhhhh!

I potted the sucker anyway.

The old stress started to creep in, masking the fact that we still had a good week and a half left to bag a more suitable candidate for the Christmas oven.

And of course, we found another. A perfect bird, indeed. Which left us with a spare – and still no apologies for the mouse.

’Twas three nights before Christmas when all through our home, an ominous sound arrived through our phone. The Lad had pulled an all-nighter programming computers, and had caught “whatever is going around.” He was still going to try to make it for dinner, but…

Then on Christmas Eve, with a visit to extended family looming on the agenda, one of the dogs wouldn’t stop puking all over the house. His uncharacteristically quiet demeanour, coupled with his refusal to eat – and he had refused liquid sustenance for two full days now – meant a trip (an unscheduled trip!) to the vet.

And the kids, flying back from Mexico to join us for Christmas, reported they were snowed-in in Calgary.

Our scheduled oysters-and-kippers breakfast turned to brunch, and eventually became a catch-as-catch-can afternoon snack, an oyster here, a kipper here, as the clan slowly – but inexorably – gathered. Other than everyone’s healthy albeit haphazard arrival, not a single plan panned out in the end. And wouldn’t you know it? It was the best Christmas ever!

Chaos is just a natural part of Christmas at our house. No amount of “best laid schemes” will get us around that.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.The mouse be damned.

The only really scary part is… New Year’s is usually even worse!

 

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Burn scars now a ‘badge of honour’

White Rock woman shares story of survival after a terrible accident in 1978

Langley Demonstration Garden: Bee there or bee square

The opening day of the season for the public garden featured a bee theme.

Langley boxer’s represent at ‘Turmoil on 200th’

Langley Event Centre hosts first ever pro boxing show

VIDEO: Walnut Grove Secondary students host Gator Music Festival

All proceeds will benefit children with special needs from Langley

Letter: Extend large item garbage collection to Langley townhouses

A townhouse resident would like the same pick up option that’s given to single family dwellings.

VIDEO: Pro-pipeline rally hosted by Langley family

The new organization Suits and Boots held the rally to support the resource sector.

Giant beer tanks arrive in new B.C. home city

Molson Coors tanks finish river journey and move to overland trip in Chilliwack

B.C.’s Ryan Craig, Vegas Golden Knights chase history

Local product behind bench for expansion team’s incredible championship run

CP rail workers give strike notice

Employees could walk out as early as Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT

Vote points to abortion being legalized in Ireland

Voters asked whether to keep or repeal Eighth Amendment to Roman Catholic Ireland’s Constitution

COLUMN: Women’s breasts really aren’t that big a deal

A follow on some Princeton, B.C., students gained considerable exposure when they dropped their bras

Canadian soccer officials talk up World Cup bid at Champions League final

Current bid calls for 2026 World Cup games to be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico

B.C.’s devastating 2017 wildfire season revisited in new book

British Columbia Burning written by CBC journalist Bethany Lindsay

Most Read