Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Things I Won't Miss About the Holidays

Well, they are all gone…..and I miss them. The kids, the grandchild, spouses, boyfriends have all moved on after a warm and happy holiday visit. On the whole it was a very successful and satisfying time. All major family groups and sub-groups were checked in with. Friends were wined and dined.

Still, as I sit in my easy chair gazing at the Christmas tree wondering whether I will put it out for the birds or just chuck it for pick-up, it occurs to me there are things I won’t miss about Christmas.

Father Bill’s Holiday Homily. We all pack up and head for Mass on Christmas Eve at the local parish. It is, in general, a very pleasant if not inspiring event: great decorations and good music are the highlights. The low-light is the pastor’s Christmas sermon. Any presentation (or at least the two I attend annually) usually contains references to the latest motion pictures, sometimes including reviews, and also to bodily functions. This year the theme was water and the good man was linking water with the divinity. He is not the first to do this. The Druids did it several thousand years ago and burned at the stake for it. He also did a clinical description on how our bodies use and excrete water. How this tied in to the higher message, I am not sure. The classic in this genre was the Jesus Farts homily he delivered a number of years ago. Granted, he was trying to make the point that Jesus was a human being, but he could have done it in a way that didn’t send the first three rows of the faithful into cardiac arrest.

Eating. Each year prior to the holidays I sit myself down for a lecture that goes like this:
“Look you do not have to shove everything that comes down the pike in the next two weeks in your pie hole. It’s embarrassing that you are always the guy with two plates at the buffet. Really, no one else even eats fruit cake. Do you really need three slices?” However, when the festivities start the little Christmas elf that lives in my hypothalamus starts to sing: “We need another cupcake, right this very minute….”

Snow. We have had more than our share of ice and snow this holiday season and I hate every infernal chunk and flake of it. Whenever guests are expected, I have to make sure every square inch of the place is shoveled and sanded and then hold my breath that someone doesn’t fall and test the boundaries of my home owners insurance. Every time I hear Bing whining about a white Christmas, I think that he didn’t deserve to die on a warm, sunny California golf course, but should have perished in a bone crushing fall on a snow covered Jersey walkway.

Christmas cards. The politics of Christmas cards in our household would give a Hapsburg diplomat the heebeejeebies. Weeks before the big day we review our lists and axe those people who have not sent us a card for two years. This is kindly Kathie’s policy. I have more of a hair trigger when it comes to non-senders and one slip up would dispatch them. Then there are the people on our list who send us a card every year, but we have either forgotten who they are, or never knew in the first place. We considered striking these people this year, but when Kathie mentioned a few names she was considering lopping, I countered by saying they sounded like my relatives and, in fairness, we should also strike some of the unknown that sounded like her relatives as well. A stalemate resulted and they all stayed.

Trips to the mail box are filled with angst or anger: either we will get a card from someone we didn’t include, or worse, realize we are not going to get a card from someone to whom we sent. I hope those rats realize they have entered their one year probationary period. Our response to getting a card from someone to whom we did not send depends on when we get the card. A few weeks before Christmas, and we fire one off to them, even if we don’t know who they are. A few days before the holiday and we are flumfloxxed. In our household, senders of cards that come after Christmas go on the probationary list because it is obvious that they only sent us one because we sent them one. Kathie has proposed that we either send e-cards or New Year’s cards to those we omitted. I don’t think e-cards count because you can’t clutter up the mantel and window sills with them like you can with real cards. Those who receive a New Year’s card will be pissed because they will think they have to send us one next year at a time when they believe they are clear of the whole stinking card mess.

The FedEx Guy. The regular delivery guy has a hard time finding our house, the holiday reinforcements are hopeless. We wind up chasing our packages all over creation. This year one showed up at our door with a nice and expensive looking package. A Wii, I’m thinking. Needless to say, it was not for us. On the way out, he backed over the spotlight that was a key element in my outdoor lighting display. We need another cupcake, right this very minute.

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