Well…here it is…December 6th, and I am being struck by some harsh holiday truths:
1. There is no Fruitcake Fairy. Somehow, Jim and I completely forgot about making his Grammy Clark’s fruitcake this year (usually a project we undertake while others are getting ready for Halloween). I remembered it this weekend…too late! Our kids won’t care (fruitcake haters, all!), but I’m sure Jim’s relatives who we normally give it to might notice its absence! I happen to love fruitcake…I will miss it!
2. Times have changed. Gone are the days when I made all my own Christmas gifts (1970’s), sent a Christmas letter every year (1980’s), or had all my Christmas shopping done by the end of October (1990’s). Crap! I’ve got to buy the stuff to send to relatives in Ontario – mail service has also gone downhill!
3. I’d rather have a real tree. Artificial Christmas trees shed worse than real ones…allergies prevent us from having a real one. The poor thing looks more decrepit every year…
4. Decking the Halls is fun. “De-decking” is not. I think it was March last year before we took the lighted candy canes off the outside of the house. They have yet to reappear.
5. Gingerbread men have lost their charm. Children lose their enthusiasm for holiday baking as they get older. When asked if they wanted to help make Christmas cookies this year, the girls’ response was the equivalent of “Meh!”
6. They should sell Scotch tape equipped with a homing device. Finding tape to wrap presents when one needs it in our house is something akin to locating the Holy Grail. Our tape ends up in young Justin Bieber fans’ bedrooms holding up posters of their heartthrob…(and no, Hope…you can’t have JB for Christmas! We have enough teenagers, thanks!).
7. The cost of the present the kids want is directly proportional to how much money is in your bank account. The less you have, the more expensive the present. Teenagers find it so much easier to spend their parents’ money than their own! On a related note, you are obligated to spend the same amount of money on each child, down to the penny (they keep track!).
8. I still cry when I hear “Silent Night”. No matter where I am, this song still makes me burst into tears…it reminds me of my grandparents, who died many years ago. My family members stiffen when they see “Silent Night” in the programme of any Christmas concert we’re at…”Oh, man…get out the Kleenex! They’re gonna sing that song!” It’s even more embarrassing when I turn into a basket case listening to Muzak in the mall!
9. Christmas cards are passé. I used to send out about 40-50 cards every year. That was back when stamps were 6 cents each (okay, I’m exaggerating…I’m not that old!). This year, I will probably send them to elderly relatives who don’t have e-mail yet (I should probably pick some up soon – cards, not relatives). I will also use the opportunity to get rid of the approximately 187 wallet-size school photos we purchased.
10. Taking a decent family Christmas photo of 10 people and a dog is really difficult. This is the one we settled on yesterday after about 20 takes (Elise was watching the Garfield Christmas special on TV):