“They’re heeeeere.” The little girl’s voice from the Poltergeist movie comes to mind when I realize that dum-dum-dum—the Holiday’s are once again looming around the corner.
Now don’t get me wrong—I love the Holidays and as a teacher I get a few weeks off—but I would love the celebration even more if I didn’t have to:
- Fight the crowds at the 3—yes, 3 maybe 4 if I go to the farmer’s market—different grocery stores at which I’ll drop lots of cash. “Celery and carrots will be cheaper at Costco than at XXX.” “The farmer’s market has those lovely gourmet vegetables.” “XXX has better bread.” ” I can get a free turkey at XXX.”
- Unpack, re-wash, holiday dishware and linens. “What do you mean we’re not using the Christmas dishes this year? Where’s the Santa tablecloth, mom?” These are the moans of spoiled children whose sad faces reflect their love of the traditional. ( yeah, whatever)
- Unpack, dust, and decorate! Be gone Martha Stewart! I shall not gaze upon thy magazine covers of perfect wreaths, hand-crafted ornaments, and gourmet treats! I shall avert mine eyes and tarry not at the magazine stands.
- Shopping, wrapping, shopping, wrapping, shopping for wrapping…
I could go on, but you get the picture.
Holiday Survival has become easier, as the children have grown older. Why? I delegate! Nobody wants to help mom bake cookies? Fine with me, then we shall have no cookies—less sugary and carb temptation for me!
Usually a control freak, I learned the joys of assigning tasks that have since lost their festive spark. One son enjoys putting up the decorations ( he’s 19) and sometimes I
beg get my daughters to bake. As the years slip by, the easier ( but more expensive) the whole ordeal Holiday becomes.
Quick story: Twenty two years ago, my first born came home from Kindergarten with my Christmas present. It was a 4- inch square box wrapped with Christmas paper. He told me not to open it, because his love was inside. I placed it under the tree, told him I would treasure it forever. Every year that Box of Love went under the tree. It was a tradition special only to me—or so I thought. Since that time, the box has become yellowed, the edges frayed, and the paper wrinkled.
Last year, my 27-year old son barreled through the door—fiancé in tow—and dashed to the tree.
“Mom! Where’s my Box of Love?” he cried. “I told Steffi you have it under the tree every year. I don’t see it. Did you throw it out?”
What? I never knew he noticed or even cared!
I pointed at several red plastic bins awaiting my attention in the foyer. “I haven’t gotten to it yet. I’m still unpacking the decorations.”
He gave me a dubious look.
I went through the boxes and low and behold—lifted the Box of Love from the container. With great ceremony, I placed it under the tree.
“I knew she had it,” he said to his fiancé. And with that, he waved goodbye and they departed.
I sat down and cried.
How do I survive the Holidays? One memory at a time.