Usually, I come to hate Christmas by this time. Not like Scrooge, who had no reason to be grumpy. Honestly who did he have to shop for? His nephew and Bob. Big frickin' deal. But I hated it more like a chicken running around with its head cut off. I challenge any headless chicken to be happy. Or the chicks, seeing their mother that way. Or anyone in the barnyard, for that matter.
So this year, I have a new strategy. If something becomes stressful, I just don't do it. I seriously don't think anybody notices. Take visiting Santa--something we always try to work in. Well, my kids visiting Santa fall into two categories: babies, who basically hate his guts for reasons I'll never understand, and big kids, who take the opportunity to grill Santa:
"Did you get my letter? What did it say? Are you getting me Pokemon cards? Does it have a Pikachu? Which kind--50 point or 70 point? Do the elves know that 70 is better than 50?"
Santa starts to feel like he's giving a deposition, you know?
It's a nice photo opportunity, but my kids look basically the same as last year, so I crossed it off the list.
Moving on to Christmas cards; this is a wonderful tradition for people who have address books. Others, not so much. One year, I just gave up. However, this doesn't seem like a great solution, since I love getting Christmas cards and would like to reciprocate. So next year, I'm going to play defense on the holiday correspondence. All my cards will be ready to go. When one comes in, I'll copy the return address and send a card right back to them.
Baking cookies with the children is a tradition I always thought I would cherish with my children. Little did I know that, in the hands of my sons, the angel and Santa Claus cookie cutters would declare war against the tree and star. This year, instead, we made Christmas calzones, and the boys each "helped me" with exactly one. Then they watched T.V.
Also off the list--homemade gifts by the boys. They've already given them in years past, and honestly, how many mosaic boxes does a person need?
This strategy has worked. My kids have everything their hearts desire: that being eggnog and presents, my gifts are in the mail on time, and I haven't felt like a Scrooge at all this year. Have I felt lazy? A little, while watching "Holiday in Handcuffs," an ABC Family movie, for the second time.
But rest assured that J.J. is filling in the blanks on my saved time. He can now crawl out of his bed. So he doesn't take a nap or go to bed on time. Or at all, it seems!
Of course, the first thing he does when he gets out of bed is takes the lid off the aquarium and splashes around in there. The poor snails: they must be so worried about their youngens.
I told you they were having babies, didn't I? Well, no big surprise there. They'd been "spending a lot of time together." Not to mention, they are sex fanatics. But I didn't know they were the same species--so I was a little shocked to find the clutch of eggs.
Our fish also had a baby. And the grownups are definitely not the same species. One is orange and round and the other is silver and black and very streamlined. But I saw a fry in there a week ago. Just one.
The snails, on the other hand, laid a billion eggs. It's like the 1950s in there. They are having children on a wing and a prayer. I think several will survive. We might have to give them away outside a grocery store, like people do with kittens.
None of this has much to do about Christmas. Except that we'll soon be hearing not only the pitter patter of little feet belonging to a two year old who should be sleeping, but also the gliding of big slimy feet/stomachs. Maybe even on Christmas day. Which is a very nice day for babies to be born.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. Please imagine, here, a beautiful snowy scene in which my children--with fresh haircuts and clean faces--are dressed in green and red sweaters that are not stained. They are smiling. No one is giving anybody bunny ears or pinching each other. Voila. Our Christmas card.