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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

I usually try to keep it to myself because it may be a little dark, but my favorite Christmas song is Fairytale of New York

by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl.

 

Perhaps it’s the way the lighthearted melody contrasts with the heaviness of the lyrics. Or maybe the writer in me is embracing its brutal honesty and hidden truths. It might even be the Celticness of it all, I don’t know, but whatever it is, it has an impact on me every time I hear it.

 

It’s raw. As the Irish often are. It’s real. Emotionally based. And it’s deep.

 

There’s something to be said for someone who has the grit to celebrate an imperfect life, holidays that turn out less than wondrous and writes lines like; “I could’ve been someone.”…“Well, so could anyone.”

 

Shudder.

 

It’s alright to admit your life hasn’t been perfect. That you’re not perfect. I remember, in a writing class years ago, the instructor told me my main character was too perfect. No one wants that. Imperfection is what encourages strength and growth. It makes us legit. Interesting. Three dimensional. Tempting. Addictive.

 

We can all be someone. Just the same as anyone. But different. We all get that chance. We just have to take it. And use it well.

 

Keep living. Keep fighting. Keep dreaming.

 

And don’t let anyone take any of that from you.

Behind every song

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At least I don’t have to wear the crippling stilettos or the breathtaking (no really, I can’t breath) party frock while puzzling over extension cord hell, wading through the tangled light swamps, while fighting mean crowds for a Black Magic Box or when searching the aisles for the perfect fuzzy socks.

I didn’t mean to rhyme that last sentence, I swear. I’m pretty sure you can tell from the imbalance I created by doing so. But…’tis the season, right?

Everyone’s in a jolly, rhymy, singy type of mood. Yes, even me. Well, maybe not jolly and singy, but it seems rhymy isn’t a stretch.

If you read my post from last year I’m sure you’re worried about this one, but I’d like to ease your mind. I am in a slightly better position this time around. Our lights, although there can never be enough for the kids, are up and all are glowing. Our parlour is as finished as it’s going to get for now and looking rather festive I must say, swagged with seasonal set dec and sprouting a spriggy Spruce.

Christmas 3

I’m bought and wrapped (around each of these kid’s fingers that is) and the chimney is ready to soot that red suit.

Christmas 1

Extra! Extra! I’m shoutin’ it loud from a snow-laden rooftop near you. It’s down to the wire folks, and  I hope you’re as ready as I think I am because, as merry as it is, Christmas waits for no one. Naughty or nice.

Christmas 2

Christmas 4

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Sandy Hook

Children are exhausting ~ a full-on, twenty-four/seven job.

I have three and I’ve never been so thankful to be run-ragged in all my life.

With respect to Newtown, Connecticut, I have lingered over my own public recognition of this event. After all, who am I? I know no one. I don’t understand. I can’t relate.

But, I do feel, I am heartsick and sadly, I have never lacked imagination.

To become entangled in deliberation, speculation and persecution would be unfair to the fallen and their families. In their honor, I choose simplicity…

Dear Santa,

Forget Christmas. Tragedy doesn’t regard time nor know its place.

Forever and always, gift peace, strength, safety and goodwill and, if you’re honestly magical, maybe one day it will be a shorter wait to access medical help than a weapon and the ‘right to bare arms’ will simply mean that shirts without sleeves can be worn by anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Yours,

Truly Hazy

 

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Hung with care, I’m not so sure, but hung…absolutely!

The tree is up and lit, mind you, decorations adorn various nooks and crannies and from the outside the house emits a mysterious glow.   Mysterious, that is, because half our lights are burned out.  This realization came, of course, after hanging them.  Who checks beforehand?  “Probably everyone,” I tell my husband.

When the season was first upon us, I, in denial, stood before shelf after engorged shelf, each one literally bursting with boxes of dazzling illumination.  Seriously, if you had cash, credit or those nifty Canadian Tire dollars, the cream of the crop was yours for the picking.  They even light them now in tiny, little display portals so you can see what it is you’re buying.  This would’ve been handy years ago, when LED’s first appeared on the scene and we bought string after string of mismatched blues.

