Unless you live under a rock, the holidays are here in full swing. For some people this is a joyous time of year. A time to decorate the home with lights, ornaments, wintery-scented candles, trees of assorted sizes, and festive centerpieces. A time where families and friends get together for special dinners, gift exchanges followed by hugs, kisses, smeared lipstick and holiday sweaters. But for those hiding under that rock, just trying to bare the traditions, the holidays mean something else. For them, once those “magic” boxes of holiday decorations are pulled out after Thanksgiving, it means time to get yourself out from underneath that rock and embrace the Christmas cheer, because frankly there’s no way to avoid it.
Opening the box labeled “X-MAS decorations,” you find Christmas lights, or what I call a ball of cord confusion. There are usually 10 sets of lights, which may or may not still work depending on one bulb, mixed with garlands and tinsel. And every year, you pull out the same balled up hot mess of lights. They seem to go in the “magic” box nicely, but then come next year, bam, you’re untangling chords for days. Finally, the lights are on the tree and you have to admit, the ambience of the decorations look quite nice and festive.
But, the tree, whether freshly cut or freshly assembled from its storage box, never smells quite as piney as Christmas should smell. To alleviate that problem because what would the holidays truly be if it didn’t smell like a pine forest in your house, you purchase winter-scented candles, maybe a pine scented bathroom spray, and let’s throw in a Glade plug-in Christmas cranberry sauce aroma. Tree plus tree scent, done and done. Going through the box, you find your favorite holiday CD. There’s nothing like hearing the same 12 holiday songs in different styles and versions every year, both at home, on every radio station, grocery store and shopping establishment. “Santa Clause is Coming to Town,” by Bruce Springsteen, followed by a choir singing “Noel,” comes on the Christmas playlist. Leave it to the Boss and angelic voices to get me pumped with Christmas spirit. Now that the house is spruced with spruce and the X-MAS box has vomited on your abode, its time to celebrate with loved ones.
Thanksgiving was the practice round. Christmas is the major leagues when it comes to family time. Christmas Eve, everyone is “excited” until it sets in. “It” being the holiday reality. That in a few hours, your nicely cleaned kitchen for the visiting parentals will soon be a disaster once the festivities commence. Slipping on potato peels and continuously cleaning splattered gravy from the kitchen walls as your boisterous mother simultaneously prepares her many famous dishes are always something to look forward to. With time ticking your mother has already broken the pepper mill, scared away your father and significant other from the kitchen and everyone is on the verge of an emotional breakdown.
Thankfully, humans discovered the gift of alcohol or what I call, holiday fun juice. With holiday fun juice, the ease of holiday cheer comes more naturally, but like everything there is a limit. And you definitely do not want to be the “one” at the holiday party who drinks too much-- those memories are never lived down. Year after year, someone always has to bring up Joe Schmoe who danced on the tabletops and flirted with his co-workers, making the next few days at the office very awkward. However, whether we admit it or not, when it comes to the holidays, the limit line can sometimes be hidden in one of the advent calender days and no rock is large enough to hide under. So this holiday season, embrace the time spent untangling lights, the drunken family arguments, the explosion of red and green, the waste of paper from unwrapping presents, the typical holiday gifts sold at ROSS Dress for Less, and the overall holiday cheer, because you know you’re just going to have to do it all over again next year.