Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Conundrums

In the hope of commiseration, I’m doing a contest. I’m sharing a few things that haven’t fallen into holiday perfection for me this year and for your response, I’m giving away a free latex pillow, ($99 in value, and priceless in comfort) because we all need our sleep more than ever this time of year. If you comment on my blog, I’ll enter your name in the drawing. If you haven’t been a follower and become one, I’ll put your name in again. Just become a follower and then leave a comment and tell me your name and that you became a follower! I’ll draw out the winner in one week. In your comments, I’d love to hear about your humorous Christmas Conundrums or any suggestions you have for us when you read ours! Merry Christmas preparation everyone! :)

I love Christmas. I breathe it in. It gets under my skin. Jingle bells tinkle, yes tinkle, in my head all through December. I believe in a certain type of magic. There’s some kind of magic in the air at Christmastime. How else do you explain the joint excitement and charity of so many at once?
I’m not quite as angelic in my love for Christmas as you might think though. My favorite thing about it is not as selfless and generous as some. My favorite thing is spoiling the heck out of my kids. Bear in mind that we all have a different definition of “spoiling the heck out of”. There’s the degree of spoiling in which you are considering starving children in third world countries and berating yourself for the amount of gifts you have stuffed in the top shelves of the closet. Or there’s the degree of spoiling in which your child’s friend from school tells you that they’re going on a family trip to Europe for the holidays, so they aren’t getting much by way of presents, just a Porsche and a pony. ;) You can go from berating yourself to checking amazon.com for ponies in a quick hurry.
A week ago, I was doing the usual late night internet window shopping. I waited until Ryan Edward was not quite asleep, but was drowsy and drunk on ESPN because I didn’t want him judging me on my obsession with Christmas shopping. Then I checked the website that I’d had my eye on for months. The only website with the only boots that my almost teenage daughter wants for Christmas. Stop thinking there are similar boots elsewhere because there are NOT. How do I know for sure? Hours of fruitless research.
The pictures of the lovely boots, the furry, colorful, trendy, stylish boots were all overshadowed with the evil, evil phrase “back ordered”. Nooooooooooo! I started attacking the keyboard like one of those mysterious computer genius guys does when he’s diverting missiles in the nick of time. My missile, however, was not to be diverted. The boots are simply unavailable until January. The only way they’ll be under the tree for my daughter on Christmas morning is if I go out and hunt down a hot pink grizzly bear and shape its fur into boots with my own two hands. That’s one of the solutions I considered as I lay awake until the AM hours, fretting about it. Of course I know that’s really silly, which is why I’m now making jokes about it. I ended up explaining to my daughter, and she is happy to wait until January, even though the boots are her most wanted present. She’ll be more than fine. We’re very blessed and we remind ourselves of that all of the time.
Still, Christmas with all of his wonderment does have its challenges, or rather; we have our challenges at Christmastime. It can hardly be blamed on Christmas itself.
Most years I manage to coax Ryan Edward up onto the roof to hang the lights. He dreads doing it and I dread nagging, but neither of us want to see our house go un-twinklefied for Christmas, so we finally… and by finally I mean after several snows and about the time the weather is at its all-time most frozen… begin the task. Ryan climbs up on the ladder, scowling to imply that this is all my fault. I stand below and throw things to him, yelling up to him that there has to be a better way to do this than the way we do. This year I bought big, multicolored lights. They remind me exactly of the ones my Dad would put up when I was little (except they’re LED). We plugged them in, and made certain they worked. Ryan scowled. I yelled up to him to take a close look at the neighbors lights from up there and try to decipher what their secret is for training each individual bulb to stand at uniform attention like obedient little soldiers.
“Throw me the push broom,” Ryan calls, “I’m going to try to sweep the snow off before I climb up onto the highest peak of our frozen roof.”
“Mom! My hands are cold,” Derek says in the near crying voice, because both he and his brother insist on watching their Dad do… well, absolutely everything that he’s doing.
“Put them in your pocket,” I say as I run for the broom.
On the count of three I throw the broom up to Ryan. He scowls and tells us all to back up while he sweeps the snow off. So far he has one strand of lights up, the sun is long gone, and the cold air is biting through my thick coat like it’s a carnivore. Ryan may sweep the roof, but the ice that remains is about to sweep his leg more perilously than that punk from Karate Kid did to Ralph Machio.
I finally give in and tell him to come down, in my grouchy voice. Despite that, he finishes putting up a second strand from the relative safety of the ladder. This leaves the job about 2/5 done. He comes down and plugs the lights in to observe. I’m suspicious that he may well leave the half complete job plugged in just to bask in the joy of what he’s accomplished so far. I begin planning what delicious calories I can drown myself in to make up for this experience. Then I look up. The entire first strand, the only one that went up fairly easy, is as dark and bleak and dead as the Grim Reaper. Ryan need not swear aloud. His every movement is a swearword as he hoists the ladder back to the beginning and jostles each light as if a good shaking will make them obey. They are unafraid. I’m desperate enough to administer CPR to each bulb if only it would help, but apparently they are Do Not Resuscitate.
We walk in the house. I dare not complain or suggest anything further. I talk about how happy I am for our heat, and doesn’t that warm air feel amazing as it surrounds you the minute you walk inside. Though I do it out of fear of sending Ryan over the edge… it is true. The warmth and safety of our home does feel good, even without the awning lined in big, multi-colored lights. I don’t know if we’ll attempt it again this year. You have to weight it all. The starving children against the kids with the vacations and ponies. You have to look at the Christmas list in all its splendor. The things that get crossed off because their done, and the things that get crossed off because the lights died on the table, and chances are when almost everything is crossed off for one reason or another, you might realize that none of it mattered much at all. That there’s something else that didn’t even make the list and it makes the whole thing seem small by comparison. In that way Christmas is no different than any other day. It’s all about figuring out what’s most important… I just really want to figure it out under multi-colored lights.

