Last year, Delilah's failing health made it really hard to get into the Christmas spirit, or stay there very long when I did get there.
An example: all throughout Christmas Day, I kept forgetting to open the contents of my stocking (Yes. At forty(mumble) I still get a stocking at Christmas. What? Don't you?). After dinner, I went to the room the cat and I were sleeping in so that I could fuss over her a bit, and to get her to maybe eat some canned salmon I'd bought for her. She ate a little, then went back under the futon to lay on the heating vent. I went out into the kitchen to put the plate in the sink and bumped into my mom.
"You never opened this," she said, holding up my bulging stocking.
I burst into tears, said something like "I can't do this anymore!" and fled back to the bedroom. That was it, I was done. No more Christmas, please.
She and my sister followed me, let me sob it out, fussed over Delilah some (she came out to see what all the noise was about, I think, and to see who had come to visit) and eventually did get me to open my stocking.
I never got any cookies baked for the same reason. The thought would cross my mind to do it, then the cat would come into the room with her poor little face, hop up into my lap, and I'd decide to just stay put. One time she climbed up my chest and stretched out, chin on my shoulder, purring in my ear. I sat contorted for her maximum comfort for over an hour, tears streaming down my face, thinking this is probably the last time we'll do this. I was right.
It took a lot of effort to do what I considered the bare minimum. I'm surprised people got presents at all, the way I was feeling.
This year is better. I'm glad Sophie's here, because otherwise I'd be doing a lot of moping and remembering last year--more than what I'm doing right now, that is. Sophie's interested in all the the goings-on. She inspects the results of every shopping trip, and I fully expect her to supervise present-wrapping when I start that.
Just as soon as I post this I'll start making cookies. A lot of these first batches are getting wrapped up and given away. The raspberry bar cookie from 2 years ago is making an appearance. So is a peppermint meringue cookie that someone I work with really, really likes. I'm going to make a peanut butter cup cookie that uses itty bitty muffin tins. I'm going to try biscotti too, and that means the very first thing I have to do is toast almonds. Well. The very first thing I have to do is look up how to toast almonds, because they don't give instructions in the recipe. Google, here I come.
If I don't run out of steam, I'll be trying a molasses cookie recipe that I found through the Pioneer Woman's Cookie Week. As soon as I check for my cookie cutters, that is. I think I have Christmas ones. I used to. Maybe. I know I gave some cookie cutters away, but I don't think it was all of them. Ah, well. I can always use the mouth of a glass, right? I'm also making something called chocolate-covered cherry cookies, but not today; I forgot to buy the cherries.
After I finish making the ones I'm giving as gifts, I'll go make a second set to take to my sister's. There will be more raspberry bars (last time I brought them Ditter told me they tasted like an Entenmann's raspberry danish. For those not in the know, that is high praise indeed), those chocolate cherry things, and the molasses cookies (by then I will have either found or bought new cutters).
Wish me luck! Some of these I've never tried before. I'll photograph the results.
Edited to add: Didn't have to go as far as the Internet to find out how to toast almonds. There are instructions on the package. Yay!