Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The year my mother hated Christmas

Most people I know really like Christmas. All important spiritual implications aside, the decorations are sparkly and the food smells good. I really like Christmas, too, and I like decorating my house. Like most newlyweds, Sweetie Pie and I inherited a few used decorations made out of felt at old Relief Society activities. Beyond that, we have a hodge-podge of cheap decorations placed with love and the hope that it feels like Christmas.


For as long as he can remember, Paddy's family has purchased their Christmas trees from the same people. We call them the Christmas Tree People, which I think is fitting if not overly creative, and we take them hot chocolate every time we go. The first year we were married, we took our tiny tree back to our tiny apartment strapped to our Honda Civic. The tree trunk was too skinny to stand upright in the stand, so Schmoopsie propped it up with cardboard and duct tape. We called it the Charlie Brown tree, and it's my favorite tree ever.

There are a million ways to decorate a Christmas tree, of course. We are not themey-type tree people, not that there's anything wrong with that. I've seen some lovely trees with color-coded lights and ornaments.

(Ok, I have to admit something here. Go ahead and call me a Scrooge, but can I just get it off my chest that I hate the Festival of Trees? It's a great cause and all and I've been paid by Primary Children's Hospital so maybe I have Festival money in my bank account right now--though it's unlikely given the amount of end of the year bills we've just paid, not that that's the point-- but I just don't like it. I think it has to do with a trip to the Festival in the 3rd grade that sort of scarred me. So bah hum bug.)

Anyway, it's just that we're not theme people. We have patriotic glass balls from Grandma Nancy and an ornament for every year of my life from my Bandie. We have ornaments from every year of our married life, too. Our honeymoon to Park City, Utah, for example.


By the next year, the furriest member of the family had joined us.

Last year, we bought a house.

And this year, of course, the Bug joined us. (She's not as hairy as Lupe.) (Also, she did not come by stork, but we've been over that.)
So clearly, our ornaments don't match.
I also have lots of nativity scenes around. Some are white, some are colorful, some are small, some are big. They don't match, either. So the point is that our Christmas style is a general lack of style. It's a hodge- podge style. My mom's house is the same way, and I love it.

So this one Christmas a couple of years back my mom's house was decorated just the way it always is. The hideous caroler ornament with the gaping mouth was hung on the tree with pride. (It's the only material thing my siblings and I have agreed to fight over once my parents die.) The hand painted nativity scene was set up on the mantel. (Have I ever told you about how there is an unidentified figurine in her nativity? It's a black man baring one breast draped in striped clothing. We call him Balthezar. I don't know why. Every year I let him watch while I set up the scene and then put him back in the box. Because bare chests are not allowed at the holy birth.) (Have I also ever told you that I over use parentheses?) The whole house was sparkly. Halls decked, you might say.

Until the 26th of December. You know, the DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS? Like when you wake up the next day? THAT DAY. I came home from work (don't ever work for Toys R Us over Christmas break) on the 26th of December, a.k.a the day after Christmas, and there is my mother working furiously with all the ornaments put away and half the pre-lit artificial tree in a heap on the floor.

There was simply no explaining it. She still can't really give a good explanation for what she was thinking, beyond that maybe her happy pills weren't quite up to snuff. We now refer to it as the year my mom hated Christmas.

And the reason I am thinking of all of this is because the neighbors across the street from my parents have decorated their home for Christmas. They might be theme people, I don't know. If they are, the name of their theme is Giant Inflatable Things Staked Into The Frozen Ground. With a touch of High Pitched Carols Blasting From Their Crappy Yard Decorations 24 Hours A Day thrown in for fun.

And I'm telling you what, it makes me hope they take it down on the 26th of December. Otherwise, between that terrible music and the Festival of trees and FM 100 playing that %$#^! Christmas Shoes song, a tiny part of me might start hating Christmas, too.
Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

Ash, Dev, & Coop said...

I love this post! So funny (and who doesn't like a few parentheses here and there? It gives us some insight.) Anyway I can totally see your mom doing this.