8 Things I Hate About The Holidays

Boulder Lifestyle 12/13.
Ellen in pink bunny pjsEvery year I get my hopes up that the holiday season will be stress-free, fun, and peaceful. I sniff the pine boughs and cinnamon scented candles, listen to Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole singing Christmas tunes in Target, and fantasize about how cute my twins will look in their matching snowflake pajamas by the tree on December 25th. Yet somehow reality never seems to match up with my visions, and by New Year’s I’m dreading the next holiday season. My top eight reasons why:
8. The Decorations
Each year the giant bow-laden front door wreath purchased under duress from aggressive high school band members drops brown needles in the front hall and looks half dead by Hanukah.
7. The Tree
With my husband’s eco-sensitivity, we long ago opted for fake. But I’ve lost (apathetically forfeited?) the battle for its assembly to our young twin boys. They stuff the plastic boughs into the trunk in random sequence with long branches toward the top and short ones below. The completed structure looks like a skinny dancing Sasquatch shot full of arrows.
6. The Festive Make Up
One year I hit the Nordstrom’s counter to have my eyes “done” to ensure an ultra special look for the neighborhood holiday fete. Just prior to forking over the hand mirror for final inspection, the young cosmetician informed me she had recently moved from Orlando, Florida with a specialty of “Disney parade make-up.” My husband choked on his eggnog when he saw me, but our five year old twins found my resemblance to Snow White and Ariel mesmerizingly realistic.
5. The Baking Traditions
I’ll never attempt a gingerbread house from scratch, but my children and I have built innumerable kit houses with leaning walls and oozing frosting which end up looking like they’ve had a successful visit from the Big Bad Wolf.
4. Holiday Cards
While glossy cards arrive daily during December showcasing joyous frolicking families, the shipping of our family holiday cards has lagged to Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s, and often Easter. The most classic was the card with our boys in ski jumpsuits and helmets that went out in July with the sub-heading: “Must Be Ski Season Somewhere – Argentina?”
3. Gifts Given Gone Awry
My father and I once observed a man walking with a long handled tool picking up trash. Dad commented he’d be more likely to walk if he had a purpose like this. Months later at Christmas, I thoughtfully shipped him a “Nifty Nabber EZ Grabber.” But something got lost in the translation, and my dad was insulted by the insinuation that he could no longer access the canned goods off the top shelf in his pantry.
2. Gifts Received Gone Awry
Our first year back in a winter climate, I could never get warm. I roamed the house at dinner time in my husband’s wool socks, dreaming of a new sexy ski outfit. Instead, on Christmas, my concerned husband delivered a zip-up full bunny sleeper suit – pink, with black and white Dalmation spots and a hood. I looked like a Chick Fil A cow mascot drunk on Pepto Bismol.
1. Holiday Manners Faux Pas
And then there was the year I sent one of my boys to return the pie tin from our neighborhood Martha Stewart’s home made gift. He assured her he hadn’t actually sampled the pie because, “Mom says it’s gross.”

Yet before I know it, these traumas have simply become minor anecdotes. And somehow by Halloween, my amnesia sets in, and my hopefulness takes over once again. I did just recently see the cutest sets of little boy pajamas….and is that Bing Crosby singing?

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3 comments on “8 Things I Hate About The Holidays

  1. Ellen
    As usual, love your stories. I, too, always dream of a Norman Rockwell Christmas only to be frazzled and disappointed. Solution: lower expectations equal joy and surprises.

  2. This has been our 2nd winter back east, but our 1st “real” one. Between that fact and the fact that Peggy used to get cold with a 10 degree variance in temp. even while living in So.Cal. , I knew the perfect Christmas gift for her. Since she doesn’t ski I knew that she wasn’t pining for a sexy ski suit. But because of her aforementioned sensitivity to temperature fluxuations I thought of a gift she might love. It was Minnie Mouse footed 1 piece PJ’s ,complete with ears and polka-dotted bow. I know that we husbands, as a whole don’t have a great track record with Christmas presents for our lovely spouses, but in this case I hit the center of the bullseye. She grinned like a little girl getting front row tickets to a Justin Beiber (sic) concert. Score one for the Neanderthals. BTW Congrats on the 2nd place. I love your writing .

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