’Tis the weeks before Christmas


Anne Michael

I can’t believe its December already. I don’t know why I am always surprised when it gets to be December. It’s not as though it doesn’t come around every 12 months with a new year on its heels. But here I am yet again, surprised and amazed. I think I’m more surprised at its arrival since I’ve lived in Florida because it truly does feel as though it sneaks up on me. My world looks very much the same day to day. The weather stays fairly much the same and folks all around me can be found wearing shorts and sandals daily with rare exceptions. I do notice certain differences from month to month like which plants are blooming and that some oaks have started dropping acorns and leaves. The truth is I am stunned when I turn the page on the calendar to reveal the month of December and reveal a snow-covered something or other, in this year’s case a red house and barn with its grounds and landscaping covered with almost a foot of snow.  

December arrives with its own built-in pressures as whatever holiday one celebrates comes with its preparations for feasts of lights, food, family and fun.  There is baking to be done, cards to be written and mailed and gifts to be shopped for or made. Homes are decorated with lights and gewgaws in red, green, gold, silver and blue. December is the month of expectation, and it is an exhausting month.

A few weeks ago, my daughter, Melissa, asked me to make a Christmas dress for her new daughter. I happily agreed. What can I say—grandmotherly instincts kicked in. I went shopping for holiday-themed fabrics with along with thread, zippers, buttons and bows.  As I shopped, I realized I could not make a dress for only one of my three small granddaughters, all of whom are under the age of two; I had to make dresses for all of them.  In November, it felt as if I had plenty of time. But when I flipped the calendar page that first December morning, it left me more than amazed; it induced a sense of panic. The month now finds me cutting, pinning, sewing and hemming in every spare moment.  

Driving home from work each evening I find myself ticking off my mental checklist of those things left to do, like writing Christmas cards, the Santa letters to the little loved ones of my family and friends, and thinking about which gifts and books I intend to purchase and where can I get the best price.

My husband heard an interview on a talk radio show with Mark Levin who wrote the book, Saving Sprite. Since then, my sweetie has told everyone who will listen about this interview and his lust for this book. Never have such broad hints been given to me in all our years together. He has his reasons, though.

Saving Sprite is a story of the loving and death of a good canine friend. The author’s story touched my husband deeply. Steve is hoping that this book will help him with the imminent passing of our good dog buddy Maxx who has cancer. While the subject is anything but Christmassy, the idea of someone being able to give the gift of acceptance by telling his story is most definitely in the spirit of Christmas. Steve will be getting his book.

Since I have to fly to Wisconsin this week for business, it will be the perfect time to comb the bookstores in the airport terminals for this future treasure. (As if I ever needed an excuse to roam around a bookstore in or out of an airport.) I’m also hoping to find Lisa See’s Snow Flower. An excellent review in the New York Times a week or so ago made it sound far too appealing to pass up. Perhaps an early Christmas gift would be a good way reward myself for a job well done this holiday season as my own self-imposed deadlines loom.

Speaking of deadlines, there is still more to do and I’d best get at it before these days turn into weeks. In the meantime I hope regardless of you have to do to prepare for your holiday season that you make time to rest a bit with a cup of hot cocoa, hot spiced cider or mulled wine and read a bit. You’ve earned the right to set a spell. After all, this Santa stuff is hard work!

At age 10, Anne realized she was never going to get to be Miss America since reading a book was not an acceptable talent. So she went on to get a job and raise a family. Along the way, she fixed meals, picked up toys, helped with homework, and collected a drawer full of rejection slips for her “great American novel.” It was not all bad, however, since she ended up wallpapering a closet with them. She currently designs and creates greeting cards for her tiny company, The Frog Prints, LLC, and also works full-time as a Training Specialist. Anne is currently tethered to reality by a loving spouse, two dogs, one cat and the occasional hurricane that blows through Florida, although falling headlong and happily into a book is still her favorite “talent.” She can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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