Christmas is a bit of a surreal experience for me. That is by design. I was brought up in a house that transformed the day after Thanksgiving from a normal abode to a tinsel-filled glittery elftravaganza of kitsch, Rudolph figurines, and a sudden lifting of the No Sugar After 4 pm Rule. In short, December was magic.
Now that I have a 6 year old and a 4 year old, I’m beginning to understand why my mom worked as hard as she did to create that. It is kind of awesome to see a little kid shriek in delight at the sight of a candy cane dangling from the ceiling, to sing along to the Heat Miser song at the top of her lungs in the car, and to giddily warble through ‘Jingle Bells’ even though neither of my kids knows what a sleigh or snow is. It is cacophony of the finest degree.
I find myself needing that joyful lunacy more than ever the older I get, needing a little bit of holiday magic- even if I’m the one who had to make it. Life can be hard and ugly, and if you dwell too much on the despair without allowing yourself to just let it all go and be happy every once in a while, well, then the light goes out, and it’s hard to get back. So in my house, when it’s December, you’re gonna be jolly, dammit, even if I have to prod you out to the holiday light show with a candy cane in order to to do it.
I will march my kid and my dog in a parade with a bunch of other like-minded people in the 75 degree heat.
I appreciate the indulgence of my husband, who tolerates it mostly on behalf of the kids who eat it up. I know there will come a day when they roll their eyes at me and my elf hat, so I’m stocking up on the memories of the past few weeks, when they have been in sheer heaven.
The pets on the other hand, now there’s another story. All they know is that the landscape of their house has changed dramatically and frightfully. Where once dwelt the nice snoozing spot under the window there now lives a large tree, which despite being hung so thoughtfully with cat toys, brings nothing but rebuke when one tries to play with it.
It is a house of teases. The ornaments on the tree, the yards of ribbon, the oh-so-fragrant and inviting house of gingerbread offering itself up like a pagan sacrifice to the volcano on the open expanse of the dining room table. Why, they ask, are so many beautiful things presented to me only to be denied?
Unfortunately my pets are less gullible than my kids and cannot be swayed by threats of angry missives to Santa. Bring it, says Apollo as he yet again marks the front door. Brody has claimed the tree skirt as his own personal blanket which despite its stubborn insistence on re-materializing back under the tree, is easily enough dragged out, wadded under his muddy rear, and snoozed upon.
I guess I can understand why they are stressed. They haven’t had the luxury of their daily break from the kids, home from school and ready to rumble. I have managed to be late with dinner just about every day the past two weeks, shooing them away from my ginger-masterpiece with one sticky finger while I propped the porch up waiting for the royal icing to dry.
I take my escapism very seriously.
Brody knows the drill. He likes Christmas.
Koa was dubious and a bit nervous about all the changes going on.
Then she got into the spirit of things, and a happy ending was enjoyed by all.
Except for the Gingerbread Man.