On the Second Day of Christmas, I wished I could wear pajamas to work. But since only one boss was around and she dresses very questionably on a good day, I settled on jeans, a comfy sweater, glorious cushiony flats and a pair of Christmas socks. They don’t light up or anything. They just have red and white polka dots on them. They’re festive. I also wore the Christmas watch that Santa gave me, which features a holiday-colored tartan wristband and snowflakes on the very large face. It will make my moth–uh, Santa– happy to know I wore it. Santa is always wasting her money on little “extra” gifts that my sisters and I will never, ever use or wear. It’s cute, in a useless way. She makes us all wait and open that particular gift at the same time so there’s no big reveal that ruins the tartan wristband snowflake watch surprise for anybody else, and then all four of us look at each other while trying to summon a face that doesn’t disappoint her. Poor Santa.
On the 26th, I had no food in the house other than superfluous cookies which I didn’t even want to look at. So at work, I ordered miso soup and lettuce wraps for dinner like a Jewish girl who’d misplaced her calendar. (What? Two of my [six] bosses are Jewish. They said it too.) I happily slurped and munched my Chinese food because it didn’t contain a single carb or fried thing or cream cheese-based substance, and therefore, like Christmas itself, it would lead to salvation. Though not so much from sin and damnation as from the stuff I had mindlessly nibbled the day before while pirouetting around my parents’ kitchen playing sous-chef and sommelier to a huge holiday meal. When my dad swore at the turkey and asked when my generation was going to take over, I told him the whole crew is welcome to schlep the road trip to my place and back for the sake of not having to prepare the meal… just as soon as I buy a house. Minutes later, he told the grown-up table that he and my mother would host Thanksgiving in 2012.
I think he’d been too much into the wine and cold medicine.
Speaking of being too much into the wine… Jack and I managed to do Christmas on the 26th since he begged off on the 25th, citing prohibitive discomfort from a meal much heavier than what his marathon-running system is used to. He came over when I got done with work Monday night, bearing a wrapped box of happiness: six bottles of yummy wine. “I had help,” he told me. Jack is not a wine drinker, and therefore has no earthly idea what’s good and what’s not other than by guessing from the price tags. So, God love him, he asked the guy at the liquor store for guidance and stocked me up with excellent choices.
I think he’s trying to take advantage of me.
Jack is one of those guys who doesn’t want anything he doesn’t have, and if he does, he’ll buy it for himself, so finding a gift for him is a challenge every year. Fortunately, I’m learning to key in when he says he likes something. In this case, it was a photo I’d taken during a little autumn shoot on a nature trail. He runs on the trail, and when he saw the shot, he told me how much he loved it. As in, he had a litany of thoughtful reasons. Score. Blow it up, buy a pre-fab frame, wrap it, put a bow on it. You’re done. This resulted in what I find to be one of the best things about Christmas: watching a loved one adore a gift you’ve picked out especially for them. The dear man even graced me with the assumption that I’d had the frame and matte custom-made.
Oh, Target. You are my best friend.
I couldn’t let him think that, though. He’d feel bad about the expense. So I fumbled my way around the reality – that I bought the pre-made frame at Target – and came up with “I didn’t go that route.”
Sometimes the lesson of Christmas is how to be graceful about being a cheap-ass.
With the running and rush of the holiday over and the day at work behind me, the Second Night of Christmas glowed in the light of the tree and the candles, and the quiet joy of a gift well-received and a companion well-loved. After the chaos and commotion of the day before, we spent the evening in calm relaxation. In his Christmas sermon at my parents’ new church, the priest had told us that the night of Jesus’ birth was almost certainly not silent. For Jack and me, the night after it was blessedly close.