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Trillion-dollar answer to million-dollar query

“Are you ready for Christmas?”

Now there’s another question that puts me on panic alert, second only to “Are you cooking?”

I hold my hands up in whoa-not-me mode.

Hold your horses.

N/A. Not applicable.

This time of year everybody asks about your Santa-and-company-coming preparedness.

Everyone seems to have a casual curiosity and vested interest in knowing your Dec. 25 status, the whole holiday drill.

Strangers. Family members. Clerks. Co-workers. They all want the trillion-dollar answer to the million-dollar question.

“All ready for the holidays?”

Not on purpose, I think to myself.

But should I be doing more, I wonder as well. Maybe I missed that memo.

This is a pretty exhausting and stressful question so soon after Thanksgiving when everyone is wanting a full report on how that holiday went. Or maybe not. That November thing is just a formality, after all, a prelude to the really big show.

I’m not sure what I have to get ready for since I no longer have little kids to buy toys for and hide them (the toys, not the kids, mind you).

Better Half and I have basically quit buying gifts for each other, and that’s worked out pretty well, depending on how many Hallmark Christmas movies we watch and how guilt-ridden we feel afterward.

We don’t do Black Friday shopping or cotton much to Cyber Monday.

The only real deals are in a game of cards, right?

Holiday decorating, now that I can handle with ease and a ho-ho-ho or two — multiple trees, strings of light on anything stationary or not, garlands. I’m good with that. All systems go. Ready, set, in that department.

And making Christmas cookies? No problem there either. That’s why God invented bakeries, for heaven’s sake and for mine, too.

I’ve been a little distracted lately, though, which I blame on the holiday season and all the expectations it fuels.

I was in the grocery store the day or so before Thanksgiving, wandering through the aisles.

I was in an anti-turkey frame of mind when I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a while. I think I had Cool Whip and cat food in my buggy.

Her buggy was way full. I felt consumer inferior to all her purchases and then guilty that I wasn’t buying a turkey for Thanksgiving. I was having beef — something that once mooed instead of something that went gobble, gobble.

A “Have a Happy Thanksgiving” later, we parted ways, but passed each other again in another aisle. I still only had cat food and Cool Whip. Her buggy looked way harder to maneuver.

I was glad to check out of there and check in at home before any more of a holiday funk set in.

I plunked down on the couch and decided to watch QVC to remind myself about what I really don’t need or secretly have always desired.

Of all things, it was the wig sale segment. That really got me. I am a computer touch away from having all the styles in all the colors sent straight to my front door when I see all those advertised.

But I refrained.

One of these days, though, probably my biggest death-bed regret will be that I didn’t order one of those wigs.

I shake my head (of my own hair, what there is of it given it’s so short) and sigh. Five easy payments. Free shipping and handling.

I could be a redhead for a day. Then I’d be really ready for Christmas.

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