Raise your hand if you’re exhausted five days before Christmas.
If you can, that is.
I love this time of year, and I’m fully aware that it’s my own fault I haven’t been able to sit down and just look at the freaking tree for a minute. But I’m telling you, I zonked out watching “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” last night. The folks at Disney managed to boil down the Dickens classic into a 26 minute cartoon and I was out before the ghost of Jacob Marley appeared.
Here’s the problem: I always refuse to do anything for Christmas until at least the day after Thanksgiving. Even then, on principle, I wait until December before I even entertain notions of holiday cheer. But my righteous indignation has backfired on me this year because all but one of my days off work during this month have been occupied by other, out-of-town things (Jack’s marathon, a funeral, helping my parents move, etc.). The one day I was in town was the day I decked the halls and put up the tree, then immediately left instead of being able to enjoy it. It’s that occupation, really, that has scrooged me.
That was a play on words. I wanted to say “screwed,” but I changed it to something holiday-related. Aren’t I festive?
Don’t get me wrong: I was happy to do those things. I really was. It’s just that it’s killing me now. Who helps people move in the middle of December? Gah.
All this busyness is why it’s been so long since my last post, by the way. It’s not really that I haven’t had anything to write about. It’s more than I don’t have the energy to do it by the time I have an available hour, which is somewhere around 1am. And then I can’t remember what I was going to write about, anyway.
I can’t quite say I’m overcommitted. I mean, not compared to other people. I work nights and weekends, which makes me a solid No on all party invitations. I don’t have kids, so I’m not consumed by their needs. My only commitments really are to working, baking, shopping and traveling because I finally have Christmas off. (Sleeping is not a commitment at this stage.)
I give cookie platters to several people as gifts (this started when some work associates who made a lot more money than me gave me gifts, and I never knew what to do for them). It’s a tradition I’ve carried on for myself for several years now. I really do enjoy the baking, at least the first 3/4 of it, after which I may or may not beat someone to death with a rolling pin but it has to be done anyway because now I’m all-in and everybody knows you can’t make trays of cookies and only have like four kinds on them. Everybody knows it has to be at least eight kinds and besides if you only did four kinds there wouldn’t be enough for all the platters. Duh.
Sunday night, my grandmother’s infamously difficult butter cookies had me trying to remember whether it was Ozzy or AC/DC who did “Hell’s Bells” as I tried to scrape the bell-shaped cutouts off the counter while retaining some semblance of their original shape. I named them the “AC/DC Batch.” After a teeny, tiny fit, I told myself they’ll just play different notes. There. All better.
I’m not one of those people who complains and is made miserable by Christmas shopping. I buy gifts for 16 people, most of them children, and I’m happy to do it. I love to give gifts. All that shopping craziness gets me in the spirit, so I hated using the internets to handle a few people on my list this year. I like the mall at Christmas. I like to see so many people trying to so hard to make someone else’s day happy. But when it gets down to December 19th and I’m trying to cram a major shopping trip and a ship, stamp and fetch visit to the molasses-like post office into the two hours between clothing myself and leaving for work, well… I need a Xanax. It seriously wasn’t until 12:45pm yesterday, as I was leaving the store to go to work while obsessive-compulsively ticking through my to-do list and comparing it to my available time, that I started to think that maybe I’d be able to pull this holiday off. If I didn’t sit down to look at the freaking tree. And that was only because I had finally found the plain holiday M&Ms. Four stores, all I could find were the almond, the peanut butter, the pretzel, the dark chocolate… why the hell is there such a shortage of the freaking plain freaking holiday freaking M&Ms?!?!
I have a list of ten Christmas movies I want to watch every year so I can soak up the spirit of the season. Of the ten (three of which are less than 30 minutes long), I’ve seen three so far. And I can’t watch any tonight because I have to finish baking and there’s not enough time between trays to sit down and watch.
Irony alert: the whole baking thing is apparently making me bitter. It’s so intense at this point that I just threatened to stab a co-worker for making me watch a YouTube video of a senior citizen flash mob that uses Glee’s version of “Last Christmas.” Which is the holiday song I hate the most in the whole wide world. And now it’s stuck in my head.
But everything will be better after work on Wednesday. Before then, it will be torturous. But after work on Wednesday, I will go home, and I will turn off all the lights except the ones on the tree and my Dickens Village houses and my mantle, and I will put on PJs, and I will light candles, and I will wrap myself in a comfy blanket, and I will watch a Christmas movie. Probably The Bishop’s Wife, the black and white original with Carey Grant and Loretta Young and David Niven that a college friend gave to me our sophomore year (it’s on VHS). And on Thursday, I will stay home, clean, do laundry, wrap gifts and watch more movies. And whatever I didn’t get to watch I will take with me to my parents’ new house on Friday, to see while curled up on the couch with my little sister, who’s 21 but still likes to snuggle with me sometimes. And we will warm my parents’ new home for the holiday.
And I will fall asleep almost immediately.