It’s December and officially the start of my favorite time of year. I love Christmas. I’m *that* person. I love the trees, the lights on houses, the excitement in the air. I listen to Christmas music. In that spirit, we went to get our tree the minute after Thanksgiving. Otherwise known as: the first of many occasions meant to be fun for the kids where mom gets all strangely type A control freak on everyone.
At the tree farm I might have said, “If you’re going to ruin Christmas, get out of the way so I can get a photo of the happy people.”
See, I love Christmas but I’m not very good at it. Correction: I am very good at it but my kids aren’t. They don’t want to scour the lot of the perfect tree with just the right shape, no weird holes or bulges. They just run maniacally from tree to tree shouting “this one!” at any crappy tree in their path. And then they have the gall to not smile with seasonal glee for my photos of them.
I’m not normally like this. I don’t know what takes over me every year at this time.
We bring the tree home and the kids complain that the lights are taking too long. They COMPLAIN! Finally it’s time for them to put up the ornaments. I bite my tongue, hard, as I let them put stuff anywhere. Don’t worry, I’ll fix it later. But then they get bored. They GET BORED! I’m left with a mess of ornament hooks and every non-homemade ornament strewn all over the floor. And as I clean it up and finish dressing the tree, this:
“Can we hang the stockings now?”
“Is it time to hang the stockings?”
“We still haven’t hung the stockings.”
“Is it time to hang the stockings yet?”
“Can we hang the stockings?”
“Let’s hang the stockings now!”
“Can we hang the stockings?”
“Daddy, will you hang the stockings?”
“Is it time for stockings yet?”
“Mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy can we hang the stockings now?”
“You NEVER let us hang the stockings.”
“We’re NEVER going to hang the stockings.”
“This is taking a very long time.”
I might have threatened to never hang the stockings at all.
What has come over me? I’m the Scroogiest Christmas lover ever.
The moment the kids were in bed (for good) I fetched Johnny- our Elf on the Shelf- and located the best hiding place. In another week or so this elf will drive me nuts, but for now he is all fun, magic, and wonder. With the kids asleep, nothing can ruin my Christmas spirit! Except Tim who is only about 1/15th as enthusiastic as he ought to be, who sat there with all his 6’2″ness and watched as I struggled on tippety toes on top of the coffee table to balance Johnny just so on the ceiling fan. I aimed my grump at him. He laughed at me.
Why am I such a Christmas asshole? The truth is that this is the first year ever that the kids did a good job hanging ornaments. I barely had to fix anything! They got an even distribution all over our perfect tree. The truth is that the kids danced around with excitement when our tree lit up. The truth is that they hugged each other and us and declared their love of all things. The truth is that when they saw Johnny the next morning they were so excited that the house filled up with that Christmas magic that only comes from little kids believing. Then they sat down to construct the politest letter to santa ever. It began:
Would you mind if you might please give us some presents?
What good kids, right? Sure they want a pony, iPad, iPhone, and cold hard cash, but they said “please” no less than 7 times in that letter! I could feel my irritation fade and my heart grow a few sizes. Then:
“We STILL haven’t hung the stockings!”
“Stop it! Santa doesn’t like nagging and Johnny is watching.”
Soon it will be December 26th and I can go back to normal. Until then, shape up, Family, and stop ruining Christmas.