Holiday Mayhem

December 13th, 2009

If you are stringing cranberries and popcorn while you listen to the Kings College Choir boys do their angelic thing, or if you are watching a Christmas parade with your children home on vacation from Ivy League schools, or if you are getting a lump in your throat every time

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” comes on the radio, this is not for you. Because we are two weeks away from Christmas, and I just want to cut Santa’s throat. I grew up in a family who created idyllic Christmases, even when all the moms and dads and aunts and uncles were having affairs, lots of times with their in-laws. Later, I married into a large family whose traditions included going into debt for too many gifts and getting shitfaced on Christmas Eve. Untimely death and divorce intervened at Christmas when my kids were toddlers, so the tinsel became even more tarnished for me. Fast forward decades, and I think my adult children and I are still wobbling between A Christmas Story and Bad Santa. Will Mom visit Oldest Daughter in Seattle or Youngest Daughter in Yosemite this year? And whose feelings will be hurt? Will Only Son be living with his ex-wife for the third time, or will they have split up once again? Will I have spent equal amounts on everyone, or will someone get the short end of the stick? Why does it take a psychic to figure out what everyone wants, and where should all the damn presents be mailed (to my son’s temporary house or his ex-wife’s house?) I know that at some point on Christmas Eve all of this will fall away and I will convince myself that the dog will talk at midnight (probably to complain about his skimpy stocking), but right now, I’m at the bah humbug stage that comes after too much exposure to the Gap TV commercials. (Dear Santa, please take away their Adderall and get those models into plaid rehab.)

8 Responses to “Holiday Mayhem”

  1. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios says:

    Sounds like you need a new holiday tradition. Why not skip Christmas and plan to celebrate New Year's together? Rather than spend money on gifts, everyone can pitch in some $$$ to rent a house/cabin somewhere that everyone can get to. No one gets gifts, no one should feel slighted, and everyone simply gets to be together. And anyone who doesn't like the idea can stay home and use their Christmas cash to pay their therapist to hear all about their big problems. : )

  2. Diane says:

    Here's the part I don't like. Every year we all promise to spend less, simplify, have a modest Christmas. I SO approve of this. I even have ideas for small gifts that I will find or make. Never happens. Before I know it, it's Thanksgiving and there is no time to make anything or go hunting for those small, clever items. Instead, I am buying or ordering useful and good things, but the result is not a simpler or more modest version of Christmas. It's the usual Christmas. So every year there comes the point where I am disappointed with myself for not pulling off the new, scaled-down version, and I get just a tad nauseous as I order or pack stuff for shipping. Well, I'm sick of feeling that way. I want to feel the way I used to: delighted that I am able to give gifts. I agree that it's bad to feel under pressure to give the best, most perfect or extravagant gifts, but in recent years I've felt that same sort of pressure to give less, as though the only truly thoughtful and virtuous people are those who rein in any impulse to participate in the commercialism of Christmas. There are enough challenges at this time of year. I hate that the list has expanded to include feeling crappy because you ordered that tea kettle, bought extra books, or signed your son-in-law up for the bacon-of-the-month club.

  3. corine says:

    i'm hiding under a rock until all the cheer is safely past

  4. Genevieve Charet says:

    Haha! Plaid rehab is EXACTLY what they need. They're all just so…shiny.

    Great post–somehow I think slitting Santa's throat is on a lot of minds a bit more than they'd admit…

  5. Kathleen Botsford says:

    Ya know, even when I am not privy to the same experience you are writing about, I can FEEL your angst, pain, humor, melancholy, etc. Your writing never fails to inspire me. And I gotta tell ya. Reading each fabulous little post and watching the 0 comments at the end inspires me too. You, Nikki Hardin, an accomplished and brilliant writer, gets 0 comments too. Keeps me going on my own little blog. Happy Holidays and don't forget my favorite remedy for ANYTHING that ails you ANYTIME of the year….CHAMPAGNE! and lots of it!!!

  6. Di says:

    Lol, it's all gone over my head. I've been too busy and haven't actually bought a present. I've complained about snow and don't have a Christmas because I'm at least 1000kms from home, on my second or third work stint in Berlin.

    Have a lovely time and just remember, you're the mum, you're always going to get it wrong.

    Hugs from Europe.

  7. Nikki Hardin says:

    Thank you all! For some reason Blogger is holding all my comments and not notifying me I have any! Christmas actually turned out fine, but this year as usual, we all agreed next year to A. go on a group vacation and no presents or B. draw names. Why doesn't it ever happen?!

  8. howle says:

    Hey, Nikki
    I solved it. We have told friends and family that we are donating all the Christmas money. Others need it a lot worse than they do and it is easy to write checks. Miss you! Still in Santa Fe

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