Have You Used the Word “Survival” to Describe Christmas?

Something’s wrong when most women I know are looking like they’ve had lobotomies, even out here in the land beyond the twelve days of Christmas.  People, should Christmas really be an extreme sport?  Should the word “survival” be associated with it?

Year to year this is a race that even the fittest can’t survive.  At least the way we’ve got it set up in America, where we begin the day after Thanksgiving and — at least for the liturgically inclined — march right along with the wise men up to Epiphany.

Christmas is our Texas-sized holiday, during which everything is big.  I knowingly participate in something that, the rest of the year, I write and teach about avoiding — American excess.

And yet here’s the rub: much of it I enjoy.  And this year I enjoyed it more than ever before.

So it’s not as simple as I’d like to think; I can’t just write a post vilifying the commercial and cultural side of Christmas.  I don’t want to do away with those aspects of Christmas.  I don’t even want to do away with bounty (though excess can go). I want it to be a season that’s distinct from the rest of the year. And anyway the whole thing is worth it just to get to the calm and peace and isolation that fall on December 26, the most blessed day of the year.

But here I am, on January 7, overwhelmed with evidence of Christmas, and feeling a little ambivalent about it all.  It was a happy, fun time; the house didn’t burn down and the inhabitants didn’t do anything violent to each other (or to anyone else as far as I know).  Yet now when I’m ready to move on to, well, everything else, I still need to pick up the pieces/clean up the mess/pay the piper/reap what we’ve sown before I can go on to, well, anything else.

So here are some of the stats at my house (with a nod to Harper’s Index):

  • Number of days from arrival of first family member until departure of last: 42
  • Pounds of flour used in making cookies: 20
  • Pounds I gained: 2-4 (depending on my current country ham intake, which is running a bit high)
  • Apple products purchased: 7 (ok, that counts “protection plans,” which sound like birth control)
  • Pomegranates inexplicably left in fruit bowl: 3
  • Monogrammed item that arrived with a “V” when I asked for a “U”: 1
  • Purchased woolen donkey lost in transit: 1
  • Family members who got sick in one way or another: 5/6
  • Cool software bundles I need to install on computers: 2
  • Rooms of my house with piles of Christmas detritus needing to be boxed and put away: all (ok, I exaggerate; one bathroom has none)
  • Amount of money on VISA bill: can’t be mentioned in public
  • Thank you notes left to do: 1
  • Christmas cards I want to reread, cut the photos out of, and put in my cool, old theatre marquee in the family room: dozens
  • Cheesy Christmas aprons that I want to iron before storing: 5
  • New cheesy Christmas apron that I want to buy on eBay so every family member will have one (whether they want it or not) since one disintegrated: 1
  • Nations represented in the traditions we included in our celebrations: 734 or so
  • Nations to which we have no logical connection, out of those whose traditions we celebrated: 731 or so
  • Christmases in 2011 that will probably be pretty similar, for better and worse: 1


You know Christmas has gotten to you when you begin writing in the fudge.




~ by Cary on January 7, 2011.

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