Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Snarkiest Christmas Post Ever

It is early December and there is one song that is persistently swirling around inside my head so that it is dangerously close to boring a hole straight through: “I’m late. I’m late, for a very important date. No time to say, ‘Hello.’ Goodbye. I’m late. I’m late. I’m late.” (“I’m Late” from Alice in Wonderland {Disney, 1951} as sung by The White Rabbit. )

You’d think that the Mu-sak versions of Christmas carols lilting through my local grocery store since Halloween would have tipped me off that the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was upon us. But no. By Thanksgiving, my mind was numb to “Dreaming of a White Christmas.” It had all become white noise. The Christmas season seems to slip it’s shoes off at the door, creep ninja-style across the floor, hugging the walls so as not to give away its position, and then, just as I’m settling in for a well earned respite from all of the industrious gourd usage and adolescent sugar highs through November, *Thunk!* It’s Christmas.

I will admit, this year it has taken my mind a while to catch up with the eager, Elfin decorators at our local mall. We have had an unseasonably warm beginning to the holiday season (I’m sorry to say to those of you who have plans to visit our fair state for a bit of skiing and shenanigans in the snow.) Add to that the efforts of fat cat marketing directors to get tight-walleted consumers to fork over a percentage of their dwindling stock portfolios by going in for the big kill in mid October: Christmas shoppers. It’s been a little disorienting.

At first, I was shocked to see so much red and green, ruby and emerald, silver and gold, siiiilver and goooold…sorry, a vague reference to an even more vague “Christmas” story. What does a felt-pelted Rudolf have to do with Saint Nicholas or the Baby Jesus, anyway? Were there Caribou at the stable that night, somewhere in Iraq? Did Saint Nicholas discover a young deer at his local nuclear power plant and recruit him to a life of servitude? I think not. I’d rather have a root canal than watch claymation/stopmotion “Christmas” movies…

Where was I? Oh yes. Halloween. At first, it was hard to reconcile shrunken head door knockers next to Christmas cards and tree stands. But I became desensitized and quickly resolved myself to plastic evergreens and baubles as part of the evolving landscape. (I think this is not the outcome those fat cat marketing directors had in mind when they cooked up this cockamamie-early-start-Christmas-shopping-plan in mid September.)

My Father in Law says that the Christmas season does not officially begin until the Army/Navy game (which was this past Saturday), and flatly refuses to hang a Christmas ball or twinkle light before that day.

So, here we are. Army was smothered by Navy, those *vintage* Christmas specials have made a return to primetime, and now, just today, there is a white blanket draped over the world while the smallest, feathery snowflakes flutter lazily to the ground as if they've just been shuddered from the wings of angels.
*Thunk!* It’s Christmas.

Deadlines are approaching for shipping unfound gifts out of state to waiting nieces and nephews. Kennel reservations over the holiday are long filled with the names of dogs whose owners are more in tune with the calendar than me. And I am, once again, racing my way to the pathetic, frayed ends of my rope.

You’d never know it from the previous paragraphs, but I actually love this time of year. I love the smells—the way cinnamon seems to find its way into every recipe I make for a month or more. I love the music; the way that carols necessitate the use of previously-unheard-of horns and choirs by the multitude (Over the top? Nah. Needs more Flugel!) Or else the simple beauty of an acoustic guitar. I love bedecking my house with wreaths and wooden cranberries. Nothing goes untouched from candle sticks to mantle pieces to chandeliers. There are nine trees in my little house. Nine. One of them sits atop the guest toilet. I love {truly enjoy} wrapping presents. Wrapping has become a creative outlet for me and I’m always on the lookout for inventive uses of ribbon. I love the view from my living room window; the Spruces across the way dusted with white, the snowflakes drifting elegantly down so that I have the exact sensation of sitting inside a snow globe.

It is probably because I love this time of year so much that I find myself fumbling with those frayed ends, and trying harder than ever (and failing) to keep the expletives behind my teeth. During our annual screening of “National Lampoons: Christmas Vacation,” I actually felt twinges of jealousy at Clark’s mad cursing skills.

My patience, in this thin and unresponsive state, leaves little room for adolescent behavior in my general vicinity, even when that behavior is coming from actual adolescents (and particularly if those adolescents have, at one point, shared my vital organs.) I am short: on tolerance, on grace, on stature…I’ve become the Napoleon Bonaparte of Christmas. (There’s a claymation Christmas special waiting to be made.)

Ugh. Is this what Christmas has become? My children will one day leave my nest and try to recreate the magic of their childhood (*snort*…ahem) and find themselves scenting everything with cinnamon, burning Gingerbread cookies, and spewing vague, G-rated curse words while “Silver Bells” blares mockingly in the background. And they will have the inexplicable urge to call their mother.

…*sigh* The magic of Christmas!
Rant over check in later this week for a sincere Christmas post and the ways our family is giving back and spreading the TRUE Christmas spirit this year.