People. I am SO. tired. Pooped, if you will. It’s six days before Christmas and we have been elfing our freaking socks off around here (whoa…kinda sounds super dirty. Hmm.) and now I’m sleepy.
Christmas, since the beginning of my life, has been a bitch. To start things off, I was born on Christmas. Now this is the single dumbest day of the year to be born. Trying to hold a celebration for little ol’ you in the midst of those two rabid attention-getters, Jesus and Santa, is like trying to have reasonable discourse on Facebook. No one cares. It just isn’t going to happen. So I ended up getting those Christmas/birthday combo presents for a few years, then my parents decided to celebrate on a different day and somehow chose Valentine’s day (?)…I know. I don’t know what was going on there, either.
But that major scheduling conflict was just the beginning. By the time I was actually old enough to engage in the Christmas season, my family had cultivated habits that resulted in all-out, full-tilt calamity every year. It was as if Christmas staged a surprise coup on our household and, every year, we were caught unawares. “Whhhaaaa? Christmas again?!” we’d shout as we took cover behind the recliner. “What will we do?!!”
We’d end up wandering stores on December 23rd, just putting things in the cart in a sort of red-eyed desperation. We’d all go to the store together, then break into groups and go shopping in different combinations so we could buy presents for each other. It was a big, complicated, last-minute, stress-filled exercise in consumerism, which typically ended with us back at home, decorating the tree and arguing, while a Sandi Patty Christmas (anyone?) cassette played in the background.
But that was when I was a kid. Now I’m an adult, and I decided a few years ago that I was going to do Christmas awesome. I was going to plan, and be thoughtful and considerate and contemplate the “reason for the season” and all kinds of rad crap. There would be no panic, no frenzy, no meaningless, obligatory purchases…no, my house would be filled to the brim with good feelings and cinnamon smell. We’d sit around laughing through our eggnog mustaches while classic Christmas songs caressed our ears. We would all smile at how ol’ Duke the dog loved to join when Jingle Bells came on. “Ha ha ha!” we’d say. Just like in the movies.
I would start by making all of my presents by hand. Wouldn’t that be lovely?
Okay, just stop right there. Yes, that is a cute idea. But another way to say it is, “I will start a sweatshop and employ only myself.” It was madness. Madness, I tell you! I was doing so much knitting that my fingers were cramping like I was an 85-year-old arthritic woman. The tips of my fingers throbbed when I finally went to sleep at night. So the next year, I decided to just sew all the presents because, you know, that would be easier. Nope, just as hard. Just as miserable.
So this year, we’re just buying presents. And somehow, it’s still crazy. I started my Christmas list in September, you all. SEPTEMBER! But it doesn’t matter! There is literally no planning day early enough to avoid the insanity that is Christmas. I don’t think it’s just me, either. I mean, that one lady pepper sprayed other shoppers. That’s gotta be a bad omen for our whole society.
I did buy a cinnamon candle, though, so I’ve got that going for me. But I actually really hate eggnog. And we don’t even have a dog. And if we DID have a dog, I’d name him Bilford O’Reily-ahan, not Duke. I don’t know why I thought I could build an idyllic Christmas full of nog-drinking and dog-admiring.
But I AM trying. I’m trying, people, okay? Next year I’ll start my shopping (not just planning) in March. I’ll buy presents and wrap them and stick them in the closet so they’ll be a surprise even to me when Christmas rolls around. By the time my daughter is cognizant of Christmas I’ll have this crap down.