Saturday, December 17, 2005

A week before Christmas and all through the house...

I wish people would stop asking me if I’m ready for Christmas.

They are referring, of course, to the preparations. For the longest time I’d play along, like our holiday was so overwhelmingly fantastic that it would be out of the realm of reason to think I could possibly be done at this early date. Or that my role in the holiday was so centrally important that all of Christmas hinged on the state of my preparedness. Perhaps, at the time, I actually felt that way.

I guess it was sort of an ego boost thinking that this little group of people was looking to me to make the holiday happen.

After awhile, though, I realized what I considered important was vastly different from the rest of the family. No one remembered the fifteen varieties of cookies I baked one year. No one remembered the painstakingly wrapped gifts from another. No one really remembered how or what gifts were presented when. While a tree is mandatory and I do miss the crèche being up this year, no one cares that I didn’t spend the three hours required to twine greenery, ornaments and lights up the banister and set up the snow globe presentation complete with lights and garland.

When he was eight years old, Heir 1 pointed out to me that one of his memories is that the days before Christmas I was “very mad.”


I feel a Mommy Dearest book coming on…

And so I began toning down my Christmas extravaganzas. For those of you burned out or feeling guilty this week before Christmas, here are some of my hints to come through this without having a nervous breakdown:

  1. Gather up the mats of dog hair in the corner and wipe up the coffee drips in the kitchen and call it clean. We’re four people in a tiny house with four dogs. This is never going to be a Better Homes kind of place.
  2. Your Christmas lights should not blow a fuse. Even in this house where you can’t run the washer and vacuum at the same time. If you can see your house glow from the Interstate, it’s time to cut back on the icicle lights.
  3. Target bag are red and white, as good a Christmas wrapping as any you can buy.
  4. O-R-E-Os. They come in red and green at Christmas!
  5. Save the braised stuffed Cornish hens in orange glaze for a day that your galley kitchen is not wall to wall with people. A spiral-cut ham is a beautiful thing (even if your brother has a thing about pork) that requires hardly any effort and you can slap it on a roll and call it a “buffet.”
6. Just Say, "No."

And, my most important toned-down holiday hint:

2 part Tanqueray, 1 part Martini and Rossi dry, three olives.

Yeah. I’m ready for Christmas!


jon said...

Target bags! BRILLIANT!

Dark Garden said...

Unfortunately you should be unable to escape your destiny. Oh, you can write and write about cutting corners, and cutting back on baking and cooking. However... When it comes down to it... There are certain expectations. We, The Peoples Jordan Drive Liberation Front have compiled a list. Here are our demands:

1. Lots of lights and other old senseless xmas decorations; including decorations that are so deteriorated and missing pieces that no one even knows what it is anymore.

2. 15 types of cookies!!! Home made! With the original presses! Including cookies that tend to not be eaten because they taste strange, but they are made every year anyway.

3. On display somewhere should be that big, fat, huge Italian cake/bread that no one will touch. (I'm thinking cause we never knew if it was cake or bread to begin with. The box is pretty though.

4. Fred Waring IS God.

5. Lou Monte is Jesus.

6. Wassail! One more time around the dining room table to hear that familiar clatter of those dishes in the china cupboard!

Eeeks! No more! YORK! Forget everything I just wrote!

Get me an OREO!

Spicy McHaggis said... Heir 2, I would just like to ask this: Why has it taken you this long to figure out that our house is not going to be/stay clean?