This is for you all to read in between your fourth and fifth trip to the grocery store this week, in between your third and fourth cup of coffee for the day, and perhaps for when you stop to take a breath between all those “last minute shopping trips” that seem to go on for days. Just because. Because I enjoy a little self-deprecating humor. Because I like to share stories. Because stories are how we connect with each other. Because laughter is good for you. This is my ridiculous list of random holiday facts and observations about our family. (Because I already did a list of traditions last year.)
- I/we have about three 30-gallon totes filled with Christmas ornaments. They are individually wrapped in paper towels or tissue paper, and carefully packed away again at the end of each Christmas season. Many of these ornaments are from my childhood. Since I am the one who packs them away, and I recycle and/or save everything, some of the tissue paper and paper towels are vintage as well. Don’t judge.
- Putting the Christmas lights on the tree is my job. No one else’s.
- We do not listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving dinner. More precisely, it’s either on the car ride home or after the guests have left. And the kids came up with that rule.
- We usually only listen to Christmas classics. My kids have a special affinity for the crooners: Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and of course Ella Fitzgerald. Somehow, though, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” fits the category of “classics” in our house; probably because it was released before even Oldest Daughter was born.
- Middle Daughter knows her Christmas Classics so well that she has been disqualified from her dance teacher’s “name that tune” game.
- None of us like Country Christmas songs. None of us like “Dominic the Donkey.” None of us like Madonna’s version of “Santa Baby.” And “The Christmas Shoes” song is utterly intolerable.
- Not a single one of us can understand why “A Few of My Favorite Things” is considered a Christmas song by every radio station. Oldest Daughter researched this, and apparently it was released at Christmas time as a single…. but I still don’t get it.
- One year we couldn’t find any “cut your own Christmas tree” farms and ended up having to buy a tree from Lowe’s. And because we’d driven around for so long trying to find a farm, we were starving and stopped to eat at the nearest place, which happened to be Red Robin. Now, the kids look forward to going to Lowe’s and it is expected that we will eat at Red Robin when we go get the tree. Anything less is unacceptable.
- I love photo Christmas cards; I love to send them, I love to receive them. I have a bulletin board above my phone that holds them… (not lists or reminders) all year long. Each December, I take down the previous year’s and put new ones up.
- I can’t read “The Night Before Christmas” without crying by the end.
- Christmas movies that make me cry: “The Polar Express” (especially at the end when the narrator says, “the bell still rings for me.”); “Elf” (when they sing in Central Park and Santa flies over); “It’s a Wonderful Life” (even the sound bites they play on the radio make me cry, from George Bailey yelling, “Hey Burt! My mouth’s bleeding!” to Harry Bailey’s toast, “To my brother George, the richest man in town.”) I’m even getting misty just typing this up…
- Christmas movies that have me shaking my head as an adult: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (Why is Santa such a judgmental jerk in this? And why does Hermie the elf annoy the crap out of me? And it bothers me that all the reindeer and the coach torture Rudolph…); “Little Drummer Boy” (It’s so VIOLENT… it starts with murder, arson, and kidnapping. And I never could understand the meaning of that “When the Goose is Hanging High” song…)
- Christmas movies that I constantly mix up: “The Year Without a Santa Claus” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” I have to constantly clarify, “Is that the one with the heat miser and cold miser? Or the other one- with the Burger Meister?”
- I sang “The Hallelujah Chorus” twice in my life- once in high school and once in college, and I can still remember my part. Singing “White Christmas” reminds me of when I was in elementary school walking home from the bus stop. And when I’m all alone and singing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” I swear I sound as good as Karen Carpenter or Lea Michelle. But don’t ask me to sing in front of anyone.
- I do not, nor have I ever owned an Ugly Christmas Sweater.
There you have it. Happy Holidays!