The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Christmas Bipolarity

I’ve had a post brewing in my brain for about a week. So far I’d held back from unleashing it on the world because I didn’t want to hear all the bitching about how I’m a Scrooge and a Grinch and various other nefarious cartoon characters who eventually turn into saps at the end of the movie. Don’t hold your breath, People, I’m not going to grow a heart anytime soon.

But I think my blogging idea canal is clogged with this post and I just need to write it and get the pathway cleared so the other blog topic ideas can start flowing again. Or possibly I need some fiber. One of those two.

The point is: The Winter Holiday Season, and specifically, Christmas, is the worst. AmIright? Don’t answer it. I don’t want to hear about how you love how this time of year brings out the best in people and makes you feel all cheerful and cozy and loved. It’s THE WORST.

(Edited to add: I started this post last week and I think I must have been in a seriously rotten mood. I’m posting this because I still agree with the general content, but wow. Not maybe quite this strongly. Wouldn’t you love to be married to me? #moodinessrulz)

Top Five Things That Suck About Christmas:

1.    Holiday Card Pictures – You know what I’m talking about. Everyone has to dress up in coordinated outfits, assemble at a specific time and place and smile at the same time. In theory, it should take 10 minutes tops. In reality the outfits you spent an entire day trolling the mall to find only fit 3 of the 5 people you purchased them for. In reality you have to bribe the youngest with enough sugar to fuel a space shuttle to Mars to get him to stand there and attempt a smile. In reality, the only picture where everyone in your family looks halfway reasonable and sort of like they might be smiling, is the picture where your second chin is most visible and you look like you have a lazy eye. And that’s what you end up sending out so the people who haven’t seen you in a year will know how you’re doing. That’s the mental picture they’ll have of you.

2.    Holiday Lights – I’m pretty sure the manufacturers of these stupid things are in a secret alliance with the National Association of Divorce Attorneys. Every year after the holiday ends my husband tests each string of lights and carefully winds them individually and puts them neatly away, but every year when he opens up the box labeled ‘Christmas Lights’ they’ve morphed into a seething, tangled vat of mostly dead bulbs, as if they have a mind of their own. That moment when my husband unearths the holiday lights of horror, is when he turns into a cantankerous, angry, holiday hating beast. I can see in his eyes that I turn into the bossy shrew who forces him to endure the light torture every year. It’s a wonder we’ve stayed married through nine holiday seasons so far. I’m convinced it’s an intentional plot.

3.    That person everyone knows who’s ‘all done!’ with shopping and all other holiday prep the day before ThanksgivingOh really? You’re all done with everything? Wow, good for you! You know, I have a special prize for you for being the first one to finish up the eleventy million tasks associated with this holiday. It’s right here in my kitchen. Did you read The Help? No? Oh, great book. Here it is, Minny’s Chocolate Pie, just for you because you’re so special. I got the recipe from that book. Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I have to go back to freaking the eff out about how I’m never going to get it all done and the holiday will be ruined for everyone in my family.

4.    The tacky – For every beautiful and tasteful holiday decoration there’s a hot pink artificial tree with zebra striped ornaments all over it. For every handmade, meaningful ornament you truly love, there’s a dancing Garfield the Cat wearing a Santa hat statue that plays Jingle Bell Rock my four year old cannot. Stop. Making. Go. Off. For every ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Peace on Earth’ there is an Alvin and The Chipmunks’ version of ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’. For every Bob and Doug’s ’12 Days of Christmas’ there’s a Justin Beiber ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’. You can’t hide from the tacky. It’s drowning the cool. It’s killing the meaningful. Pretty soon we’re all going to be wearing matching hoodie/footie’s with cartoon Reindeers all over them and exchanging matching florescent purple Shake Weights. Mark my words.

5.     Guilt over the closing of another year and what I didn’t accomplish in it – Face it, even though the closing of another year is just another human construct that doesn’t really mean anything, we all feel the need to reflect on what we have (and have not) accomplished in the last year. The pounds we didn’t lose judge us from our midsections. The money we didn’t make mocks us from just out of reach. The organizational system we implemented last January remains in the corner we pushed it into mid-February, gathering dust. Sure, maybe things will be different next year, but considering your track record, how likely is that?

(OK, my heart grew a little in the last week. These things still suck, but now that the lights are actually on the tree and the presents are almost all purchased, I’m kind of looking forward to the big day. What can I say; I clearly should be medicated.)

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