The décor may not sparkle, but the spirit shines

Published 2:00 pm Friday, December 10, 2021

We are officially into the Christmas countdown. 

Remember last year, there were so many disappointments with our holiday gatherings.  It was very sad not to be able to join family and friends in our usual fashion.  This year, we hope to get back to more “normal” and safer get togethers.  We expect to be a little more social but remain mindful of vaccinations and other ways to combat the transmission of COVID.  And there’s a new variant to be concerned about.  

I’ve seen lots of beautiful decorations—so lovely and colorful!  But it seems that the new trend is Christmas trees on steroids!  Lots of larger ornaments and bold new colors.  Yes, I’m sure you will find the family tree that still has the children’s hand-made ornaments from years past, but there is definitely a trend to go big and more elegant.  There are fewer live trees due to greater demand and in some cases, a disappointing harvest, and the high cost of fuel and transportation costs to get them delivered.  

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I suppose it’s a sign of aging that I’m reluctant to decorate the house as I used to.  I think a lot has to do with the fact that there’s no one other than Tom and me to see it and appreciate it.  Our sons and their families have beautifully decorated homes so it’s easier for us to enjoy their efforts.  

I’m such a practical person that Christmas gifts for our children included underwear and socks.  It didn’t take them long to break the code of what was wrapped wasn’t always a toy!  There’s a lengthy list of recommended “tech” gifts for this year.  Think smart phones, computers, virtual reality systems, Ring doorbells, laptops—even the “smart” gardens.  You may have seen them growing lettuce, strawberries, and herbs right there on the counter.  

Then there’s the air fryers and instant pots, and lots of different kitchen appliances that claim to make your meal preparation a breeze.  Take-out is what makes meals easier!  My husband heard our kids talking about how much they used their toaster ovens.  He looked at me and said, “Why don’t we have a toaster oven.”  My response was that “We have a toaster and an oven.”  He set about researching the best appliance to buy and presented me with a beautiful Cuisinart air fryer toaster oven.  It was a thing of beauty.  But I couldn’t figure out how to use it.  I looked at all the recipes and knew that I could prepare those dishes in my oven.  I was stumped!  So, after only one use, we passed it on to our grandson Andrew who says it is the most used appliance in his kitchen.    

It seems that you can’t go wrong if you purchase useful, practical gifts such as clothing, tools, gift cards, and chargers for phones, tablets, etc.  But think about the new car battery chargers that are the size of a smart phone and extremely high tech.  Don’t overlook a gift of food.  There’s lots of options—cookies, cakes, nuts, and steaks.  And a gift of meat would be much appreciated, given the recent dramatic hike in price per pound.  

So, while my holiday décor might not be as sparkly as in years past, make no mistake that I remain hopeful, grateful, and optimistic for my many blessings.  Merry Christmas!

Bonnie Brown writes a weekly column for The Oxford Eagle. Email her at