We are now entering the second week of December. Every. Single. Year. that triggers a hot mess of mixed emotions inside of me.
Listen, don't get me wrong, I love all things Christmas, but can we please move it to May?
When I see THAT date -- December 1st -- I can't help it -- my butt puckers.
As the month progresses I secretly want to strangle December. I want to take it around back and teach it a lesson.
Show of hands, who's with me? Who here in readerville secretly hates December?
Who thought that 30 consecutive days of extreme holiday stress was a good idea? Target? Santa? The devil?
By the end of week one, I'm consumed by that sinking feeling that lets me know -- I'm already behind schedule.
I'm already late with my shipping.
Once I navigate the post office parking lot, or as I like to call it, December Demolition Derby, (I once backed up and ONTO an Audi, my trailer hitch opening up the front hood of that car like a can opener), I have to stand in line and wait for the TWO postal clerks to wade their way through all the other holiday shippers.
There is yelling. There are lies, bribes and cutting in line. There are tears. And that's just me.
Once I work up the stamina (facilitated by devouring all of the fudge) to take on the Christmas tree shopping -- usually reserving December 10th for my tree excursion -- all of the good ones are gone.
By the second week of December! That is just criminal.
Last year they had a Charlie Brown section for people like me. Dried up weak and feeble trees that were already dead -- pitifully begging for a home. Those are what's left for us mid-December stragglers. The ones who wait so they don't have to fight the crowds and crying kids the first two weeks.
Get this: I drove past a lot the other day where they were flocking trees. Remember flocking? Crispy, fake snow? I thought I'd passed through a time warp except for the crowd. There was a crowd of bearded hipsters all milling around the tent inhaling crispy snow. Are hipsters bringing flocking back? Is that a thing again?
Are you freaking kidding me? If those hipsters had lived through the sixties like I had, they would NEVER in a million years have the slightest inclination to re-create it. I still have rotating color wheel flashbacks.
Once I got my Christmas investment (they are well over ten bucks a foot) home, it took me three tries to get the white twinkle lights to do the one thing they were designed to do -- light up. If you so much as look at a strand cross-eyed HALF of it will go dark.
But only half.
Which leaves me filled with hope, (because December marks a season of hope) that I can find the rat bastard loose bulb, tap it gently, twist it, or God willing, replace it with the one taped to the cord, and have the freaking tree lit by New Years.
THAT has ever happened. In all of my years lighting a tree I've yet to twist a loose bulb and have the thing light back up.
That is an urban legend. Worse yet, it's a fairy tale told to unsuspecting Christmas revelers in order to fill them with false hope.
That's not playing fair. Jesus would frown on that.
In search of lights that worked I was forced to do what you're never supposed to do the entire month of December if you have a brain in your head and one ounce of common sense left in your body -- I went to Target yesterday and they were already out of white lights AND wrapping paper. It's the first week of December people. Seriously?
In the parking lot, I nearly got sideswiped by an SUV wearing blinking antlers. Am I insured for that?
Baking. Let's talk holiday baking. I love to bake.
I love it so much I only do it once a year in December, otherwise, I would be HUGE. Like, walk me down Central Park West in the Thanksgiving Day Parade huge. Because my love for baking is only exceeded by my love of eating what I bake.
What? It's only logical.
Artists love art. Singers love music. Bakers love all things warm and gooey. They love it so much they make it themselves -- for themselves. Between eating the raw cookie dough and "quality testing" the finished products, my friends are lucky to get a bite in edgewise.
December is also a month of wonder.
I wonder every year which of my favorite childhood ornaments will fall prey to the floor-gods. They are insatiable and unrelenting in their search for a sacrifice. I'm aware of this, so in order to keep the emotional carnage to a minimum I put the ones I don't care as much about near the floor as an offering. A token of respect. Then I padlock my favorite treasures safely inside the middle branches.
But the floor gods always prevail. Last night the ice-skater I received when I was eleven mysteriously appeared on the hardwood floor under the tree. She wasn't broken broken. Just her left ankle and skate are missing.
But her career is over. There go her hopes of a medal.
I had a good cry. SHE took it with grace and dignity so I re-hung her in the front of the tree as an example of Christmas courage.
I do love receiving all the cards from friends and family. I really do.
I adore being able to see how much the kids have grown every year but can I ask you a favor? Please don't send me the three-page newsletters. That's okay. I'm all caught up. That's what Facebook is for. Besides, they're primarily filled with bad news. The death of a pet, Uncle Franks broken hip, the baby that can't say please. Are you kidding? Has no one any good news to share?
The last one I read was like a Charles Dickens novel. It was filled with so much tragedy I had to read it with a box of Kleenex (and Sees candy) and a glass of scotch.
Honestly! I know nothing says Christmas like death and job loss, but can we all agree to just cut it out?
December. What is it with you? You drive me nuts! You are like the bat-shit crazy relative everyone hates that keeps showing up drunk every year!
As much as I vow that this year will be different,
I eat too much.
I spend too much.
I drink too much.
I argue way too much.
I don't get enough rest.
I over commit.
And I lose my patience.
Which brings me to the realization -- December, you are a little bit like childbirth. You are miserable and painful in the moment but after some time has passed (like 365 days), I forget and repeat all the madness because when I look back on the holidays, you brought me miracles and filled me with wonder and THAT my friend, makes you impossible to hate.