TOP TEN THINGS about the Holidays that give my brain frostbite and take the swag out of my eggnog… Sorry ahead of time for bearing my Grinch teeth so close to the big day, but I just have to vent. Then move on.
#10. The Christmas letter. Haven’t written one in…ten years. Got tired of trying to sum up my year on one page in a way that sounds carefree enough to cheer up my friends but not so smiley that it leaves the readers thinking I never stub my toe. My left heel is throbbing as we speak. I know. You’re wondering what the heck does my heel have to do with my toe? I promised I’d give a shout out to my podiatrist. Wuz up Alan!
Moving right along.
#9. The Christmas picture. Getting all four kids to look at the camera, smile, hug like they never fight and not blink on the 101st take. Too much pressure!
#8. The Christmas card. Writing personal notes, stuffing it with the picture and the letter and all those addresses and stamps and the long lines at the post office and then…the deadline. Must mail by December 10th in order to arrive on time for Christmas! The anxiety drains the last ounce of holiday cheer from my face by the time I reach the post office counter where I am a hot mess and even the employee behind the counter seems afraid to ask me if I want fries with that. I mean extra stamps. You get my point.
#7. The Christmas lights. Finding them in the attic. Then untangling them. Only to plug them in and discover that every other bulb does not light up. Then stringing them around the tree and ending up at the top only to realize that you started at the wrong end, and an extension chord jutting out from the star is just not happening if you’re thinking trend starter. It looks gaudy not to mention the choking hazard it causes for your taller guests visiting from out of town.
#6. And don’t even get me started on outdoor lights. The ones you nearly break your neck hanging along your rooftop. Then leave up for six months, because you’re too lazy to take them down. At some point, you may as well leave them up for next Christmas.
#5. The Christmas music. Not all of it, but the songs that the radio DJ’s fall in love with and play so often, you go to bed with visions of trampled grannies and antler-bent reindeer dancing in your head…which by the way is highly offensive to the grandmas out there with perfectly clean driving records. Oh wait, that grandma was walking home from our house… Never mind.
#4. The Stocking. I mean come on. There’s enough pressure out there to fill all the space under the tree with gifts galore, but then to have to find knick-knacks that just add clutter to fill stockings for the family, the dog, the cat, the fish, and the hamster. I don’t think so.
#3. The tree. Okay. I love the moment the tree first comes home. It smells sooo nice. The whole house smells like the forest in Twilight. What? Did you miss the 4D cinema experience? Anyway, a day later, those lovely conifers begin to shed worse than a dog. Not that I’ve ever had a dog, but each day, I see them. Everywhere! These little tiny greenish brown pine needles that travel mysteriously as far as my sock drawer. And no matter how many times I sweep, I always find more. The next day. The next month. All the way up to the next Christmas.
#2. The gifts. The ones you have to buy for the people who have everything. And the ones you receive and have no idea what to do with. Especially the ones that come from a person who will know if you donate, ditch or re-gift them.
#1. The greeting. I have no problem with sharing the season with all kinds of holidays and celebrations. Hanukah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, and…ummm…wait for it…wait for it…Christmas. There you have it. There’s room for all of us, and even for those who want to keep it simple and go with “holiday.” Just please don’t give me a rock in my stocking for saying, “Merry Christmas” on December 25th. I need that stocking for next year. Else my imaginary mantel over my non-existent fireplace will look lopsided, and the hamster that I don’t have will get more gifts than me. Not that I’m counting or anything.
So to all my readers out there that are frantically and/or joyfully preparing for the coming holidays, I want to wish you all a wonderful season of happy times, yummy eats, hugs and ha ha’s. Whatever traditions you cherish this time of year, enjoy them! But more than anything you unwrap this December, consider the gift giver and how priceless the relationship is.
Perhaps even consider starting a new tradition: where you give to someone who lacks the basics that we take for granted and can only give back a smile or a thank you. Someone whose face you might never see. Someone whose stress this winter is not whether the tree sits too close to the couch obstructing the view of A Charlie Brown Christmas, but rather if there will be clean water to drink this very day.
For the record, I really think this is the most wonderful time of the year. I love getting all the colorful cards, pictures and letters in the mailbox, especially when snail mail seems headed to a museum display next to pay phones. I just had to let certain things go when my wonderful became blunder-ful and no longer fun-derful. And all along, all I wanted to do was keep it Son-derful. Happy Birthday Jesus!
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