72 Days, and Counting…

It has started already. My family’s annual “What-are-we-gonna’-do-for-Christmas” discussion. Already – because you know, Christmas Eve is only 72 days away…

Christmas TreeDon’t get me wrong – I love Christmas as much as the next guy but, every year, we have the same discussion – and the same problems. When are we going to “celebrate?” (My younger siblings each have their own families so they need to be “home” to celebrate the holiday in their own respective homes – I guess my husband and I don’t count as a family). How much should we spend on gifts? (My Beloved and I have two fathers, seven siblings/siblings-in-law and nine “real children” – nieces, nephews and one great nephew – between us. We also have a nephew-in-law and the maybe-a-little-awkward brother-in-law-with-a-new-girlfriend-after-my-sister-passed couple, too). And that is even before we begin thinking about gifts for friends, may of whom we are actually a bit closer to then our “family” members.

It’s hard to figure it all out…

I mean, my father will be eighty-four at Christmas. He has EVERYTHING anyone could need (often 2-3 of them!). I usually smile when I say that he has like seven chains saws (not kidding, BTW!) and honestly, how many sweaters does a guy really need, right? I myself am fifty-five. When people ask me what I want for Christmas, I always grin and say a silver Porsche Panamera. I mean, I always think you should buy someone something as a gift that they would never treat themselves to on their own. And, sure, it’s a Porsche but hey – a four door, so really practical…

PorscheProbably a lot of this annual angst stems from my dearly departed Mom. For my Mother, 01 September was the “official” start of the Christmas season. Mom LOVED Christmas – every glittery ornament and every twinkling light, every peanut butter blossom cookie and every decadent cube of fudge, every gift and bow and box. She saved decades – I am NOT kidding, DECADES – worth of bows and package ties and ribbons. And for a long time, I sincerely believe my Mom sent out over three hundred and fifty Christmas cards every year. She sorted them by states and zip codes before mailing! I also remember her distress when my parents made friends with a nice Jewish family and Mom was all crazy about a card that was “appropriate” (BTW, this was when I was probably twelve or so, so maybe forty years ago or more).

Then there were the presents. I won’t lie – I had pretty indulgent grandparents on my Mom’s side, so every year, presents began under the tree and extended four or five feet into my parents’ living room floor. It was almost obscene some years…

Christmas GiftsAnd since my grandparents usually just sent my parents a check, my Mom lovingly – and with purpose – wrapped every single gift, following “The Rules:”

1. Foil paper ONLY – nothing plain.

2. No paper repeated; every gift had a different paper and bow.

3. Name tags went on the BOTTOM of each gift, so as not to disrupt the integrity of the wrapping.

4. Any package which deviated from these rules went to the BACK of the tree.

So yeah – much as I love my Mom and miss her, she did get a little “Christmas Crazy.” Which brings me back to my family’s current dilemma: What are we gonna’ do this year about presents?

I think I will suggest we each buy ourselves ONE gift WE want, wrap it (following Mom’s rules above), bring it to Pop-pop’s house for the annual holiday feast and unwrap it in front of one another. As we do, we will act surprised and thank everyone for the perfect gift. My Mom would be happy. My Dad will be happy. All the kids will be happy (since they got exactly what they wanted!)

And while I will not get the Porsche that I asked for, at least I won’t get another acrylic sweater…


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