The older I get, the faster December creeps into my life and the more I wish I was an organized shopper/planner/hostess/human. Instead, I woke up last week and realized that I have done zero holiday shopping, I have four dinners to host and all of my Christmas decorations are trapped in dusty boxes down in the basement. There are so many lies heaped on us about the holiday season, perhaps it’s just me, but every year seems to bring more expectations and less time to fulfill them. Here are some common sayings that swirl around during this time of year, each bringing their own fallacy.
Wrong. Unless you are a masochist, walking into any store between the dates of November 25th and January 10th, is the most wretched way to spend fifteen hours of your day for the joy of purchasing milk and stocking stuffers. “Look at all these great deals”, I hear people scream from the rafters. I scream back “Look at that lady who just cut you off, stole that toy out of your basket and has back hair peeking out from the top of her halter dress.” Did someone forget to tell her it was seventeen below zero outside? There is absolutely nothing happy about shopping right now. It’s a means to an end. I huff and puff through aisles cursing every person who is not sprinting, throwing items into my cart that will never fit my kids and evil eyeing every single person in the twenty items or less line. It’s forced shopping and it has me in the running for most neurotic human on the planet. I for one am not happy about the shopping.
-Merry and Bright
Nope, neither of these adjectives will work at any point during December. Perhaps a more apt term would be “Grumpy and Irritable”. It may not be inspiring for your holiday cards, but then again maybe it would. Imagine a photo that portrayed what your kids really look like on a morning without Fruity Pebbles, after you have told them they have to go to school regardless of the three feet of snow outside. There you all are, dirty pajamas, young ones screaming and you pulling out what is left of your eyebrows. That’s a holiday card I could really get behind and at no time would it make me feel either merry or bright.
-Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men
Ummm, last I checked there was very little peace anywhere on this planet, even during this, the last month of the year. It’s very likely someone didn’t send the email reminding every dictator to lay down their guns and start feeding the people living in their respective country. Goodwill seems to have been replaced with an overwhelming desire to consume more and give less. When you are willing to stab people with a screwdriver to get the last PlayStation gaming system, my gut feeling is that goodwill was left somewhere in the depths of nothingness along with VCRs and turtleneck dickies.
-Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly
I’m deciphering this to mean decorate your house with lots of expensive crap you have hidden in your basement. Is that about right? In my mind, this phrase takes me back to the early nineteenth century, a fire burning in the hearth, handmade stockings and fresh pine across the mantle. There isn’t anything fresh about our Christmas decor, unless you count the fake foliage I have going up my banister. Honestly, I wouldn’t count that if I were you because it’s been eaten by my puppy and looks more like green shredded toilet paper. Decking our halls includes taping up construction paper cut outs of Santa that don’t resemble Santa and hanging broken ornaments on a threadbare tree. We also have a nice collection of snowmen, some of them maimed from storage, that deck the shelves in our front room. They stay upright for fifteen minutes until the puppy realizes that they taste better than the banister foliage. As you can imagine, magazine editors are knocking down my door with requests to photograph my house at Christmas, it inspires a sense of ‘who gives a crap’, which is really lacking in the decorating world.
The holidays have some really inspiring catch phrases that, year in and year out, fool us into believing that this year will be different. This holiday season I will be organized, inspired, giving and peaceful. This is the Christmas where I won’t drink too much and make inappropriate comments towards my in-laws, goodwill and all. Realistically, it’s just another month out of the year. A month to do your best, love your kids and find small ways to help another person. Another thirty one days to suffer through like the rest of us feeling unprepared, dissatisfied and secretly envious of every homemade treat your neighbors leave on the porch.
So go ahead, take that gorgeous holiday photo and add an unrealistic caption, and then send it to every person who allows you to have their home address. Decorate with low expectations and avoid places that make you want to drink Drano. It’s the season of merchandise highs and alcohol induced lows and you aren’t the only one who wants to hide in a closet with spiked eggnog. In order to survive, we have to remember that it’s just another month, just another holiday season and there is no reason to get in a fist fight over bath towels.