I love Christmas. It’s just that over the decades, a few things that come with the holiday are now taxing my tolerance and spirit. I’m trying hard, really hard, to focus on what still works for me.
Here are 7 things I like, in no significant order:
1. Carols, hymns, the religious story and celebration. (OK, that’s four things in point #1. I’m cheating.)
2. Christmas trees – fresh ones
3. Fresh, fluffy snow, but not blizzard-level
4. Sweet indulgences: cookies, etc.
5. Small parties featuring memorable people, food and wine
6. Gifts that surprise and delight the recipient (i.e., me)
7. Clever, amusing holiday cards (Thanks, Inky! You made my Christmas with your “normal family” photo.)
This list is nice, predictable, traditional and therefore not worth discussing here.
The other list, the scrooge-y one, is a different story.
Here are the top 5 things that make me want to file my teeth into points and indulge in lots of X-rated language. XXX words always improve my mood.
1 – 5. “We’re The Perfect Family” holiday cards. That’s right. This one is so heinous that it counts for all five slots on the list. These cards range from annoying to offensive to eye-poppingly pathetic. Every year, I store the new arrivals in a special box, just to remind myself how ridiculous and clueless some (otherwise lovely) people can be when they’re inspired to create a Christmas card.
What irks me most about the WTPF cards:
People posing in theme attire: Men in faux Scottish plaids, blazers or pants. Sweaters with patterns, like snowflakes and deer antlers. Women in their seasonal sweaters, featuring Santa, Rudolph, Christmas trees and wrapped gifts; earrings and necklaces that resemble ornaments or tree lights. Kids looking like mannequins in department store windows.
Are we supposed to believe that you enjoy dressing like this? Or did someone dare you to do a tableau-vivant of a Norman Rockwell illustration? If you send a family photo, please find one from the years before you were Invaded by the Body Snatchers.
Year-in-review letters: Hello out there, parents! These letters are not your kids’ college admission applications. Sorry, but you won’t get Renaissance Child into an Ivy by being self-aggrandizing, self-congratulatory and frankly, full of crap. We can read through your need to look better than everyone else. ’tis the Season. Sad.
Do you re-energize sustainably by plugging yourselves into electric car chargers – when you’re done climbing mountains barefoot, learning Sanskrit, or helping your 9 year-old launch his third iPhone app? Do we need the details of every kid and grandkid’s superhuman accomplishments? Actually, every stop of your ElderHostel jaunt through South America was fascinating…to you.
I surrender! Will you stop boring us if we acknowledge that your gene pool would make Craig Venter want to buy you out? But don’t try to fool us! We’ve seen your husband nuzzling someone really young and hot at the airport. And it’s no news that your perfect daughter is well “known” by the entire football team. (That’s the same girl who leads her church abstinence group).
Why do you need to pretend you are The Perfect Family? We know otherwise. We’re your friends.
As I said earlier, I do love Christmas. So, in the spirit of sharing, I offer you this gift thanks to Jim Nayder, whose music selections will put a smile in your heart for the next few weeks.