Oct. 6—The holidays are creeping up on us once again. I'm already seeing Halloween decorations and candy in the stores along with Christmas decorations.
That round of holiday after holiday, with all the shopping and schedule juggling it demands, will be starting soon.
Yes, the holidays are times for getting together with family and enjoying each other's company, but I do wish it didn't involve so much travel and hectic preparations.
This year Christmas falls on a Sunday, and that helps because it doesn't cut the work week in half. Maybe we won't have to get a lot of work done ahead of time so we can take time off. I'm hoping I won't have to drive all the way home on Christmas Day so I can get back to work that Monday.
I'd say Halloween is the least demanding of the holidays because it doesn't require quite so much preparation and travel. Most of the time, I stay at home unless mom's expecting a lot of trick-or-treaters.
I try to go to events such as Princeton's Monster Mash if it's held this year because I enjoy seeing the revelers and their costumes. I've even contemplated a costume of sorts.
Since I make hiking sticks for a hobby, I've made a couple of sticks that could double as a wizard's staff; however, I don't want to look like Gandalf from Lord of the Rings. My idea is to be an Appalachian wizard, a sort of mountain man who wanders the woods.
I have a slouch hat resembling Indiana Jones's headgear that should work. Now I need to find an oilskin coat or a pancho that goes with my hat, something I can wear during the fall and winter.
There's no way I'm wearing a funny wizard cloak with stars or moons on it and I'm definitely not wearing one of those pointy hats. Putting together a costume from clothing you can wear on days other than Halloween is more cost effective.
The next holiday, Thanksgiving, is fun, but it involves travel and a lot of cooking. There's always a discussion about who's going where for Thanksgiving.
Back when I was a kid, we went to my grandma's and mawmaw's homes.
This wasn't bad because they lived in the same town; we got two dinners that day. Now Thanksgiving offers the potential of another long drive unless we decide to have Thanksgiving at mom's house.
The logistics behind Christmas dwarfs all the planning behind Halloween and Thanksgiving. There are decorations to put up, shopping to do, gifts to wrap, cards to send, work to get done ahead of time and travel plans to make. The tricky part is making sure I don't have to drive back to West Virginia on Christmas Day. A lot of times, I've volunteered to work New Year's Day to avoid a rush home during the afternoon of Christmas. Then I have to think about something I can't control at all, and that's the weather. I've traveled while snowstorms have threatened to derail the holidays, but I've been lucky so far.
I try to reduce the time juggling by doing as much of my Christmas shopping early. If I see a likely present for somebody, I buy it and check it off my list.
This also saves me from spending all that money all at once. I can get wrapping done early, too, though I favor gift bags these days because they're easy to use and they can be saved and used again.
No, I'm not being cheap. I'm just trying to conserve my resources and save myself some hassle next year.
Despite all the logistics and the planning, I do enjoy the holidays and getting together with family and friends. Once Halloween night, Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas morning arrive, they're worth all the effort. All of the travel and the stress become things of the past and stories to share later.
You relax and enjoy, and start thinking about next year.
Greg Jordan is the Daily Telegraph's senior reporter. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Greg Jordan at email@example.com