News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 23, 2013

LIZ CIANCONE: Ready or not, big day has arrived

Liz Ciancone
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — It’s about this time every winter when greetings cease to be “Merry Christmas” with the added question, “Are you all ready for the big day?”

My answer, after returning the holiday wishes, is always, “Is anyone ever ready?” Certainly I do not number among those who have it all purchased, gift-wrapped and ready under a beautifully decorated tree for the grand opening on Christmas morning. Somehow, no matter how early I start, or how carefully I try to plan, I always end up with just one more thing to do, one more thing to bake, or one more thing to buy, wrap and place.

This may harken back to being raised during the Great Depression. I don’t remember anything great about it, but it did encourage my family to plan and save and consider before even beginning to claim full readiness for Christmas.

I go back to “an orange in the toe of my sock” days. There were a lot of hand-made and home-made gifts. My favorite was a rag doll “Mandy” Mom made for my for my sixth Christmas. I loved that doll and firmly believed that it had been hand-crafted for me by Mrs. Claus as she sat around the fire with Santa at their North Pole home. Mandy was such a favorite that I am not sure I have ever been entirely disabused of that fiction.

I also remember a rather small, hand-braided rug Mom made one year for Dad. It was intended to be placed on his side of the bed so that he could get up at night and not have to put his bare feet on a cold floor. Mom had saved bits and pieces of woolen material and cut up strips of Dad’s old suite or woolen coats Ed and I had outgrown to make the rug. However, our collie, Lady, discovered the warmth of a woolen rug and adopted it. Dad was as apt to step out of bed and onto a dog as he was to hit the rug.

So, eventually, the rug ended up at the front door with Lady fully adopting ownership.

So, sadly, I am not really ready and I shower silent curses down on a calendar which has arranged three major holiday celebrations in less than five weeks.

Maybe Thanksgiving will come a bit earlier in 2014 and time will be less hectic.

Still, ready or not, here she comes. Happy Christmas to all.

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send email to