Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"I'll be home for...crap."

I kid you not. During my sister's piano recital (which she RULED, by the way), one sweet little boy stepped up to the piano, played the opening chromatic chords to "I'll be Home for Christmas," but had a little trouble with the beginning lyrics. The above title is a direct quote.

It's Christmas Eve Eve, the equivalent of "Dead Week" for last minute shoppers of the family. For other families that day would be tomorrow, but my family celebrates the Birth of Christ on the evening of the 24th, which moves everything up a bit.

This has been a difficult Christmas season in some respects. I love Christmas, and I love everything that comes with it - the baking, the tree, the lights, the choosing of gifts. I was sick - the first time - when we went out for our tree. It sat undecorated for a while, until I felt better enough to go on a rampage.

I've learned a lot about myself and sickness this month. I've discovered that if I'm sick for a while, the moment I feel a bit better I'll go on a bender. All of a sudden, come hell or high water, I find myself 100% devoted to getting something done. The first time it was the tree, which I decorated myself (Danny was sick by then). In my infinite wisdom, I started the lights at the top and worked my way down. It seemed logical at the time. Now...less so.

Things were equalizing, we were both healthy, until I got sick last week. Again. So when I started coming out of that one, I began wrapping gifts. All the gifts. I blew my nose, then wrapped more.

I take wrapping pretty seriously. There is something deeply, deeply troubling to me if the identity of the gift can be guessed just by looking at it. Starting at a young age, I learned how to ID my gifts. I thumped the front, feeling for a plastic window. I felt around the edges to see if it was a Nordstrom box (they had wide edges at the time). I pressed the paper down to try to see through it. I shook. I rattled. I annoyed my parents with my startling accuracy.

Oh, and I had my patented question: "Is it in its original box?"

Seriously. After that, my parents took the wrapping up a notch. Clothes for my American Girl doll were wrapped inside a standard garmet box...along with a seatbelt clip and some bolts. Christmas has never been the same. What's funny is that I married someone who does not have the same compulsion to examine his gifts. He's happy opening them and being surprised. Can't understand it.

Anyway, I got sick, I felt better, I wrapped. There is one gift I'm particularly proud of in its sneakiness - not only is the item entirely disguised, but I disguised it using a collection of objects I've been trying to get rid of for six months.

Then my Christmas cards arrived from Costco Printing, and I started in on those. Fifty cards. Twenty-four hours. I'm actually quite proud.

My sister's Christmas recital was the night before last. She played "Falling Slowly" from Once, and it was incredible. But as the rest of the 75-minute program progressed, I had some time to think about music. Particularly Christmas music.

Such as...have you ever though about how creepy the song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" really is? It makes him sound like a KGB operative...he knows everything. Scary. I mean -

"He sees you when you're sleeping,
He knows when you're awake,
He knows if you've been bad or good,
Because he wiretapped your place. Hey!"

(Note: I tried to put in a line about printing seditious pamphlets, but I couldn't get it to fit. "Pamphlets" is a tricky word to rhyme with

Other songs I dislike:

"Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" - Too cute-cutesy. Like the phrase "fro-yo", but worse.

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" - I'm not sure how this works, since most people put their trees in corners or against walls. Maybe the line "Rockin' back and forth in front of the Christmas tree" didn't make it past the test group stage. Either way, there's no lyrics with any meaning or cleverness, and even if there were, I'd likely resent it anyway.

"We Wish You a Merry Christmas" - BO-ring melody, and that line about bringing us the figgy pudding has always set me off. I don't know anyone who has ever baked fig pudding, so demanding something so disgusting and likely unattainable is doubly rude.

There's my riff on Christmas music. As far as the rest of life, I need to work on my book today, which I'm officially halfway through. The plot is progressing well, and my character is currently outside of Amish country, which makes my life easier. I've had a copy of Amish Grace sitting around for a month, but I haven't been able to get myself to read it. Having read about everything to do with the Amish, I think I've found my limit.

Ideally, I might bake today. We'll see. But whatever happens, it won't be to the tune of "We Wish you a Merry Christmas," because I'm clean out of figgy pudding.

P.S. Australia review coming soon. In the meantime, go see it.

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