I wrote this in 1994 at Christmastime, when I believe I was feeling disgruntled. Not much has changed since then--about me, anyway--although the microwave's built in so I can't lose things behind it and now we have 40 years of stuff accumulated at our house instead of 17. I'm using this column here kind of early so you can get a jump on things and not do them the way I do. I haven't started yet, in case you're wondering, unless I can count this as a start...
These people's tree ornaments match each other. The ethereal angels or brilliant stars they use do not cause the trees to lean drunkenly. There are never full strings of non-working lights on the trees and the lights all twinkle at the same speed or they chase each other merrily around the branches.
Their Christmas cookies and candy are made and frozen well ahead of time and they have plenty of decorative tins and baskets on hand so that all they have to do is add a pretty handmade bow and they have an instant gift for the unexpected guest.
I decided many years ago, on a Christmas Eve when I was sewing the last ruffles
on my daughter's Christmas dress at two o'clock on Christmas morning before she and her brothers rolled out at five, that when I grew up, I was going to be one of the people I've been talking about.
My first step in that direction was to buy wrapping paper the day after Christmas for the following year. Then we moved to a different house. It just seemed foolish when we were already moving 10 times as much stuff out of the old house as we moved into it to also move 12 rolls of paper and 50 bows, so I gave them away instead of moving them. Then, two weeks later, I went out and bought all new because we moved in November, for heaven's sake. (Moving is not good for one's thought processes. While I did not move the wrapping paper, I did move several boxes that remain unopened in the attic 17 years later.)
|Lynn with the cold heart|
My next organizational move was to buy and address Christmas cards as soon as they hit the shelves, which was somewhere along about July. I even addressed them in green ink to make them look properly Christmas-like. Then I proceeded to lose them, along with the complete list of addresses I'd called all over the country to compile.
My sister-in-law Lynn, bless her cold little heart, found them long after Christmas had passed, nestled behind the microwave oven. Fifteen years later, I'm still telling her it's none of her business how often I clean behind my appliances. Or if I do.
Then there's shopping.
Occasionally, I start it in August. More often, I start in October and now and then in November. I've discovered that it doesn't matter when I start Christmas shopping, I finish it on Christmas Eve. Last year my husband and I were only two of the 3000 people in Walmart at 11 o'clock on Christmas Eve morning and we decided we would never, neverdo such a foolish thing again.
At least until this year.
Because, all advice I've given freely and unasked to people not withstanding, I've given up.
I'm never going to be one of those people who have Christmas organized. I will always be a day late and a dollar short and my favorite Christmas tree ornaments will still be the ones my kids brought home from the first grade. My tree top will still be crooked and I'll always have needles embedded in my carpet even though we have an artificial tree. The cookies and candy will always be made at the last minute if they're made at all and eaten warm off a dish towel lying on the kitchen counter.
What it amounts to is, at least as far as Christmas is concerned, I am like Peter Pan: I won't grow up.
I hope you won't, either. I hope you have fun shopping and wrapping and decorating. And don't forget the giving. It's the very best part of it all.
Till next time.