December 15th, 1999
I'm getting ready to take a small vacation. It became apparent to me as a climbed over all of the packages I have
yet to wrap in an effort to get to the backdoor that I have too much work yet to do. As a result, I'll be off for
the next two weeks journal-wise so I can get the holiday taken care of.
Please, visit the boards or do some shopping in the CoffeeShops! You
can read my archives or submit a few of your own stories at the new Y(our)Stories
area. Fill in for me while I'm gone!
Until I return, Happy Holidays and a joyous season any way you choose to celebrate. May your next few weeks be
filled with the miracle of life. Enjoy.
The holidays were designed merely to enhance my already bitter mood.
I know we are supposed to get caught up in the season. I've tried, but after the black eye I suffered at the hands
of a librarian while we wrestled over a Black Tuxedo Furby, I felt the spirit leave me and make a run for the border.
Ho ho ho and all that rot.
"Honey! Hey, let's go look at Christmas lights with the kids tonight."
"You go. I'm tired."
"Wow. Not much in the spirit are you?"
"You're right. I am going to make more of an effort to get involved. Excuse me while I go shake some ornaments
off our tree and stomp them into the carpet."
I just can't handle the stress of the season. I have so many children that I'm forced to buy in bulk and then desperately
try to make sure everybody gets the same amount of presents as everyone else. If they are not properly divided,
someone's feelings will be hurt. Can you not see what kind of burden this is?
"Sweetie, what are you doing? Are you actually trying to saw those earmuffs apart?"
"I am one present short! Just shut up! I'm a trained professional!"
I really try. I really, really do. I even go out after the holidays and buy ribbons, bows and paper on sale with
the full intent of wrapping, bowing and curling with gusto the next holiday to come. Itís just that, around ten
o'clock Christmas Eve, my enthusiasm sags. (Authors note: In translation, the over-spiked eggnog begins to wear
off.) Please do not be angry when I use the leftover Saturday newspaper to wrap your toys. I tried. I really did.
Some where around the tenth sock, I just ran out of gas.
I also find it disturbing that it takes me twenty-five hours to get things ready and only ten minutes for everyone
to destroy them. Mothers are forever faced with watching all their good hard work unravel and I think we just can't
take it anymore. We cook, you eat. We wash, you dirty. We wrap, you destroy. We clean, you mess. How much of this
do you think we can actually tolerate before we snap?
"Don't rip the wrapping paper. Take your time."
"Mom, this is not wrapping paper. This is the obituary section of the Sunday news."
"Look, you are going to tear Mrs. Alma Johnson in half! It took her eighty-five years to die! Are you going
to rip her up just like that!"
My husband gently eases me away from the tree.
"Honey, it's okay. You can get more newspaper next Christmas. We don't need to save this."
"That's easy for you to say! Alma Johnson isn't going to conveniently drop dead for me again next year, is
He gives me more eggnog.
Fifteen minutes later and all of my hard work is completely annihilated. The toys sit discarded and the older children
return to bed. My two-year old runs by naked with the exception of one strategically placed bow and my preschooler
has shut herself into a box. Someone bumps into a new bicycle and it falls to the carpet in a shower of nuts and
bolts. A training wheel rolls past my foot and knocks over the cat's bowl.
My husband gives me a reassuring squeeze.
"Well, honey. Christmas morning is over. Nice job."
"Hey, do you think the babies will notice if we snuck away for a few minutes or R&R?"
"Honey, I think we could spontaneously combust and, unless we caught the PlayStation on fire, they wouldn't
And this is not the end of it. We are then forced to cook a lavish meal -- that's right, no Macaroni and cheese
-- and present it with the flourish of Julia Child.
"Ew, Mom. What is this?"
"That's stuffing, dear. Eat it."
"Yuck. As if. Can I have some raviolis?"
The end result of this ill-timed comment is another mom attempting to use her child as a tree topping. You force
us to these kinds of reactions. Just eat the stuffing and leave poor, dead Alma Johnson alone.
I think I am just really concerned with the Holiday season, period. The stress of it all makes it hard for me to
focus on the true meaning of the season. After all, we should never lose sight of the real miracle of Christmas:
The Day After Christmas Sale.
Nothing bolsters a Mom's sagging spirit more than a seasonal sale. The rush of getting up at five in the morning
and making off with three thousand rolls of bouffant ribbon at two-cents a yard revives us. The thrill of stepping
on the forehead of that old lady from down the block so we can rip that sweater complete with jingling-bells out
her hands is more excitement than we can bear.
Of course we know we really don't need the eight million reams of tinsel we bring home but I am telling you now
you had better not mention it. Just shut your mouth when we walk in the door and give us more eggnog.