She’s a Mean One, Mom the Grinch

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Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot….But the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-ville, Did NOT! –Dr. Seuss

And so it begins:  The annual count down to the holiday of holidays.  The culmination of a year’s worth of dreaming and wishing and wrapping and shopping.  ‘Tis the season; for mulled wine and candlelight, for friends and family gathered around the table, for twinkling lights and wishes for days merry and bright.  Straining stomachs stuffed with goodies, children with velvety, chocolate-sugared lips, rosy cheeks and yuletide and God rest ye merry gentleman.  Fa la la la la.  La la la la.

Unless you are me, in which case the holiday season feels like one, big ball of anxiety tied up in sting and a mess of tangled tree lights.  Packages that need collecting, meals planned, grab bags stuffed, gifts to be wrapped, cards sent, chestnuts roasted and all the rest.  All the while pretending that you enjoy rocking around the Christmas tree and spreading good will for all mankind.

The Grinch hated Christmas!  The whole Christmas season! Now, please don’t ask why.  No one quite knows the reason.

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Every year I promise not to let the whole thing get to me.  Every year I fail.  I am an epic Christmas failure.  There are no cute wreaths made of my children’s discarded art work.  The halls are not decked, the fire is not bright.  The stockings are hung, but that’s about it.  No bowls of Christmas spices scattered around making sure there really is no place like home for the holidays.  I am not scouring Pinterest for cute stocking stuffer ideas and ways to make my home full of good cheer.  And while I am at it, screw you Pinterest for making us feel like we need to craft our way into holiday cheer and feeling inadequate when our handmade ornaments look more like the StayPuft Marshmallow Man than Frosty.  I’m not brewing spiced wine or apple cider or drawing up blueprints for a gingerbread house.  The very idea of an elf on a shelf and having to move it every night fills me with dread.

It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.

Far from the season of holly-jolliness, Christmas fills me with apprehension.  I fret over how much to buy for my children who have more than enough; who need nothing but want for so much.  My anxiety manifests itself in threats of working in soup kitchens and donating all of their Christmas gifts, of coal in stockings and phone calls to the North Pole.  Yet at the same time, I want my children to experience those magical Christmas memories, those mornings of excitement and anticipation, of waking up Christmas morning to rip through a package and find waiting there the thing you longed for most.  I want them to believe for a little while longer in fairy dust and flying reindeer and fat men in red suits who squeeze themselves down the chimney with care.  Of course I also want them to wake up on Christmas morning, eschew all material goods and declare that love and family are all you need, but I am fooling myself.  It’s the Star Wars Lego Republic Gunship they want, not warm socks and a hug from Great Aunt Betty.  They aren’t selfish, greedy kids.  They’re just kids.  I fret nonetheless, trying to find the sweet spot between bringing the magic and paving the way for brat-dom.

But I think that the most likely reason of all may have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

I fret about the effects of over-saturation.  There is a fine line between decorative holiday cheer and it looking as if The Christmas Tree Shop vomited its holiday surplus all over your house.  I worry about starting too soon.  The Danes begin decorating in early November.  By the time Christmas actually rolls around, it feels as if you’re being strangled in fir garlands and drowning in gløgg.  Pine needles are dropping like flies and the kids have already been off for nearly two weeks before the night before Christmas.   Those visions of sugar plums are have longed turned into prunes.

Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, was singing!! Without any presents at all!

235698-bigthumbnailMy husband adores Christmas.  My sister loves Christmas.  My children and their friends all salivate over the very idea of Christmas.  My own friends festoon their homes with sparkling lights and host lovely parties, go into the Danish forest and cut down their own trees, wish on stars for a white Christmas, while I plot like the Grinch to stop it from coming.  It never works.  Those Whos down in Who-ville sing regardless.

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.  Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more.”

