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.