(December 10, 2021   by HOWARD DIAMOND)

Finally, I think I’m almost finished with everything and ready for the holidays. Believing that there is not much more to do, I can put my feet up and try to actually relax. There is no false sense of security floating around in my brain. Many types of anxieties and OCD are attempting to work their charms, so I use self-talk to find ways to calm me down. Eventually, I convince myself that all the various celebrations are almost two months ahead and I’m ready for each of them. Now it is time for my writing to stop for today. My friends are waiting as we are going for an evening to trick or treat. What about everyone out there, are we also getting prepared for these special joyous occasions? 

gift box lot
Photo by George Dolgikh @ on

All the gifts have been placed in their respective boxes. Each one is adorned with holiday wrapping paper. In addition, the packages have bows on top to make them distinctive and we can tell who gets the proper one. Yes, some OCD moments here, but I maintain focus with the task at hand. No sweat here, it is only a few days into November and I am doing my best. For years, I did not write many cards, but for some people that I will not see, a few are sent to acknowledge them for being part of my life. Although, I do not want or expect many colored decorated envelopes, but several would be nice.

Finally, the bundles were inside and ready to be put away. Initially, the ice cream and frozen entrees were placed in an already crowded freezer. Post rearranging, there was enough room to fit the items inside. Next, the perishables were repositioned in the refrigerator so, the new items could be added. Beginning with the top shelf down, sorting of the items were successfully placed and the perishables were where they needed to be. A few minutes later, the remaining articles were put away in the closets.

Several days from now it will be Thanksgiving Thursday and as most years, my family will be together. Generally, I picked up my mom and we went to my brother’s mother in law’s house, way out in Eastern, Long Island. Generally, on this occasion, she made a big feast on that special day. Arrival time is around 3pm and dinner is around 430pm or 500pm. Due to the gap in time, I have the opportunity to play and be with my two nephews. 

Often times, our conversation was about school or the latest video games they are enjoying today. Spending a day with them last month, for my nephew’s birthday, I found out what they wanted for them respective gifts. Both of them have asked for very little this year, as far as presents go, so it was very exciting thinking of ideas to get them. Ultimately, decisions were made. At this point, it was difficult waiting to watch their glowing faces when each one received their many surprises. Good news, by this day most of the gifts were already picked out, purchased, wrapped and put away in my closets for safe keeping. So, I am mostly ready for the holidays. 

Thanksgiving meal that year started at almost 500 pm. Like most years, the meal is more than a meal, it is a feast. Besides the annual turkey, the kitchen/dining room were filled with side dishes plus desserts, too numerous to put on the table. Among them, were green broccoli, orange carrots with white corn, yellow turnips, red cabbage, multicolored cauliflower, different types of potatoes and stuffing’s. Also, there were an assortment of desserts including apple sauces, fruits, several cakes and pies and many flavors of ice cream. Before the meal, I said to everyone, “Stuff the bird, not yourself”. Like myself, no one listened. All of us at this feast were too full to move an inch because everything was great and extremely delicious.

As December blows in, there are still a couple of people, I need to buy for, but it is much more manageable this time around. My expectation is that these presents will be bought, packaged and wrapped within a few days which will keep my anxieties at bay. During the second week of December, menu planning’s are completed, so food shopping trips become less chaotic and making getting ready easier. Naturally, the supermarkets are extremely crowded and lots of items have to be restocked often.

Some years the December holidays merge together. In fact, a few of them are really on top of each other. One such instance, Christmas Eve and the first night of Chanukah was the same, making Christmas Day and the initial day of Chanukah both fell on December 25th and Kwanzaa, the next day on December 26. Very interesting, but most of us were ready for this event and made the best of this highly infrequent occurrence.  Was everyone ready?

Now as the year draws to a close, so do these stories. Over this year, many of my articles and poems were included in different blogs and websites to make people feel slightly better about their situation. Whether young or older, for richer and poorer, for individuals that are mentally or physically infirmed or extremely healthy, care about each other and the world we live in. To all my readers, treat everyone fairly and equally because in the end, we are all humans. Goodwill and happiness to all. Happy holidays and happy new year. Are we all ready? I know I am!

See you in the News Blogs.

The stories above are fictionalized accounts from various years when I was getting ready for the holidays. All the events occurred,  but not exactly as written. However, they are placed in order chronologically, but they happened in different years. 

Howard Diamond is a Certified Peer Specialist from Long Island

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