If you know anything about me, you know that I dread Christmas. I mean, why don’t you take my already overwhelming life with all of its cooking, laundry and children, make it painfully cold and slippery outside, throw in a stomach virus or two and tell me to erect a seven-foot pine tree in my living room? Then, make me leave the warmth and comfort of my house to track down and purchase several dozen items my kids don’t really need (at least not all at once) and have me wrap them individually under a veil of secrecy like I’m in the CIA while planning an elaborate meal that is supposed to impress 13 family members in a house that simply cannot accommodate them all since there is a giant friggin evergreen hogging the living room.
It is no exaggeration to say that Christmas and all of its stress brings me to tears every year and there is no one more happy when it is all over than me.
Still, I have to admit that not all of Christmas is bad. Truth be told, there are five things I don’t hate about it:
The Yule Log: There is nothing more cheesy or delightful than this televised, crackling fire accompanied by a medley of classic Christmas carols. I flick it on via my remote after we open our presents on Christmas morning and feel sorry for people who have real fireplaces and real chimneys with real animals nesting in them and real carcinogens to worry about. The Yule Log is only on for a few hours Christmas morning, but the joy it brings to my heart lasts all year long.
Chevy Chase: You can have your It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. For me, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is as beautiful a piece of storytelling magic there is. I cannot get enough of Eddie’s black dickey turtleneck, Aunt Bethany asking Clark if his house is on fire, and Clark asking Eddie if he can drive him out to the middle of nowhere and leave him for dead. Cannot. Get. Enough.
George Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau: I’m pretty sure that serious wine drinkers scoff at this young, light and heavily marketed red that comes only once a year, but I don’t care. It’s good, it’s affordable in bulk, and it takes the edge off. Without it, I might not be able to find even one thing I don’t hate about Christmas.
The Elf: I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I don’t hate the Elf on the Shelf. I actually kind of like him. Every year, when I have to put the stupid thing back in its box, I get all misty that another year has passed. I have big plans for the elf when my kids are older and I can do all sorts of creepy things with him, but for right now I
love don’t hate how my innocent little darlings stumble out of bed every morning with their hair going every which way to scour the house for him while still wrapped like hot dogs in their blankets.
The Nostalgia: There is something about Christmas that makes me long for another time. I think it’s the music. Almost every song reminds me of something or someone from the past. Whenever I hear Bing Crosby sing White Christmas for example, if I close my eyes I swear I can smell my grandmother. My grandmother hated Christmas as much as me, and I love her even more for it. I miss the way she would shove her guests out of the way so that she could get the damn dinner served and over with already. I try my best to keep her spirit alive by emulating her disgust at Christmas every year and according to my mother I do a pretty good job. Now my grandfather, swear to God, was named Rudolph so it’s impossible for me not to think of him over and over and over again this time of year. I wonder what will remind my kids of me at Christmas when they are grown? If I’m lucky, they will think of me whenever they hear Happy Holidays by Andy Williams and sing it the only way I know how–with extreme sarcasm.