22 comments:

Jana said...

You know how I love everything from your store!! Pick me!!

The Hone's said...

I wish my husband would even attempt the light situation, i'm usually the one to put a few out on our porch, but this year I've even yet to attemp that. Sad, but true.

Amy said...

Aaahhhh the lights! I usually put them up, but we need new ones and I didn't want to ask for new lights and a new tree!

Ariel Gee Lynn said...

Amie, I'm not sure if I am a follower, or how to become one. (I havent joined the blogging scene yet.) However, just watned to stop by and let you know that I love your writing. I honestly look forward to it every Monday! Thanks for posting :) Merry Christmas to you and your family. Send Aunt Sandra our love!! We love you guys.

Lindsee Shipp said...

This is my favorite time of the year. I cant believe that it is here and will be gone before we know it... I didn't know you have a store. What is it called?

Scruffy said...

All the lights, the trees, the decorations, really do tend to be a pain in the a#@. But, when the little ones eyes light up, and they are trying their hardest to behave, just incase an elf or Santa himself might be watching...and then the quiet time spent in the glow of those lights either just thinking or holding the ones you love while Jon Schmidt or Paul Cardall plays softly in the background....makes all the frantic running around, pain in the butt things worth it this time of year.

Candace said...

Amie...I am having the same issues with my daughters most wanted present this year. But she is only 7 and will NOT understand why it is not under the tree on Christmas morning. Bless your sweet child for understanding! :) We have yet to attempt the light fiasco this year and to tell you the truth all of our neighbors more than make up for our dark and scrooge like home and so I might be ok with no lights this year!! Merry Christmas to your cute family.

~Christine~ said...

Love your story, Love your writing! Thanks for sharing a part of yourself each week!

Cheryl said...

Ha! I keep weighing whether it is "too" late to put up lights now that 7 whole days have passed. I want them up. But it is COLD! We already had to strip every light off our "pre-lit" tree and then string it with more lights so we could avoid the purchase of a new tree! And just to let you know, they fasten the lights on pre-lit trees, really well! Merry Christmas! Oh, and I started following you, too...way back when you started ;)

cathyg said...

I've been reading your blog faithfully but wasn't an official follower until today. You know how much I love your writing--you are amazing.
And...are you absolutely sure the boots can't be found anywhere else? I happen to have a talent for shopping and have friends I should be a professional shopper. I could try..... :)

Duncan Family Blog said...

