DON'T FORGET TO LAUGH
Egad, It’s Christmas!
Egad. It’s December. That means the dreaded Christmas (forgive me Hanukkah, I was raised a Baptist) is right around the corner. If I could run the other way and escape it, I would.
No, this is not a typical “Bah, Humbug.” It is a sincere “Oh no ” panic. The holidays were obviously invented to shine a spotlight on the shortcomings of people like me. No matter how many times I try to pull the plug, that light keeps on shining.
Oh, where to begin? Okay. Let’s say I go out and buy a beautiful tree. I’ve actually done this in the past. I remember it well because once we got the fluffy tree in the car, there was no seat for Jesse. We hid him on the floorboard under the branches. He was instructed to stay still and be quiet should a policeman pull me over, as there was no seatbelt down where he crouched.
Should the tree make it into the house, where is it to go? There is no room. This sentimental fool has thrown away so much stuff over the past year, yet, boxes and boxes of memories wait to find a closet or shelf to belong. It should be illegal for art teachers (I’m looking at you Ms. Andrus) to let kids create pictures, pottery, or cute ornaments. How the heck can I throw these masterpieces away? The display cabinet is overflowing with these mementos of my sons’ childhoods, damn it
Perhaps with some major shoveling, I can manage to make room for the tree. Then it must be set up. In a stand. Which I must find. I could have sworn it was hanging in the water heater closet. After hours of searching, the tree stand is found and the screw turning, (wasn’t this a torture device?) and the tree leaning begins. So, what if it looks like it’s had a few drinks? The darn thing is vertical. Mostly.
Now, it is expected – no, required – by society, that the tree be decorated. This means hauling out all those boxes with “Christmas” written in black marker on the top and sides. (I’m quite proud of this labeling, thank you.) Then, I get to spend hours pulling out each ornament and saying, even if I’m alone, “Oh, I remember this one.” Overflowing with sweet thoughts of cherished memories, I must find the perfect spot for each ornament.
Size, shape, and color of each dangling memento must be considered. There are only so many “special” places. Some poor thing will be put on the side or hung toward the wall. Yes, my father raised us to decorate even the back of the tree for “The angels will know.”
Oh, good grief. I forgot the lights. Do I drape them around the ornaments, risking a breakage or two? Or do I take the ornaments off first? Hold on tight Santa and gingerbread man. Here come the lights.
Once the tree is up in all its shining beauty, it feels only right to invite friends and relatives over to enjoy the warmth of the holidays. But this means cleaning the house. And I repeat. EGAD. Luckily, experience has taught me how to handle this situation. I will share my method.
First, retrieve solid cardboard boxes (thank you Amazon!) from the box collection in the laundry room. Place an opened box at one end of the coffee table. Using your forearm, gently swoop everything on the surface into the box. If you wear a fuzzy fleece, you get the dusting done at the same time. Repeat as necessary for other surfaces. Then, open the door to the guest bedroom and let the box tossing begin.
For all the junk on the dining room table, another trick must be used. Carefully pull up the four corners of the tablecloth, like a huge hobo bag. Then place this bundle on the stack of boxes in the aforementioned guest bedroom.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Do NOT invite any overnight guests for the holidays.
Once the house is clean (enough), it is time to invite people over. This leads to another problem. They are going to expect to be fed. This can be a daunting task, which may make the whole gathering a “no deal.” But let me share two precious words with you, “covered dish.” Wow, no need to cook or cater. Let your friends, acquaintances, and relatives bring the food to YOU. If they bring wine or some knick-knack, regift it.
Wait a minute. This sounds like a pretty sweet deal. Forget my complaining about the holidays. I can get an artificial tree, leave it up all year, and let the annual parade of food come through the door. Start cooking, folks. Your invitation is in the mail!
Carol Wilber Bradfield
Carol Wilber Bradfield is one of those "Lake People." She snuck into Davidson many years ago when someone left the gate open one night. If seen, please approach carefully and give her a hug... and cash if you have it. Lots of cash. Thank you.