Christmas Plate

This morning I noticed a Christmas plate still sitting on the kitchen counter. On the plate are three Spritz cookies, a light dusting of sugar, a few red and green sprinkles, a bite of a molasses cookie snowman, and three candy canes still in their plastic sleeve wrapping. It is a sad sight.
I baked for days this year: Spritz cookies using my old cookie press, my ex-mother-in-law’s rolled molasses cookies for the kids, brownies, muffins, Oreo balls, white chocolate covered pretzels and Chex mix we call Puppy Chow. I ate more than I should, of course, and I refuse to get on the scale. I’m simply going to eat salads and fat free, sugar free pudding for a week and exercise daily. Then I will look at the number below my feet.
I glance at it again. Why did we leave small tidbits of sweets on the tray? Why didn’t someone eat the last three cookies? Why didn’t we throw them out? Is it symbolic? Is it our attempt to hang on to the season and what it represents? The hopes, excitement, and anticipation over the past month of everything we thought might come to pass? If the plate is empty, is it over? The plate will be washed and dried and tucked away. It will not be used again until December of next year when we bake again, plan again, celebrate again.
I tuck the sad looking morsels into a small bit of plastic wrap; I can’t seem to throw them in the garbage or the disposal, but I can’t seem to eat them either. So they will sit on the counter getting drier and harder each day. They will sit, along with a partial roll of wrapping paper leaned against the wall, some left over bows that the cat plays with periodically, a decoration I forgot to box and a half ounce of champagne in the refrigerator. Christmas is over for this year. And as badly as we don’t want it to end, we’re so very ready.

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