Originally published Sunday, December 1, 2019 at 06:54p.m.

I got on a ladder. Breaking all of my own rules, I was home alone when I marched up three steps, grabbed a platter off of a shelf, and I am thrilled that I am alive to tell you about it! Ladder accidents and holidays go together like eggnog and rum. It’s all good, until it is not. Oh, and don’t drink and climb.

Each year, there is a shocking 164,000 emergency room treated injuries in the U.S! Hanging Christmas lights, fetching things from a high shelf, heck, grabbing the butter dish can result in catastrophe. Be careful, Dear Readers!

Tis the Season to get the ladder, trim the tree, bake, cook and shop. On Thanksgiving we had to eat early because a few of our younger family members had places to go. Where might that be? Stores with bright lights and big sales have enticed Americans to ditch the pumpkin pie and start shopping early.

I don’t complain, because I suppose consumerism is the “new way” and people, family and friends will do their “own thing.” So after the “big meal” on Thanksgiving I guess walking off that turkey and stuffing to do some serious shopping has become a new tradition for many. I was asked to join in the on the fun, but declined. That eggnog was pretty good in the quiet of our home.

Thanksgiving came late this year, so our days of shopping have been seriously reduced. I love to go to stores and shops during the holidays to bask in the beautiful atmosphere, the amazing decorations and even enjoy the loud Christmas carols blaring throughout the stores! There is no time like this and even if you are not a shopper —go out and take in the spectacle of the Season.

Oh, Juniper tree, how we love you! Yes, the “mystery tree” just north of Sunset Point on I-17 is once again, decorated for Christmas. Sitting in the middle of the median of the highway, the 20-foot high tree has been adorned with candy canes, ribbons, red balls and a glittering star. Who does this tree trimming? No one knows. The AZ Department of Transportation has said they have “no idea” who is responsible for decorating the tree — for over 30 years! This summer we almost lost the tree to a brush fire which burned up to a few feet of the tree, shutting down the freeway. The tree was miraculously spared. Elves at work?

Speaking of elves, I know of many a parent who has propped up the “elf on a shelf” to peer down at the kids, making sure they are “good.” The idea of constantly being watched by Santa’s little helper might make the holidays a little less naughty. However, my niece was on a ladder setting the elf on a pot shelf when she took a spill. Luckily, she and elf are fine.

Hang the holly with care. Need a ladder? Beware. Sip spiked eggnog if you dare. The holidays are here.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.