This is the week that Christmas-celebrators begin to slump. Get those last few cards into the mailbox. Find all the hidden gifts in the attic, pull down the miles of wrapping paper and start taping and cutting like crazy people, only to hide them again until The Big Day. Take a count of the gifts…do we need one more here or there? What did we get that person again? You sure they are going to like it?? Ugh…forgot about the stockings! Shy of stuffing it full of cash (which honestly might be fun to do one year…or cash and lottery tickets?), finding those wee things can sometimes be the straw that breaks the stocking-stuffer’s back. Just how many Eos lipsmackers does a kid need? See, I’m easy. I just tell my husband to high-tail it to the nearest jeweler.
But forge on we must. When you don’t have the energy to hide that elf One. More. Time…..you must. Or, better yet, when you find yourself waking…jolting!…out of sweet slumber because you forgot to hide it and now here you are stumbling around the house at 3am trying to find yet another creative place to stash this little demon with the red cap. You’d really like to just shove him in the nearest poinsettia but what you end up doing in the stealth of night is building an elf-fortress out of the ribbon candy on your mantle (*note yet another chapter that every single baby-book failed to include). Why? Because it is with these things…these silly holiday things that we do year-in and year-out that marks our time and our traditions. And weirdly enough, we remember them for a lifetime.
I often joke with my parents and tell them that the year they say they aren’t getting a Christmas tree “because it’s just too much work” is the year they will have officially gotten old. We must not succumb to the old and the tired in us. Even my grandparents, in one of the waaaay latter years in their lives, somehow mustered the energy to get a tree…ok, so it was the hacked-off top of a bush in their yard, but it was a tree-like structure in their living room nonetheless. Points go to them for both vigor, vim and a healthy does of creativity. And yes, I will remember that, too, for the rest of my lifetime.
The kids will remember when the Elf was found in the bag of mini-marshmallows, scattering them everywhere or in the American Girl Doll tub, also filled with marshmallows (big ones this time). They will remember that we exchange pjs on Christmas Eve, eat a special family coffee cake only on Christmas morning and no other day of the year and that sugar cookies are a complete must during the baking season. They will remember that the mistletoe always hangs in the kitchen because that’s the place with the most traffic, resulting in the most holiday kisses. They will remember visiting the house in the neighborhood with the gajillion lights each year, even though they know the location of each one of them. They will remember to always read the copy of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” that their mom received when she was 5 years old. It is battered and loved and will be read again and again, hopefully to many little people to come. It’s the edition with the best illustrations, after all.
So when those shoulders start to droop and the thought of running to the grocery store for one more pound of butter (WHY have I not thought of this until now…we need stock IN BUTTER!) to make one more batch of cookies just makes your feet ache thinking of the hours you will be standing on them instead of nestling in on the couch with a big rum-infused egg nog in your hand…remember…
that they will remember. And that it’s all worth it to make their holiday and your holiday brighter. Without these loopy, zany, sentimental, wonderful traditions that we each have, it’s is…just…another…day.
So, bake on, wrap on and enjoy the sugar-plumbed fruits of your labor. You will have made a delightful memory somewhere in there~