Many things didn’t get done this Christmas. No cards were sent, baked goods were half baked and most of them were eaten before we could send them off in pretty little gift bags. Some gifts barely made it out the door, others still sit in the back seat of my car hoping to make it to their recipient sometime before they are too old to wear/use/eat it. I did not send thank you notes for the lovely and thoughtful gifts we received. I did not set a beautiful table on Christmas Day, or New Year’s Day for that matter. Although I am the queen of eating off paper plates, I make it a habit to insist that on those two days of the year (at the very least), I rise above paper and plastic, and serve my family a meal off of something that doesn’t have to be recycled…But not this year. It was a major Christmas fail.
David and I both worked through the holidays. David worked long hours on the days leading up to Christmas, New Year’s Eve day and night, and all day on New Year’s. That blasted a hole in the seasonal holiday traditions we’d developed over the years. Hard to go caroling or drive out to see the lights at Candy Cane Lane when daddy doesn’t get home until 2am. I worked on a production the week leading up to Christmas, and all day on Christmas Eve. I loved the experience, it was amazing and I’d do it again in a heartbeat if they ask me, but that, in addition to fighting off a cold (a war I didn’t win), and a general sense of being overwhelmed by the holidays, meant a few things had to give. And give, they did.
I managed to feed the family over the holidays, but only after spending enough to boost the economy of the entire Los Angeles restaurant industry. How many times do you think you can go to McDonald’s, Starbucks, Jamba Juice, El Torito, or Big Mama’s Pizza in one week? You don’t want to know.
I hate shopping, hate malls even more. I usually plan out and do all of my holiday shopping online so I can limit the number of times I have to step foot in a mall and fight with some old lady (who I’d normally be really respectful to) because she’s about to steal my parking space and I’m one step away from ripping off her front fender and dragging her out of the car by her blue hair. But I didn’t plan ahead and order in time for online delivery, so I was forced to go to the mall. I dragged myself from store to store, mumbling under my breath and complaining as I bumped shoulders with other shoppers. My daughters, who (of course) LOVE going to the mall, were delighted. I rarely take them during the rest of the year, ranting that the mall is really just a large shrine to greed and over consumption which I only succumb to this time of year. Nicole looked at me sadly and complained, “It’s really not fair that we have a mother who doesn’t like to shop.”
Every day leading up to Christmas I’d open the mailbox I’d see another beautiful card from friends and neighbors near and far. I’d imagine the comments from people who didn’t see our picture card in their box and feel worse thinking about all those friends of my parents who would say something about not receiving any cards this year, or worse, those people who’d cross our name off their mailing list because they didn’t get a Christmas card from us this year – “Ah, one less card to send,” they’d say.
Yesterday, I’d finally gotten rid of my guilt over not sending out greeting cards for the first time in 13 years of marriage, or over the fact that for all the major holidays in December we ate in front of the t.v. with paper plates on our laps deciding what we’d watch on t.v. The holidays are over and it’s time to face the New Year.
At dinner last night, we discussed the New Year. My eight year old daughter, Natalie, reminded us all that the Mayans predicted that 2012 would be the end of the world. I told her that I generally don't worry about predictions made by people who are now extinct. (If they were so good at predictions, why didn’t they see that coming?) My husband jokingly suggested he’d try to start them up again, see if the Mayans could get a deal like the Native Americans and get their own casinos. Fiscally, not a bad idea, but practically, pretty offensive and rather implausible. Nicole, my eleven year old, was concerned about the exact date on which the world was supposed to end (according to the now distinct Mayans). We couldn’t remember if it was December 12th, which would be 12/12/12 (which would be kind of cool), or if it was December 21st, which would make sense because it is the solstice. After a few minutes of trying to determine which would be the best date for the end the world, Natalie, who has been worried about this Mayan prediction for almost a year now, reminded me that we’d have to serve quesadillas to commemorate it. “They always serve quesadillas when the world’s about to end,” she said…where does she get these ideas??? Then we spent another few minutes trying to decide which date would be a better day to have an end of the world party, 12/12 or 12/21. Either way, you know the best part about throwing an end of the world party? You don’t have to clean up afterwards. Happy New Year!