Friday, December 3, 2010
The Christmas Nazi
I sometimes have a really hard time getting into the Christmas spirit even though it’s my favorite of all holidays. I think it’s because I tend to be a little crabby when it’s pitch black at 5:15pm every afternoon, and the kids are whining because they can’t play outside in the dark. Plus, running interference between a giant, bumbling Weenie Dog with half a brain permanently set on“Chew Mode” and all those unsuspecting electrical cords that are plentiful this time of year tends to take a little shine off the silver bells for me. And to top it off, I really hate being bombarded with commercials showing those lovely ladies who run from their well-appointed homes to find a Lexus in their driveway topped with a big, red bow on Christmas morning. Finding yoga pants under the tree for me really does not make for a “December to remember”. I’ll bet those Lexus-driving harpies eat Doritos and wear a size zero, too.
In spite of my decidedly Un-Cindy-Lou-Who-like attitude this year, I declared that my family is going to have a joyous holiday season even if it hurts, damn it. So, as I was on my hands and knees cleaning up a gift left for me not by Santa, but from the business end of a dog, I had a Clark Griswold epiphany. I think Clark summed it up for me best in “Christmas Vacation” when he said, “Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re going to press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny f**king Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat, white ass down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.” In that moment, I realized what I had to do. I had to implement a Normandy Beach-style Holiday Home Invasion. I had to become The Christmas Nazi.
I hatched my plan in about the time it takes to spray Lysol on the laundry room floor and scold my dog for his dirty deed. All I had to do was turn my home into the North Pole of the South and force-feed my kids nothing but Christmas carols, festive outings, marshmallow-laden hot cocoa, and holiday movies every day for a month. (Let me pause right here and give a big shout out to the ABC Family channel for helping me in this endeavor with their "25 Days of Christmas".) Just as The Grinch launched his assault to stop Christmas from coming, I was on a mission to do the very opposite. I was poised to inject my family with some hardcore holiday spirit.
My scheme started with the lighting of the family Christmas tree. Surely this would be an occasion over which we could bond and create beautiful memories, right? As we dragged bin after dusty bin from the garage, I felt my cheer quickly melting like a south Georgia snowfall in March. Our first "joyous" event had turned into a heated discussion over where the tree looked best, why it was taking so long to string the lights, who got to hang which ornament, and who's fault it was that we were out of brown liquor. By the time the tree was up and lit, the four of us were no longer on speaking terms, and with a healthy Cabernet in hand, I quickly retreated to the bedroom to wrap gifts and sulk. (Note to family members: Don't be surprised if your present looks like it's from the Unabomber. After a couple of glasses of the grape juice, my hand was a little unsteady with the scissors and tape.)
After my unsuccessful attempt to bring the family together over the old Tannenbaum, I decided we should try again with a trip to a local botanical garden that has an amazing light display, a place where we could drink decadent hot cocoa and put in a good word with Santa. In theory, my plan sounded great: the four of us bundled against the unseasonably cold weather, a jazz band playing Christmas favorites, and a merry spirit so thick you could almost hold it in your hand. Yeah, that would have been such an awesome evening if I hadn't spent the entire afternoon on a fruitless quest to find a pair of size two pink inline skates. After three hours of searching in a post-Thanksgiving weekend crowd, I was mentally and physically unstable. I walked into the house as it was time to leave for our perfectly delightful excursion and went all drill sergeant on the three of them.
"You people need to get your socks and shoes on NOW!"
"Put on your gloves! Don't you realize it's thirty-five degrees, and we are going to be outside, for crying out loud?"
"What did you people do with my comfortable jeans?"
"Who left dishes on the table? Can you all not clean up after yourselves?"
I single-handedly sabotaged my own best laid plans. Once my shell-shocked family was in the car and on the way, I turned around to my children and in my best Mommy Dearest voice said, "You need to have fun, understand?" They both quickly nodded in compliance knowing that Der Kommisar was hungry and having a bad hair day.
Everyone in the house is on high alert because the Christmas Nazi is actively on patrol. I have even managed to recruit my six-year-old into the army. Just last night she came running down the hall and said, "Mommy, do you know what J is watching? It's not a Christmas movie. It's iCarly." We marched down the hallway, an army of two, and demanded that the channel be changed to "The Santa Clause" or else.
I am certain that my brilliant plan for the Most Awesome Family Christmas Ever will result in one of two outcomes: Either I will succeed in creating beautiful memories that we will cherish for a lifetime, or I will find it impossible to wave to my traumatized family as they carry me away in a straight jacket. Seeing as how it's only December 3rd, and my hands are already trembling, it could go either way.