I always feel a little down this week between Christmas and New Year's. Looking at my trees leaves me rolling my eyes thinking about putting the ornaments away, I really want Hallmark to stop showing Christmas movies and resume The Golden Girls at midnight, and how can you not feel fat and hungover after all the festivities? Well--by moderation, I'm told.
I don't do moderation. Which is why I love Christmas so much. Christmas was invented for people like me, Liberace, Faux Fuchsia, and Marie Antoinette. More, more, more. I am in my element at Christmas. It gives me joy seeing grocery carts full of poinsettias, wine, and heavy cream. My tree has 20+ strands of (incandescent--a source of defiant pride) lights, 500+ ornaments, and was bought at 11 feet for a room with 10 foot ceilings.
Like so many of us, Clark Griswold resonates deeply with me. We all have
in our families. He is spastic and enthusiastic in his delusional quest for A PERFECT CHRISTMAS. He wants his family to come together and bask
in the glow of a bygone time, fueled by eggnog and nostalgia.
Last year, my mother and I pushed to reformat our Christmas celebration. Our traditions were tired and applied to a family 20 years ago; a family we no longer remotely resemble. Spearheaded by my grandmother's illness, we just knew a shakeup was in order. My grandmother is still living, but essentially in a waking coma. It is awful and, frankly, there is no silver lining to be found. I used to wish for a miracle and that she would be healed overnight. I now simply wish that she could be let go. To go on with business as usual at Christmas, missing the matriarch that binds us, hurt more than healed.
|My tree when I finally finished after 30 hours. This was about 4:30AM.|
The truth is that the world does not stop because we are heartbroken. Christmas will continue to roll around. In my opinion, Christmas is a beautiful distraction from the sadness and loss we all face. Bittersweet, to be sure. But when we laugh and share memories about the people we miss, I think a few little pieces of broken hearts can be mended.
I suppose that is where the maniacal Clark Griswold neurosis thrives.
will stop at nothing to enjoy Christmas with his family. And damn it, they'll enjoy it with him. They will
put aside their differences, listen to some Christmas music, and merrily drink
and eat. Yes, I share Clark's
hell or high water approach. Sometimes a
family just needs the iron fist of a Christmas-crazed nazi like Clark or
me. I have no doubt a fair amount of
complaints are made about me on the way to the dinner. It's natural and maybe even fair. I run a Yuletide dictatorship and I don't
accept requests. You want ham instead of
turkey? No. You want to start an hour
later? No. You don't like Christmas
music? You'll listen until you submit and sing along. But once everyone arrives, my Christmas mix
is blaring outside and in, the booze flows, there is so much food, and everyone starts enjoying themselves. Horrible words are spoken, laws are broken,
and cackling laughter echoes louder with each new round of drinks. It's not for the faint of heart or the
modest. It is so much fun. I feel so lucky that my family has this
time. We accept each other, share, teach
the next generation how to chug a beer (you'll always lose with a plastic cup,
according to my uncle), and remember why Christmas matters.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is no doubt a comedy. Except for the last moment. When
stands on his front steps and looks to the sky whispering "I did it." I always choke up. I know that feeling. And I'm happy to report that this year was no
different. I don't believe there is a
perfect Christmas to be achieved, but this year was as close as ever. It even works out that each family has a
non-drinker to drive. When everyone got
home around 2:30, I got a wave of texts with reflections of a great Christmas
Eve. They can bitch about me on the
way--but if they're beaming on the way home--I'll call it a success.
|I wanted the bar to look like a hedge. You're allowed to hate it. |
My mom did. I was thrilled with it.
|I admit--we use plastic cups.|
|I made that cardinal fascinator for my sister a few years ago as a joke,|
and my aunt has worn her Christmas bulb earrings for 20+ years
|The Walmart parking lot at 1:30 AM on 12-21. Emergency supplemental|
ornament run. Always busy.
|I hate this store. But I needed green ornaments.|
I was 300 short.
I hope you had a fabulously merry Christmas.