Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday, followed closely by Easter, for as long as I can remember. It’s a holiday focused on food, family, and friends — all things for which I have great enthusiasm. 

I wasn’t exactly bubbling over with holiday cheer, as I wrote a couple of weeks ago, but as the day grew closer, I got more involved. I made some cranberry sauce. I bought the ingredients for pumpkin pie and heavenly hash cake. I browsed some stuffing recipes.

And then Tuesday night my daughter threw up. Then my husband got sick on Thanksgiving Day. By Sunday, Ruby and I were down for the count, too.

Thanksgiving dinner consisted of just Georgia and me (Robert was sick; Ruby was in St. Louis) eating canned chicken noodle soup and oranges, with Nutella and mini-marshmallows for dessert. 

It was not the Thanksgiving I’d envisioned, but it did remind me of how lucky we are to enjoy generally good health and beloved family, so that was a blessing. And as a bonus, with just Georgia and me at the table, no one even discussed politics! 

Besides a few years when I was little, Christmas has never been my favorite time of year, but with this year’s Thanksgiving disappearing in a haze of bleach and Lysol, I guess I should try to muster up some holiday joy and direct it all, with laser focus, squarely at Dec. 25. 

I’ve ordered a Christmas tree, which I plan to decorate with my sister’s ornaments as well as some I’ve collected over the years, and I am going to force my husband to hang up lights this weekend. 

I bought Christmas pajamas for the girls (with matching pajamas for their American Girl dolls — well, Georgia’s is an Our Generation; don’t tell her), and Ruby has a brand-new red dress for her Christmas pageant next week. 

We’re going to bake cookies and see Santa, the girls are forcing me to listen to Christmas music whenever they’re in the car with me, and it will take exactly no arm twisting whatsoever to get me to consume an eggnog daiquiri. 

I’m planning class Christmas parties and Christmas favors and a gift for the office white elephant exchange.

And of course, there is no shortage of presents to buy for the kids and my coworkers and my parents and friends.

So I guess I’m getting in the spirit? Kind of? 

I never expect Christmas to be better than Thanksgiving in my holiday hierarchy, but this year, I certainly hope it is! (I’m not going to tempt fate by saying it can’t be worse.)

Here’s hoping the rest of December is full of joy and wonder — although at this point, I’d happily settle for just “free of vomit and stress.”

It’s a low bar, but it’s been a rough year, folks. 

If you have any holiday traditions, office gift ideas, or cookie recipes, please send them my way.