Amie,
I have loved reading your blog. Anyone that not only understands, but loves the small town hill billy ways of Ferron gets my vote. As for Christmas lights...when we finally got around to taking ours down this year we were closer to Christmas than not. My husband and I voted to leave them up. ( I know I know, so redneck) Our once vibrant red, green, yellow and best of all purple lights are now an ugly shade of lemons, limes and oranges. Looking on the bright side, maybe if we leave them up for one more year they will be faded to white for next Christmas! Keep up the good work.

Duncan Family Blog said...

I'm also a new follower. Look at me be so techno.

Amie said...

Thanks for all of your comments guys! I welcome them ALWAYS! :) I wish I could give you all free pillows! :) And LOOK! My number of followers is growing! Looks good to potential publishers, yes??? :) Thanks!

Tanner and Kristin said...

Amie, I'm an official follower! Can't believe I wasn't before. Those blasted Christmas lights. We started and failed and started again and then ripped them all down. Needless to say, I'm ok with red and green can-lights outside this year. As long as it's warm and cheery and bright and happy inside, I'm counting myself lucky. I love you...and I love reading EVERYTHING you right. Merry Christmas, my friend.

Grandma Sony said...

Amie - not a new follower - just a faithful, loving one. We had our lights all out ready to hang when the house caught fire - now we are counting our blessings and enjoying reading your blog. Christmas will not be @ home this year - and maybe not even Valentine's day - but I am not homeless and I still know where the true joy of this season comes from. No fire nor smoke can take that from me. Keep up the good work - and never, ever change who you are ! Just thanks for sharing that with us :)

Tanner and Kristin said...

Write...not right. Wow! Maybe I've been out of a school a few too many years ;)Or, rather, maybe I should proofread BEFORE I submit!

Markus Gibson said...

I am following and commenting on your blog with hopes that one day you may be published....If I do not happen by some small, tiny miracle to NOT win the pillow, perhaps when you make your first million you might be so kind as to ship one my way! :) Get er Done!

Natalie said...

I am a follower already, I love reading your posts, so much I never knew about you. It is fun to read about friends from home.
Keep it up.

Stef said...

I never get outside lights unless I put them up. There is no talking Darin into putting outside lights up. Darn guy!

Merry Christmas cute girl!!

*Kelly Dawn* said...

I've been a follower for a while and PROUD of it:) As for my Christmas Conundrum. This happened QUITE a few years back! The last Christmas we spent in Ferron was the winter of 94'. My dad and Bart had been living in Kemmerer for a while and came home for the holidays. Needless to say, it was going to be quite a bit colder in Kemmerer then we were used to in Ferron. So for Christmas, us kids got new coats in preperation! This was right around the time when double zippers came out. Bart and I had ours on and were modeling them for Tara, who was camcording our Christmas! In the back ground you hear a prepubescent squeak saying "M-O-O-O-M-M-M-M-M, I can't get this dang zipper undone!" It is still a running joke in our family :D

Jullie said...

My Christmas condundrum is the Christmas letter. Blah! I LOVE to read letters from faraway family and friends. I love to hear it all- fun things that happened over the year, silly stories, sad updates that need to be mentioned, community or church service positions, etc. Add a family picture in the envelope and I am excited!!! I love it!

BUT I HATE writing our own family letter. "Do we sound prideful? Is our life too boring to make note of? Are we underachievers? Do we sound like bragging overachievers?" These are questions I ask myself as I try to prepare my own family's Christmas letter. Add the stress of trying to find a picture that nicely represents my family to send to people that haven't seen us in years and it's overload for me! Here it is the middle of December and I still haven't gotten it done. Two different years, I even copied the pictures, wrote the letter, and still didn't send them out because I hated our family picture and couldn't seem to stick the picture in the envelopes those years. There you go, my Christmas Conundrum! The dreaded annual letter!

Christy said...

"Ryan need not swear aloud. His every movement is a swearword..."

There has never been a more perfect description about what hanging lights on the house results in! Ha ha! Bruce told me he'd hang the lights today if I wanted them up, but he was in such a good mood, I didn't want to spoil it. So I told him we didn't need them this year. :)