Sometimes it’s hard to be of good cheer around the holidays. There’s just so much pressure. I can’t be alone in this, right? So because there’s nothing more satisfying than schadenfreude, here’s my Christmas gift to you: the stressors of the season (at least in my corner of the world).
1. Stocking stuffers for boys.
I can always put nail polish, lip gloss, and other assorted girly crap in my daughter’s stocking but once the boys outgrew Hot Wheels, I’ve been pretty much screwed for them. They want a lot of stuff that would fit in the stocking but who calls a Nintendo DS game, at $40+ a stocking stuffer? So the oldest is likely getting shaving cream and the youngest is getting deodorant. Santa mama has a thing for personal hygiene and no better ideas than grooming items. Can’t wait to see the looks on their faces when they unwrap those bad boys. Which leads to…
2. Wrapping everything (and I do mean everything since I swear my husband thinks Santa’s elves do this).
I may buy less this year just to avoid wrapping it all. And if you are one of those disgustingly together people who has everything already wrapped neatly and sporting a decorative bow, know that I hate you. I end up wrapping everything on Christmas Eve—at midnight after church. Towards the end I am wrapping three, four, and five things together. And wrapping paper? Nope. I’ve been reduced to folding shopping bags over and taping them shut. (Thanks for teaching me that strategy dad. ON the plus side, I think that qualifies me as reusing those awful plastic bags so I am even being good for the environment when I get lazy.)
3. The pressure of writing the Christmas letter.
I mean seriously! Have I made us look more successful and blessed than everyone else we know and if not, how can I
lie finesse it so we
do? (OK, if you know me, you know this
is a fib. I never sugar coat anything in
the annual letter. If one of us suffered
from hemorrhoids, it would likely make the unvarnished truth letter I
write. But I’ve had people say they
actually enjoy reading my letter and the pressure that causes is pretty
large.) Plus, I’m getting old and so
trying to remember anything notable (and not just cribbing it from Facebook
where everyone has already seen it) has gotten hard. One of these years, I’m going to make it all
up and see who figures out I’m lying first.
4. Making Christmas goodies.
So one year when I had trouble with the stockings (do you sense a theme?) because the boys were too young for shaving cream and deodorant but too old for toy cars, I decided to food in the stockings. And not just any food but homemade food. Now they ask for, and expect, Buckeyes and Tuscan cheese straws, both of which are not hard but are labor intensive. Do you have any idea how many times I have to stuff these in the fridge to cool for an hour to get them to the proper, workable temperature? And how many times do you think I remember to pull them out in a timely manner? If you guessed zero for the latter question, you clearly get me. So I have to commit many, many days to making these treats, days I don’t really have to devote to my kitchen if anyone wants to find gifts under the tree or socks and underwear in their stockings.
Just the thought of it makes me tired. I have a minimum of 6 oversized Rubbermaid bins to schlep from the basement to start my decorating. And I don’t have enough flat surfaces to display all of the interesting things I’ve accumulated over the years so I have to cram it, shuffle it, and tweak it to try and make it all fit. And it never looks good. I was lamenting the fact that I don’t have a picture that I can follow like a blueprint to make it all that much easier but then I realized I haven’t yet come up with a display that I want to replicate next year yet and that’s probably why I’ve never photographed it.
6. Christmas music on permanent loop.
My daughter loves it so it’s on in the car for a month or more. And there are some decidedly strange Christmas songs out there (Dominick the Donkey, anyone?). But let me be perfectly clear on this: “My Favorite Things” is not now and has never been a bloody Christmas song. Julie Andrews doesn’t even sing it around Christmas in the movie. She sings it to calm scared children during a bleeping thunderstorm. Not a snow storm. A thunderstorm. Just because it mentions warm woolen mittens does not make it a Christmas song. So quit playing it on the Christmas music stations or I can’t be help responsible for my actions. And while we are on the topic of music, could someone burn all copies of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” for me? It was a dreadful song way back when they created it and there’s no reason for it to continue to assault our ears now. In answer to its central question, I’d wager they don’t know it’s Christmas, especially since the original countries for which it was meant to raise relief money are not predominantly Christian anyway. I have no problem with the charitable impulse behind it but I prefer not to suffer through this poorly written and musically egregious mess every December. And don’t get me started on rebooting the ridiculous song again this year. What ever happened to originality?
Dear Bob Geldof,
This song is broken but please don’t fix it.
Done With This Song
7. The neighbor’s Christmas lights.
I put a wreath on the front door. I even put a few cute decorations beside the door. But I don’t do lights (my cursing vocabulary is good enough already, thank you very much). When all the neighbors decorate with lights and my kids suggest our dark house makes it seem as if we are Jewish, I am unimpressed. (As a side note, their great-grandfather was Jewish so I can blame the lack of lights on him. That and the circumcisions. ::evil grin::) And have you ever tried to back out of a driveway with the glare of Christmas lights blinding you from across the street? It’s enough to make you want to summon the Grinch.
8. Assembling the Christmas tree.
Yes, we have a fake tree. And while it doesn’t drop needles all over the floor and ruin my vacuum, it takes a degree in engineering and an understanding of the not quite English (or better yet the strange wordless diagrams) that directions seem to have perfected to get the dumb thing up. If it’s a pre-lit tree (ours is because if I have to wrestle with the tree, I am not turning around and stringing lights on it too), making all the branches light up only happens once in a blue moon when hell freezes over. And that’s on a good year.
9. Christmas outfits.
Have you seen the internet story on the teacher who wore the same clothes on picture day for something like twenty years? I don’t see what’s so special about that; I’m closing in on him. I have worn the same Christmas outfit for the last eight years or so now and don’t foresee anything changing any time soon. Switching my outfit would entail shopping and heaven knows that the mall in December is a punishment beyond anything I’ve *ever* done. See, I do believe in “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” (except when speaking of that wretched song mentioned above).
10. Company Christmas parties.
Have I mentioned I hate shopping for outfits and dressing up? Add to that the fact that I hate people. And small talk. And they always have seafood appetizers. (Fish are friends, not food.) So it’s a less than joyous occasion when my husband announces the date of his company Christmas party every year. I have to dress up in fancy clothes, make small talk with people I see once a year at most and with whom I have nothing in common, and I have to endure yucky food, long, unfunny, jokey speeches, and a drunk bigwig. Every year. Doesn’t that sound fun?
Is it any wonder that I have trouble getting into the holiday spirit every year? Though whether you share the things that stress me out or have your own, I hope that you (and I) find some happiness and peace in the season—before we have to face the idea of New Year’s Resolutions and all.
Thank you, Kristen! Snark. This is why we get along so well. :)
Visit Kristen at her blog, BookNAround!