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For almost 35 years as Christmas approached, I worked my derrière off as I listened to clients stress out and complain about the holiday season: In-laws they didn’t like yet had to host; parents or their new spouses they didn’t like; kids that were challenging; presents they were obliged to buy; not enough time or money and no idea what to get anyone on their long list.

After six weeks of listening to this, I was Grinched out and in a “Merry Effin Christmas” mood, myself.

Now that I’ve retired, the last two years have been completely different. My shopping is simple. I buy something edible and Texas-authentic for each of my sisters. I give my son one gift I know he’ll love, and my partner and I plan a special trip – this year to Mexico. We spend our time with people we love, doing what we love, and this year it was all packed into a whirlwind 72 hours!

We began our holiday weekend by driving to San Antonio for lunch with a very dear friend. We took her to one of our favorite restaurants on the outskirts of the city where we ate, drank delicious Dirty Martinis, and talked non-stop for a fun-filled, three-hour lunch! Although it was the first time she and my partner had met, it was as if they were instantly old friends!

The next morning was Christmas Eve, and my sweetie’s daughter came to our motorhome for brunch before leaving to hike and camp in Big Bend. That evening we had dinner with his son’s family, where everyone ate gluten-free lasagna… just for me. It was delicious!

We also attended the annual pot-luck Christmas Party our friends have hosted for the past 10 years. A decade of fun, food, and frivolity! My son met us there, and since his Dad was in town, he was invited to join us, too. Having just lost one of our group to cancer, I noticed at this year’s bash everyone has begun saying, “I love you,” more earnestly, looking into each other’s eyes. And there were a lot more bear-hugs as everyone parted company.

Maybe age gives us wisdom and perspective after all, because loving one another is ultimately what the season is about.

XO, Donna


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Donna O’Klock spent 35 years in the beauty business, talking, teaching, and learning. These days, she’d “rather write than talk. It’s better that way because I can edit.” She writes two blogs, and, and is the author of  Sick and Tired & Sexy: Living Beautifully with Chronic Illness.

Austin, Texas, has been her home since 1978, but she and her fiancé have downsized and are traveling the country in their RV.

4 thoughts on “HAPPIER NEW YEAR!”

  1. I loved my lunch and dirty martinis with you and your wonderful man! What a great afternoon! I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed our time together. Don’t forget my guest room and more martinis are here for you. xoxox, Brenda

  2. And a Happy New Year to you, Contessa!! I remember my Mom would look at me and say, “Oh, to be your age… knowing what I know now!”
    XO Donna

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