All sold out of Christmas

December 12, 2020


This story was written in December 2020 — just as we hoped the COVID Pandemic was ending . . . 

Lady Head Vase - Christmas decoration - vintage decor. Story All Sold out of Christmas by Leslie Anne Tarabella.

There’s a song in the air, there’s a star in the sky, there’s a mother’s deep prayer, but no turkey to buy.

The Piggly Wiggly sold out of silver polish last week and my friend in Georgia said she couldn’t find a decent Christmas tree anywhere. And that’s just the beginning.

We’ve seen our share of shortages in 2020 as we’ve searched for toilet paper, hand sanitizer and spray disinfectant, but now, we’ve moved on to a more sophisticated list of “essentials.” Our determination to have a spectacular holiday season is a sign that all is right in the world, or at least all is pretty — and “pretty” is only an inch a way from sanity. 

The only sure way to get your hands on a good poinsettia now is to give your church a $10 donation to get one from the altar decorations after the Christmas Eve service. It’s worth the wait because you get your Granny listed in the bulletin under the “in memory of” page and it makes you feel good when you sit in the pew and doodle little hearts around her name. 

Tired of being locked inside our quarantined houses, we’re ready to celebrate like no other Christmas. Sales of live trees are up with families craving nostalgia and longing to make memories with their children. The COVID pandemic has cancelled our parties and hoopla, so we have plenty of time to make everything in our homes shine bright, taste delicious and smell heavenly.  All those who love to play “hostess with the mostess” have said, “game on!” 

This year, I’ve continued the “hurricanes and trees on the house” theme. I’ve covered everything with garlands of greenery — store bought this year, because my usual source, 7 majestic cedars, were tossed across the yard by Hurricane Sally. Fa-la-humbug-la.

No matter how big of a nature granola chick I am (I just said that to amuse myself), at Christmas, I swing into full “glitz” mode. I helplessly repeat the robotic Christmas lady mantra — “Must- spray-paint-must-sprinkle-glitter.” But the hardware store was completely cleaned out of sparkly spray. Not a single can of Krylon, silver or gold, in sight. Those pinecones that were launched through the air like little missiles in the hurricane are now sparkling in some clever woman’s house in a bowl on the coffee table.

With traveling options limited, we’re creating new memories in our apartments, farmhouses, condos, cottages, trailers and mansions. The excitement of Christmas is uniting us as it has for thousands of years. 

This year, we’re craving paper chains and popcorn strung with cranberries. We’re drying orange slices for garland and flocking trees the old-fashioned way — by grating Ivory soap and whipping it ourselves. We want to sip eggnog from shiny little punch cups — polished to a perfect gleam. We’re on a sure path back to a normal world where Zoom was a fun PBS show and masks were only for Halloween.  

Wrestling another woman in aisle 5 over silver polish is much more civilized than wrestling over toilet paper. The year is ending on a high note after all. It’s a sign of good things yet to come. But take my advice, grab your turkey while you can. 

This story first appeared in Advance Publication newspapers in Alabama and beyond.

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