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.

  • Amen sister! You have hit the nail on the head (that hangs the wreath). I stopped in Hobby Lobby to pick up a few essentials last week, and it looked like locusts had swarmed the holiday decor. Publix is selling kosher Christmas turkeys for $116! (Let that sink in). Even though nobody will see it, I’ve pulled out all the decorations (check out my FB or Instagram!). Hubby commented it was a little sparkly, so I got out my sign “it’s too sparkly…said nobody ever!” I buy Krylon by the pallet, if you need some!!!

    • Please just remember to write my Christmas column for me next year. You are hilarious! Merry Sparkly Christmas to you!

  • It has certainly been a most odd year. I did find myself going simple on decorations this year. I decided it was just how I felt and that was fine. I think God always sprinkles good in with the bad.
    Now, your blog is not loading in my blog roll feed. It is also not coming to my email anymore, so I am signing up again. I will try and reload the blog into my feed. I have been so busy these days, but suddenly it occurred to me tonight that I hadn’t seen your blog come up, so I popped in. I think I have missed three or four. Just an FYI if you are getting low numbers.
    Merry Christmas, LA.

    • Thanks for the blog info. I’m not sure what is going on. I think it automatically kicked a lot of subscribers off. I send it to myself to make sure it goes out – and it sent me a message last week that I had just resubscribed! Weird. Thanks for signing up again, and happy peaceful decorating to you this year!

      • I will keep checking regularly to see if it comes to my email. The fact that the feed in blogger is not loading in the blog roll could be a blogger thing. They have made so many changes that I almost want to quit. Comments are a complete bear. I have had so much spam and had to moderate them. Some make it to email and some don’t. I have to go into the comments part of the blogger thing to check them. Good grief, I am quite busy these days looking after Mother and helping the kids I don’t have time for that:) Anyway, just know I enjoy reading.

        • Thanks. The computer part of writing is the worst part. I switched from blogger to Word Press a few years ago and it was traumatic at first, but now is fine — oh, except that a few weeks ago, the photos app stopped working. It’s always something! Be on the look-out for an email that has you confirm your subscription. A lot of people forget that step. – thanks for the update.

  • Yesterday my son said, “I don’t know what the deal is with Publix, but I am tired of seeing the empty paper aisle…I don’t know why they don’t have toilet paper or let you buy more than 2 boxes of kleenex…The Pig has plenty of toilet paper and let’s you buy as much kleenex as you want!” So I guess his advice is, shop at Piggly Wiggly! I told my extended family that our Christmas Eve gathering is going to be short and outside this year {a gift to myself as I won’t have to cook for days!! ? } So there is an occasional upside!

  • My wife said there were no pie crust in the store. She’s steamed. I told her my mama made them from scratched and now she’s beyond steamed.

    • And you lived to tell this tale? You are a lucky, lucky man!!!

  • Debbi Benedict says:

    When I bought my Wright’s Silver Cream a few weeks ago, I made sure to buy two, Now I am really glad I did!

    • It was a Christmas angel who showed you the way of goodness. Good for you!

  • Salli Beasley says:

    Sad but true…

    Merry Christmas to you!!

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