Northern Intelligence

Mustering Christmas Spirit this Year

Christmas is only ten days away and I don’t have any of my decorations out.

I know I should be getting into the Christmas spirit this year. I have a great job, we’re practically living in the North Pole (or as close as I would want to get to it), and my parents are even making the trip up for the holidays. I should be dancing around the house in my Santa hat and ambushing my husband with Christmas decorations. (About six months into our relationship, I realized that I was dating a Scrooge and since then, have taken an enormous amount of pleasure of saving all my Christmas decorating until he goes out to run an errand. Then he comes home and BAM! Christmas City.)

But I haven’t been able to muster the energy this Christmas. I was asked to handle the client gifts and holiday donation project this year for the firm and, because I wanted to do a great job, I let myself get completely stressed out over it. For the first time in MY LIFE, I am Christmas’d out. Our Christmas package from my parents arrived before I had put up the tree. There’s nary a holly-garnished doorway and no sign of my favorite plus-sized gentleman who rocks the fur-trimmed suit. And my husband has been free to lounge on the couch without getting the evil-eye from my Nutcracker Army. (What he doesn’t realize is that if he stopped telling my family how much they creep him out, they would stop buying them for me.)

Usually I love Christmas. LOVE IT. If Christmas had a house, I would ride by it on my bike twice a day. I would make it a mixed tape on Valentine’s Day. I’d scrawl “I Heart Xmas” on my locker and giggle when I passed it in the halls. I’ve been a huge fan of the holiday ever since I was a little girl.

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The blame rests solely with my parents. If they hadn’t made the holiday so much fun for me and my sister, I would be able to control myself better and my husband would never have to pull me away from our Christmas tree by my belt loops. (I wish I could say I was kidding. But in my defense, it was only that one-year and I had consumed a bit of cough syrup fighting off the Holiday Plague.) Every year my folks would throw a big party on Christmas Eve, and our family and friends would come. Everyone would bring food and it was all the dishes you only got to eat at Christmas, like bacon-wrapped water chestnuts and “pizza” dip. There’d be Christmas music playing and everyone got to open one gift before we had to go to bed. Then, during the night, my parents would stage “evidence” that Santa had been there, like snowy footprints leading from the stove to the tree, and eating the food we put out. (I did, however, find it strange that my parents insisted Santa actually preferred wine and Chinese food to milk and cookies. Apparently, they used to “rock, paper, scissors” over who had to eat Rudolph’s carrot.)

So it makes perfect sense that I ended up marrying a man who doesn’t like Christmas. (To clarify: he likes the Christmas that is celebrating the birth of Christ. The shopping, the cooking and the social obligations are what he doesn’t like.)

Over the years, my husband and I have had to agree on certain ground rules concerning the holiday. For example, he refuses to get out of bed to open presents before 10 am. Of course, it doesn’t really count as sleeping in with me leaning over him, asking, “Can we get up? Now? Up now??” I take down the decorations before New Year’s. I don’t make him eat Christmas cookies. (Actually, that’s really more a statement about my baking skills. The last time I made sugar cookies, they were described as tough and “hurty.”) And even though our dogs would LOVE THEM, I have agreed to never dress them in Christmas sweaters.

But this year, it’s actually been HIM who has been saying, “We really need to get the decorations up soon.” It just seems like every time I go to drag the boxes out of storage, something more pressing comes up and it has to go on the back-burner. And I only have one week to turn this place into the Christmas City. I just know if I get the bells and holly out, I can get back the excitement of Christmas. I’ll deck my halls even if it takes all weekend.

All I have to do is convince my husband to run out for groceries first.

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

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