Well folks, the countdown to Christmas is on and I have to say my Christmas spirit has been looking a little less like Santas and snowflakes and snowmen and a little more like procrastination.
I have approximately ten days before Chris Kringle comes down my fake chimney and I haven’t so much as hung a stocking.
I had the best of intentions last weekend. I swept up the floor, moved the remnants of the tiling project out of the way, cleared the table of the leftover Thanksgiving decorative gourds and had a long talk with my wild cat about leaving the Christmas tree alone or else.
I even had the husband bring in the three boxes of Tupperware totes filled with all of my holiday cheer.
I was ready for a tree. I was ready for the lights. I was ready for Christmas to throw up all over this house.
I was ready to put the pug in the Santa Suit.
I even unwrapped a decorative dish.
And then I got distracted by a holiday prank that has been years in the making. And I’m telling you that it may go down as the only way to properly celebrate the holiday.
I’m not sure my mother would agree.
Ok, so here’s the deal. My mother is the Christmas queen. We’ve talked about this before. She decks the halls with boughs of holly, beautiful wreathes, hand-made wooden cowboy Santas,twinkling white lights, matching Christmas bulbs, beaded garland and a tree that stands upright, symmetrical and perfect in the corner of a family room glowing in the light of the subtle cinnamon candles flickering and highlighting the decor neatly placed on every surface.
My mother loves Christmas indeed. But it’s her own kind of Christmas. It’s a Christmas that blends in nicely with the season surrounding her outside. It’s kind of like how she only takes one bite of a fun-sized Snickers bar and wraps the other half back up and puts it in the fridge for later.
The woman has the self-control necessary to understand when enough is just perfect enough. She’s classy and soft and graceful and delicate and beautiful and she likes her Christmases that way.
Visit her house on the holidays and you will find fudge cut in perfectly bite sized squares on a simple red platter.
You will see white lights wrapped neatly along the cedar rail fence outside.
You will see mini pine trees lining her walkway and a wreathe on the door. You will hear Mannheim Steamroller music coming from within.
You will see and smell and taste all of these things and it will feel like Christmas. My mother’s Christmas.
And there won’t be an inflatable Santa in sight.
Because for as much love as my mother has for her holiday, she has an equal amount of passionate hate for Christmas decorations with faces that blow up and glow and wave and eclipse the perfectly lit and perfectly beautiful house behind them.
I mean, the woman can’t drive by an adorable puffy, air-filled Frosty without the uncontrollable urge to smack the thing across the face.
Or pop it with her keys.
Or shoot it with her nonexistent B.B. Gun.
Seriously. Once we were strolling along a street in a quaint and peaceful small town, admiring the lights and feeling warm and fuzzy about the season and we came across a giant snow globe blowing air and styrofoam over an inflatable baby Jesus sleeping peacefully inside and I had to hold the woman back.
Her hatred is palpable and hilarious and a constant topic of holiday dinnertime discussion.
So as her loving family who have endured years of helping our dear mother trim the immaculate tree of her dreams while being denied tinsel, colored lights, battery operated ornaments and the Chipmunks Christmas album, we decided it was time to rebel.
But don’t blame me. No, don’t you dare. I’ve had the idea, but never the guts to put in place. Blame my Little Big Sister and her prankster husband. Blame their trip to the big town and the adorable, inflatable and giant cow wearing a Santa hat sitting next to the adorable, inflatable and giant pig wearing a Santa hat they found in one of those big box stores.
It had to be done.
And so it was. On December, 8 2012 the four of us put a plan into place that would finally give the inflatables a chance and leave my mother helpless to stop it.
Step 1: Get mom out of the house. Tell her you’re making chicken noodle soup. Tell her Big Little Sister, her husband and Little Man will be there. Tell her it will be fun.
Step 2: Distract the woman with wine and cheese and food and the grandkid.
Step 3: Make up a story about how the guys have to go out to the quonset to get the rest of your Big Little Sister’s Christmas decorations, a task that anyone who has ever seen the quonset knows could take up to one to thirty-seven hours, depending on the location of the desired item in the towering pile of junk that’s accumulated in there over the years.
Step 4: Try to keep a straight face as the boys put on their winter gear and head to your mother’s house to place that inflatable, adorable and giant cow wearing a Santa hat next to the adorable, inflatable and giant pig wearing a Santa hat on the roof of your mother’s house.
Step 5: Try to keep a straight face as the boys return, say it’s time to go and your Big Little Sister makes up an excuse to stop over at her mother’s house on the way out so that she might catch a glimpse of her reaction to this prank.
Step 6: Wait until she leaves the driveway to follow them out so that you might catch it too.
Step 7: Laugh your ass off as you witness your Christmas Queen mother get out of the pickup, put her fists in the air and yell to the heaven’s “Whhyyy?! Whyyyyy?! Wwwhhhyyyyyy!?” before she turns toward your husband and brother-in-law and runs after them with those fists.
Step 8: Bwwwaahahahahahaha!
Step 9: Make no offer to remove them (and hide all the guns).
Hmm. Perhaps I have a little holiday spirit in me this year after all, but I guess that will happen when you witness a Christmas miracle.
Happy holidays. I hope your Christmas is shaping up to be exactly how you like, inflatable or no-inflatables.
But I hope there’s inflatables.
And a pug in a Santa suit.