Hey friends! It's almost December, how are you holding up? I come with tidings of laughter and truth. In this season, I often find myself overwhelmed with the pressure to make this "the most wonderful time of the year," when oddly, it's the most stressful time of the year. By mid-December, I am nursing a few ulcers in my mouth from the wine in the pm and double Starbucks coffee runs in the am routine. My knees are creaking from too much sugar and gluten (how can I say no to homemade iced sugar cookies??), and my shoulders feel as if they are pressed up to my earlobes with stress.
As women, we take on the responsibility of making Christmas wonderful for everyone, while putting our own holiday hopes and desires on the back burner. I remember howling when Amy, in Bad Moms Christmas, played by Mila Kunis said:
“Christmas is a magical time, full of wonder, excitement and joy. A time for making lasting memories with family and friends. But do you know the secret behind what makes Christmas so special? Moms. Moms working their asses off, cooking, wrapping, decorating and shopping.” We almost wet our pants BECAUSE IT’S TRUE!!
We laughed to tears through that movie because there's so much truth about that pressure we all feel, that somehow we will disappoint our kids into therapy as adults if we don't pull off the most magical, Elf spectacularish, holiday season. Dear Lord, that stupid Elf tradition. When can we stop hiding that damned Beany Baby reject? Someone last year had the balls to "gift" another Elf to all their kid's buddies; so now I am supposed to keep up with and hide Zeke, the regular house-elf, and his new damned friend "Stripes." Here is our dog, Gabe, last year, eating "Stripes." I had to really force myself to rescue "Stripes," from his slobbery mouth. I still question that decision, as I now crawl under beds and up into tops of closets trying to remember where I laid the damned elves to rest last January.
In my attempts to decorate my house to be the most wonderful place to celebrate Christmas, I stepped through my attic floor, a la Sparky in Christmas Vacation. Luckily I didn't fall to my death or get trapped in the attic all afternoon like Chevy Chase, but I did make most of my friends’ day with that story. Our builder was in a meeting when I called to ask if it was normal for people to drop a leg through an attic ceiling to which he replied, "Um, no, thank God, you are the first." I wish I could find the picture of my leg dangling oddly out of a white ceiling flanked by a large tuft of sheetrock and pink insulation.
Lastly, in my efforts to include as many little people in my family into our merry holiday, I have enjoyed memories like the time one of the cousins contracted the flu after sleeping with and basically licking as many of the other cousins as possible. We spent my daughter's unfortunate birthday in the doc in the box getting flu tests and subsequently sequestered in the house with Netflix as our lifeline to the healthy, outside world.
Another Christmas we had nine children under the age of 13 in the house. As I was making the Christmas roast and hoovering dirty dishes into the sink at a three dish per minute pace, my peripheral vision darted to water pouring out of the ceiling and onto the kitchen floor. The shouting, running, whooping and banging of children had been so constant, I couldn't tell if they had kicked through the wall and ripped out the plumbing, or possibly threw an axe into the washing machine. I ran up the stairs to find one of the bathroom faucets opened full blast the sink stopper firmly in place. Water was pouring out like a scene in a kids comedy movie. How could someone in their right mind do this? Strangely, when we lined up the kids they were all “confused” as well. Kids are so good at bluffing as a group!! Once again, our poor builder was summoned to the Ward household for a bizarre accident.
The conclusion I have come to is that at the time, when these things are occurring, and you have that bitchy, disappointed woman screeching in your head telling you this is ALL GOING HORRIBLY, TERRIBLY WRONG, remember that actually, these are the moments, that create the best stories, that your kids will be telling their kids, for years to come. So put your feet up for a moment, dear friends, expect all things "holiday" to possibly be a shit show and know that this will be part of the family narrative, that will be laughed over in years to come.
Love & hugs,
Kate & Saints of June