Fast track to today.  The shelves are bare, scattered with only what has been rejected and need I say…or, are you feeling my foreshadowing?  I’ll toy with you a little more…

They have big, acorn-sized white, they have primary shades (not the beautiful, crown jewel type gems) and they have, yes, the old school clear glass, non-LED (a.k.a. non-enviro friendly) type bulbs.

But, do they have the two strings of plain blue that I need to replace my, somehow, LED rule-defying burned out strings?  No.  They don’t have two.  They have one.

In the big ‘Christmas is too commercialized, this is not what it’s about’ scheme of things, it really isn’t a big deal. #firstworldproblems However, it is still frustrating and the fact doesn’t change that the lights, are indeed up, and our house be lookin’ cray cray.

Nonetheless, Christmas is well on its way in our good old homestead.  I was starting to think this was finally the year I’d actually have to say; I dunno what happened.  I guess we just missed it.

But missing it, we’re not.  There are all kinds of parties to get to, lunches to be had, shopping trips planned and family time organized and I know it will all be over and gone in the blink of an eye.

I do this every year.  I pull as Christmas pushes and anxiety builds with every popped Advent window.  It’s because I forget.  I forget that as it gets closer I start to stop.  I stop shying, shuddering and shirking and I start embracing, engaging and entangling whatever the season brings.

And it’s good.  Good to forget that I remember, good to remember that I forget, because I still want the magic and, it’s alway there….way at the back of the shelf.  I only have to turn on the lights to find it.

My Tree!

Our Tree!

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Slop.

A spoonful of potato hits the plate with a wallop and a little spec of mash lands on the hand holding it.  Instead of shuffling on like most, he pauses, making eye contact.  I steel myself, waiting for a curse word or a dirty look but all I see is empathy.

It’s the last place I want to be and if I hadn’t already committed, I’d be home, covers over my head.

“Bad day?” he asks, his voice soft, but hoarse.

“I’m sorry,” I apologize.  “I didn’t meant to…”

“No big deal.” he shrugs.  “I’ve had worse.”  His smile, as he moves on, leaves me with goose bumps.

“Yes, please.”  The next one says as I turn away from the man with the smile.  Her toothy grin, oily bob and blackened fingernails win her an extra scoop.

“Oh, thank you!” she squeals, as though I’ve just given her a hundred dollar bill.

My head throbs and pain stabs at my sinuses as I wonder which would be more disgusting; wiping my dripping nose with my cuff or pulling out the last damp, crumpled Kleenex I’d tucked into my sleeve.

There’s a lull in the line and I stand behind my steaming tray, looking out at the fifty round tables we had spent the morning setting up.  I find it alarming that all are full.

My toothy friend sits at the one closest, chuckling and chatting with whomever she can engage, her worn out red coat contrasting with her dark hair but matching her cheeks, her potato-covered tongue on display as she laughs.

They are all oohing and ahhing over the stockings we’d filled and placed at each setting; holding up the toothbrushes, bath beads and chocolates, hooting at the decks of cards and bags of mints.

Boom, boom, boom.  I’m tempted to leave my post to grab some aspirin, but the hoards are headed my way.  The warming lamps hover over the food, making me sweat and I start to feel very claustrophobic.

“Just a little, please.” The tiny girl in front of me requests. “I can’t eat very much and I’m not allowed to waste.”

She’s only about five and the sleeves of her shiny dress are completely tattered.  Her chin is just above table level and her big, gold eyes are like dollops of honey suspended over my shiny, silver tray.

“Yeah,” her dad confirms.  “Not too much for her.  Leave the rest of her portion for someone else.”

“How about you?” I ask.

“Oh, I’ll take my fair share.” He says, looking down.  I feel his shame.

“I meant, would you like the rest of her portion?” I shrug, trying to be nonchalant.

“Well, if…” he continues to look down, head hanging like a scorned pup.

Very gently, I place a double helping next to his peas.

“Anybody asks,” I offer, “you send them my way.”

He finally looks up and I can see that his eyes are an older, much more trampled version of his girl’s.  He too, smiles a smile that leaves me reeling.

After about twenty more servings, there’s another break.  I really am desperate for some relief.  My headache has turned into a machete attack and my nose is about to explode over the entire table.

