And so, the season I dread is upon me. Christmas.
I used be wild about it. I used to love the tacky decorations and the music in October and trying to figure out what to make or buy everyone. I wanted to sing carols and go to festive parties and be in the ubiquitous Christmas play. The cleaning, the decorating, the baking and wrapping frenzies were exciting and joy-filled.
Now it all just exhausts me and overwhelms me. I don't know when the change came or how the bah-humbug crept in. I'm not sure if I'm just more disgusted now by all the commericalization or if I'm tired of feeling "obligated" to buy/make gifts for family members who need absolutely nothing. Shall we get Uncle Pickle Nose (the girlies call him that) another golfing gag gift? I know, let's get the folks a "Cat-opoly" game. It will look perfect next to their "Maine-opoly" and their "Daytona-500-opoly", neither of which they ever play.
But we love them all, we really do and I feel awful if we don't get them anything, you know? We did try a few times to talk my in-laws and Pickle Nose and GrammaJ into a no-gifts-let's-just-get-together-and-make-memories celebration. We also tried the let's-just-figure-out-how-much-we-would-have-spent-and-give-it-to-a-worthy-ministry approach.
Both attempts went over like a turd in a punchbowl.
Grammy and Grampy want to buy us socks and jammies and unique kitchen doo-dads and power tools. Uncle Pickle Nose would feel horrid if he didn't get his little brother a shirt and me a sweater from JC Penney's. My Mom would be heartbroken if she couldn't get Mulletman a toy car or give us our fifth set of pedicure tools or be able to listen in breathless wonder as I open my extra special gift of gaudy jewelry that I'll never wear. And they'd all be horrified to even consider not buying loads of goodies for the girls who really don't need (or want) anything.
And I'm just too darned nice to let them do all the giving and then Mulletman and I get in a stew over what to get them or make them and how much to spend and we're both in sour moods because we have no ideas and then it's almost Christmas and we still haven't got any gifts and...ugh. And then I make or buy something stupid just so we have a gift for them and they try to smile and say "thank you" but really they hate it and wonder what we were thinking and...yeah, you get the picture.
OK, truth be told, some years haven't been all that bad. We've had terrific ideas and/or planned ahead and felt rather pleased with how it all worked out. But this year we're just drawing blanks across the board.
I have one stocking stuffer for Funsocksgirl (and she's gonna LOVE it!) and we have a vague idea for one more gift for her and the J-Man.
Scout? Not an inkling. Heck, we don't even have his address or phone number. (Insert lots of irritated mother grumbling here. I'm about to demote him back to "Bonehead".)
The Folks? Absolutely no idea except for Grampy's birthday (He and Grammy both have their birthdays within a week of Christmas). He specifically requested that I make a little pillow for him to carry with him to use behind his back when he's waiting in Dr's offices etc. That's a done deal.
Uncle Pickle Nose? Clueless...and he's coming all the way from California to spend Christmas with us.
Mulletman? Everything he has expressed a desire for is over $500. Shall I get him a propane firplace space heater? A new speaker system for the stereo? a new refrigerator? (Oh wait, that would be for ME!) Actually I'm toying with an i-pod thought. That might solve some of our music crossfire issues... Never mind. I spoke before I shopped. I just looked them up online and while they aren't $500, they are still waaaaaaaaay more money than I'm gonna spend - even on my sweetie. Sheesh!
GrammaJ? Actually, she'll be the easiest one. She is poor as a church mouse and actually NEEDS many things. The only trouble here will be narrowing the list down to something manageable.
The Girlies? OK, here's a happy spot in the midst of all this holiday angst. First of all, we have two of the sweetest, most selfless little girlies in the entire civilized world (and no, Iam NOT prejudiced!). They rarely, if ever, ask for anything. This may be because we don't have a tv and they don't see those nasty greed inducing commercials, but I prefer to attribute it to their marvelously sweet and innocent Christ-like natures.
At any rate, they're so content with what they already have, that I could only think of one thing to buy them for Christmas...
*****Fade to this past Thursday *****
My mom, GrammaJ, wanted the girls to spend the day with her making Christmas decorations. They were going to string popcorn, watch badly animated Japanese cartoons and make green and red paper chains. This left Mulletman and I with several hours of alone time.
Mulletman: What would you like to do while the girls are with your mom?
Groovy: Christmas shop. I'd rather die than be caught shopping in the masses after Thanksgiving.
Both of us: UGH!
Accordingly, we went shopping.
Groovy: Any ideas on what to get the girlies?
Mulletman: I can't think of a thing. They are so sweet and so content and they really don't need a single thing.
Both of us: (smiling dreamily) sigh...
Groovy: Well, (fidgets nervously) I did have ONE thought.
Groovy: (in a VERY small voice) What if we get them a hamster?
Here is where I was prepared to launch into my speech, the lecture I have given him at least a dozen times in the past 7+ years, the plea I have laid before him ever since the beagle catastrophe of '99, the discourse where I outline how important it is for children to have pets and how having pets would help teach the girls responsibility and how much the girls love animals and how grateful they'd be and how it wouldn't cost much because I still have all those old cages in the cave (a storage room in our garage) and how easy it would be to get rodent sitters if we choose to take a vacation and how we coud take the exercise wheels away at night if they got too roudy and...Mulletman piped up before I could even begin.
Groovy: (stunned silence)
Then we actually went into a pet store.
Mulletman: Can you keep more than one hamster in a cage? I think the girls should each have their own, don't you?
Groovy: (no response because Groovy has passed out. It's a good thing the PetSmart associates had smelling salts!)
Anyhoo, at least one of our Christmas dilemmas has been very happily solved. However, Mulletman may have bitten off more than he can gnaw; it has been scientifically proven that a hamster is just a gateway pet...
I've made no progress on my novel over the past few days because (look out, here come the excuses) I've been busy and I've been struggling with a chronic tension headache. Today shall be the turning point. Other than making 4 pies and doing some housework, today is a free day.
Look out, Jason. That's not Gabe at the door, it's Sarah and she's a bit on the needy side. Look past all those piercings and black clothing and you'll be surprised at what you see.