Your Ideal Holiday

After a whirlwind sub-24 hour holiday marathon where we went from one Triple F to Another (that’s a Forced Family Function, in case you’re wondering), Spouse and I had to ask ourselves what the holiday season is about. For us.

Since we’re Unitarians, sometimes it’s hard to explain to the kids where our beliefs fit into the mainstream picture.

On our way home last night, Trixie (5) had a series of questions:

  • Is this Jesus’ Birthday? (Me: Well, a lot of people think so).
  • Does Jesus get 100 presents for his birthday from Santa? (Me: Probably not).
  • What is Jesus like? (Me: I think he would be one of the nicest people you could ever meet).

You get the idea.

At least I hope you do.

It seems like every year, we barely keep our heads above water and rush, rush, rush to meet External and Internal Obligations, usually with mixed success.

One of our best Christmases was a very simple one, and it was mostly the two of us.

My intern year – 2001 – I was on call Christmas Eve.

Spouse stopped by the hospital with a plate of homemade cookies; sugar cookies cut into pig and dog shapes because they were the only cookie cutters he could find at our apartment.

It took him hours to make those cookies. They were fabulous.

He also smuggled Frenchie, our toy poodle who was the love of my life back then, in for a visit inside a duffel bag.

Call was relatively un-eventful (a Christmas miracle in itself), and in the morning I headed home for a nap.

I woke mid-morning and we opened presents in our PJs.

In the afternoon, we gorged on a retro 70s recipe crab dip – so budget busting back then – with two of our friends and drank wine while watching “The Muppet Christmas Carol.”

I realized it even back then: we were happy. Christmas felt right.

I’ve tried to capture that ever since.

Which brings me back to the question: what would the ideal holiday season look like?

For me, venue is important, but I think it could take many forms. Most of all, we would be warm and comfortable.

People would be there, family and friends, but the key would be that everyone wanted to be right there, right then.

The food would be good. We’d probably even have crab dip.

There would definitely be wine.

We would laugh a lot.

There would be Muppets.





‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

Holiday Stress was in full force last night.

Cards went out on Monday (after a marathon stamping/addressing/envelope licking session on Sunday).

On Tuesday, I was able to wrap and distribute gifts at work (after a frantic wrapping episode on Monday).

Last night our kids’ babysitter graciously agreed to stay an extra hour and help wrap gifts. (I was begging).

That hour went a long way, and with her help, I finished up on my own with all the gifts by about 10 PM.

(A glass of zinfandel helped, although the quality of the wrapping deteriorated afterwards).

MGM (7) would not go to sleep and was bouncing off the walls, even with multiple threats that Santa was watching.

Everyone was generally unhappy with each other when we went to bed at midnight.

I woke in a panic at 2 AM and remembered that I forgot to get two gifts to participate in the Yankee swap that my extended family does every year. Ugh. I hate that event. I decided to let it pass without participating this year.

Ditto the Christmas Eve potluck, which we will likely miss since we have to drive nearly two hours after work tonight to get there and are always the last to arrive.

My To Do List was circulating through my head when the alarm went off this morning. 

Spouse and I agreed that we don’t really enjoy Christmas in its current iteration, and it just seemed like a series of stressful events that culminated in Never Doing Enough and somehow failing to meet External Expectations.

I brewed coffee and silently grumbled.

Trixie (5) came downstairs unprompted at 7 AM with a smile on her face. “Good morning, Mom!”

She went on to say that she was so excited for Christmas and then asked, “Is Santa Claus really real?”

I paused before answering. “What do you think?”

Trixie: “Yes! Real! And I even saw him twice! Once he was at Pet Smart (side note: This was the worst fake Santa ever. He looked to be about 17 and was there last year to take pictures with pets. We were there to buy a new leash) and once I saw him at school!”

Her parting words: “I just love Christmas.”

I’m going to go with that sentiment for the next few days. Thanks for the reminder, Trix.