BY SUSAN SCHWARZ, valley dispatch contributor

How time flies when there aren’t enough hours in the day or energy in the body to do what we think we have to do for the holidays.

I hear the grumbles about what still has to be done. Be honest now, I thought about it as I was starting this and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that we really are a driven society. We have to do everything, don’t we? I panic if I have not gotten shopping done by this weekend, the tree up and decorated, the baking done and the presents wrapped. But it’s not going to happen.

Why can’t we do things slowly and enjoy them as we go. Why make cookies Dec. 1 only to eat them, remake them and complain that we are gaining weight? Make them when you know you will have company and let others enjoy, too. They can use the weight better than you.

Clean the house, why? As mom used to say, clean the kitchen and the bathroom before company. Decorations catch the attention and the lights are low, besides everyone is in the same state and if they want to see a clean house, don’t come to the party.

Presents, well that is a tougher point but again, I remember when we were little and my grandmother decided that she wanted us to enjoy her gifts. She created a great way to insure that we remembered what she gave us by waiting until the holidays were over and the down time started. Then suddenly, small things in bright paper would arrive, sometimes by mail, sometimes when we visited, sometimes by another relative. Never expensive, never overwhelming but always appreciated because there was nothing else to open.

The crayons and coloring books were used that day, the paints that arrived later along with the blank paper or the cars and handmade doll dresses were toys that got immediate and direct attention. Sometimes they lasted for weeks. We missed those thoughtful little things more than anything after she began to celebrate the holidays with her heavenly family.

Now if I could only convince my family to think about this. How far would I get? The house, that will go OK. The cooking — it’s only for a couple of days. Presents? Maybe now if wrapping is ignored, that would be heaven. I hate to do that! Again, I go back to growing up and Santa never wrapped. How else did we know what came from mom and dad and what from Santa?

I used to do that but now, well Santa comes to their houses, not mine, so wrap I must, but I still hate it. The heck with it. I am going to sit and read for a while. Want to join me?

The Myth of You and Me by Leah Stewart kept me reading long after I should have gone to bed. It was not exciting, not nerve-wracking and not one filled with violence and horror. It was the story of friendship that ended. It was the story of two young women, closer than sisters, sharing everything until one event drove them apart. Cameron was never the same and it isn’t until she is forced into searching for Sonia Cameron that she begins to mull over what caused the break. During her search, she reconnects with others from her past, learning and growing as she continues. It is amazing what a reader might learn just traveling with Cameron.

Yes the Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly is in and yes it is as good as the reviews indicate. It is different from his usual books and more involved than you might expect if you just read a review. I am not going to tell you more; read it.

See you soon.

Susan Schwarz is the director of Dracut’s Moses Greeley Parker Library.