What a month. Between the never-ending election and my kitchen after Thanksgiving, I’m almost inclined to skip right through December and start fresh with 2017. I doubt I’d miss searching for extension cords and red and green light bulbs. Untangling all those nasty lights I was sure I untangled last year. I wouldn’t miss the calories that’d come from making homemade salted caramel and gingerbread. And the parking. I hate shopping, but the parking? I keep telling my seventeen-year-old she’s not ready for her license, but come Christmas I’m ready to negotiate. “Okay honey, just promise me two things. Don’t kill anyone and drive Mama to the mall.”
But, then there’s the yard that looks like a fairy-tale when the lights are untangled and wrapped around the trees. The boring tan siding that’s suddenly washed in red and green. Homemade salted caramel and gingerbread. And spending a whole day with my daughter without fighting because, well…presents.
Most of my friends have had their trees decorated since the day after Thanksgiving, but we aren’t built that way. It takes me days just to plow through the dishes. Even longer to put away my grandmother’s china, the ceramic turkeys, the plastic gourds. It’s been almost a week and I still haven’t erased the menu from my chalkboard. Why would I? Technically, we’re still having turkey and dressing…leftovers. I’m sure my family is beginning to wonder if I’ll ever cook again.
We must sound so old, but you try throwing a week-long Halloween party followed by Thanksgiving! Last year we were so spent, we paid our daughter and her friend to put up the tree! Then we made plans to leave town for Christmas just to get out of any additional decorating. Funny thing? The closer it got, the more we dreaded leaving. So, the trip was cancelled and with only a few days left, we decked the remaining halls and planned another feast.
This year we’re doing it a little differently. We’re planning to enjoy the Christmas season. The shopping. The decorating. We’re even kind of excited about it. Saturday night we’ll have eggnog and cider and listen to Bing Crosby on the turntable. I won’t complain that Jesus isn’t perfectly centered between Mary and Joseph on the tree. Or that the angel on top is so crooked she looks like she had a few eggnogs herself. We’ll unpack and display the nativities I’ve collected since I was a little girl and laugh at the one with the singing lamb. Within the thickest branches, we’ll hide the “sacred” Christmas egg and (my favorite) the rubber snakes that didn’t manage to get put up after Halloween. Because we’re weird like that. And because it’s our tradition. Our family. Our Christmas.
So, whatever it is you celebrate, even if it’s nothing but the beginning of winter, I hope you enjoy it all month long. Happy Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, Happy December!