I slide two fingers into my cuff and pull out the mutilated tissue.  Cupping it against my palm, I bring it up to my nose but it’s no use.  There’s more crumple than cotton.  Embarrassed, I try to stuff it back under my sleeve, unnoticed.

Plates are clamoring and I realize someone has cleared my tray away.  That’s my cue to get out on the floor and start helping clean up.

Coffee and tea is being served and everyone’s holding their cup with both hands, aware it may be the last warmth they feel until, well, who knows when.

I make my way around the room, the blinking Christmas lights taunting my overly sensitive eyes, while I push the bus cart loaded with well-used tableware.

As I reach out for yet another empty plate, a familiar finger brushes mine.

“I’m sorry.  I know I’m not supposed to touch you,” he says, “but I thought you might need these.”

I look up from the tan and weathered hand and see his forgiving face once again.  He’s holding out a small packet of Kleenex, the same one I’d placed in his stocking this morning.

I did need them.  I needed the Kleenex, I needed the compassion and I needed these people.

I was ignorant for being surprised that every seat was spoken for, naïve for being shocked that they wanted no more than their fair share, but mostly, I was foolish for thinking that this was the last place I wanted to be.

Give hands 3

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No really, things are going well.  Sure, my husband has been away for weeks on end, I’ve had the mother of all stubborn head colds – you know the kind where your skin and hair follicles weep when touched  – and a Bubonic Plague type flu has molested everyone else in our house Grim Reaper style, but…things are getting done.

I have made more than a dent in the Christmas shopping.  Of course there’s way too much for one and not enough for another, but still, achieving, and…I’ve wrapped pretty much everything I’ve purchased so far.  Oh, I said it.  Oh yes I di-id.

I’ve already mailed my parcels overseas (at least a month early for me – yes, they usually get there in January provided I’m ‘on the ball’) and I even managed to throw a few lights up on the house front.  Well, two mini trees, some sparkly snowflakes and a couple of LED wrapped urns to be exact.

Mini Tree

Mini Tree

Sparkly Snowflakes

Sparkly Snowflakes

LED Lit Urn

LED Wrapped Urn

I’ve been giving my dining room a facelift and we’re finally (after more than two long years) filling what I have affectionately dubbed the exposed beam and insulation display room upstairs with stuff to make it, well, you know, a bathroom once again.   We’re doing all of this now, after waiting all this time because right before Christmas is the perfect moment to start big projects, make an enormous mess and spend even more money, yes?  No.  But it’s all happening, regardless.

Chair Before

Chair Before

Chair After

Chair After

Bathroom Before

Exposed Beam & Insulation Display Room

Extra stress and every spare moment spoken for aside, it is awesome to be accomplishing so many things.  After all, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and at the risk of sounding all too presumptuous, I will live to see another tomorrow.

(Please excuse my shoddy snaps ~ a photographer I am not!)

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I’ve decided to go with it.  It’s gotta get done. Whether or not, I’m the one. So, ‘if I can’t beat ‘em, I join ‘em” and all that merry, ho ho fun.

I don’t know when it happened, but, over the years, slowly, surely, dreading Christmas has become second nature for me.  I don’t quite have custom “Grinch” tags sewn into my long johns, but do I jump up and down, fitfully clapping my hands upon the first sighting of halls decked with festive balls?  Umm, no.

So, the other day, I took a blowtorch to the Abominable Snowman shrouding my slowly melting heart, cranked the carols and flew my sleigh off to that magical place that has all things Christmas.  I shopped ‘til I dropped a wad of dough, drank my fair share of Peppermint Mochas and developed the shakes due to a lack of social media couch time.

And you know?  It wasn’t all that bad.  In fact, it was kind of empowering.  I took Christmas by its jingle bells under my wing and forced, err welcomed it to do things my way ease on into the stocking parked next to mine.

Make no mistake – when presents are wrapped, cards are sent out, my pen is capped and gone is my pout, I enjoy nothing more than a naughty ‘nog by the fire where I can dream big dreams of all I desire.

After all, the honor of putting the star on the tree, is not entirely lost on me.

Abominable Snowman

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