I love this holiday.
For one thing I love the decorating. Like the most of families, my family will cheerfully hang on to ornaments that are cracked, ugly, or created by a five year old, purely for their sentimental value. For example, we’ve got a broken Harry Potter ornament, tragically decapitated in a fall last year, whose disembodied head we now hang on the tree and claim he is wearing his invisibility cloak. (We also like to hide the body somewhere around the house to be found in March or April, or just wait until a guest has his head turned and drop it in his wine.)
We’ve also got holiday embarrassment covered, in the form of felt reindeer antlers which the Moms insists we all wear whenever we are in the house, and which she likes to force on our guests, like a test to see how much humiliation they can endure before they stop coming over.
I love the surprise element: watching the Moms slyly slip presents into the dog’s stocking when the dog is out of the room, so that she won’t know what’s in there. Because she drools a little less when chowing down on her pig ear* if she knows beforehand that it’s coming.
I love being woken up on Christmas morning by both my parents dancing outside my room. “Aren’t you awake yet? It’s SIX A.M. It’s CHRISTMAS MORNING. We’ve been up for hours! Let’s get the lead out!” For the record, they’ve been waking me up on Christmas morning since I was eight. Because while it is exciting to get out and open that new Lord of the Rings DVD, it’s more exciting not to fall asleep with my face in my breakfast an hour later.
I love the new annual tradition since we got Molly the dog, of Molly stealing one Christmas treat from under our very noses. One year it was a breakfast pastry, this year twenty of the thirty Christmas cookies my dad and I spent four hours making and decorating. It’s always exciting to see what she’ll steal next, and whether it will contain enough chocolate to kill her.***
Most of all I love spending three or four days at the parental estate, where laundry is free, floors are sparkling, food is cooked by someone else, and the plates are cleaned by a magical robot called a “dishwasher.”
I hope you, too, my readers, have a holiday filled with cleanliness and stupid pet tricks and the disembodied head of Harry Potter. Merry Christmas!
*Those who do not have dogs will be interested to know that yes, it really is the ear from a pig, now dried. Sometimes it comes with the little bristles still attached to parts.**
***I love Molly and do not want her dead. But those cookies did take a hell of a long time to make.