Ah, the brilliance of Dr. Seuss.  Even at 43 I appreciate the wisdom in his rhyme, the lessons cloaked in cadence.  For though I won’t wake up on Christmas day and grab the small hand of the Who next to me and start singing, I will watch my children open their gifts with the kind of glee that fades with adolescence.  I know that once the day of days is here and we are all settled down to a feast of Who pudding and some rare roast beast, I will feel the warm, rosy glow for a little while, and not just from the wine.  My children will loll about stuffed with chocolate and cakes.  I hope they are grateful–not only for their gifts, but for their family and their fortune, and most of all for the fact that their mother tears her hair out to perpetuate the magic a little longer.  We will have family and friends and food.  We will light our tacky Christmas lights and listen to O Holy Night, think up silly words to Rudolph, put together puzzles and play new games.  Yes, I will panic that they are being spoiled.  I will fret about the bags and bags of wrapping paper.  I will be exhausted and sport paper cuts on my fingers from last-minute wrap jobs.  But by the time I crawl into bed, I will yet again think that maybe my heart isn’t as small as I think it is every time the season rolls around.

Until next year.

And the minute his heart didn’t feel quite so tight, He whizzed with his load through the bright morning lights And he brought back their toys!  And the food for the feast!  And he…HE HIMSELF….! The Grinch carved the roast beast!

For last year’s thoughts about the holidays, try one of these posts

Good Tidings to You

Bah, and a Little Humbug Too

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9 thoughts on “She’s a Mean One, Mom the Grinch

  1. rlwyattcali December 3, 2013 / 9:49 pm

    Me thinks she needs a little cheer so she doesn’t bleeds. Try these on for your soul to feeds:

    And when things start to happen,
    don’t worry. Don’t stew.
    Just go right along.
    You’ll start happening too.

    OH!
    THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!

    I’m sorry to say so
    but, sadly, it’s true
    and Hang-ups
    can happen to you.

    You can get all hung up
    in a prickle-ly perch.
    And your gang will fly on.
    You’ll be left in a Lurch.

    You’ll come down from the Lurch
    with an unpleasant bump.
    And the chances are, then,
    that you’ll be in a Slump.

    And when you’re in a Slump,
    you’re not in for much fun.
    Un-slumping yourself
    is not easily done.

    The top lines are me, the middle is Seuss, my advice to thee – don’t feel in a noose. 😉

    Like

    • dhonour December 4, 2013 / 11:12 am

      I do love a good rhyme. Thank you for the upbeat words. In the words of Gloria Gaynor, I Will Survive. Just…. 😉

      Like

  2. doublewhirler December 4, 2013 / 10:58 pm

    Your post brings to mind my mother’s love/hate relationship with Xmas, which she duly passed on to me. My take away lessons: if you’re not stressed out enough and running around enough and trying to do at least 10 things at once, it’s just not Christmas. Presents aren’t really presents unless they’re bought in December and being wrapped Xmas morning while the rest of the family’s having breakfast. Christmas dinner isn’t Christmas dinner unless there are tears of exhaustion basting the turkey.

    Of course she also had two December babies: me on the 10th (to add one more party and reduce shopping time) and my brother on the 27th (to add another party and inhibit clean up time). Although she wasn’t Catholic, she loved to tell me the story of how she was wrapping presents when her water broke…

    Like

    • dhonour December 5, 2013 / 8:10 pm

      I’m not sure you noticed by in the list of people I love who love Christmas, my mother is missing. No coincidence. I think the holidays are tough on us moms. I can’t even imagine how tough it would be either pregnant or having a newborn. I respect your mom even more than I already did, knowing that.

      Like

      • doublewhirler December 5, 2013 / 10:23 pm

        Bless moms everywhere, every one!

        Like

  3. bellmk December 5, 2013 / 3:38 am

    I have nothing to say about the post…but I loved the tagline above your comment box 😀 The post itself was also well done 😀

    Like

    • dhonour December 5, 2013 / 8:09 pm

      Thanks. I think? ;-). Glad you enjoyed the post and the tag line. 80s gal?

      Like

  4. Andra Watkins December 7, 2013 / 7:12 am

    I wish I could be there, just to drag you out and drown in a little glog together. I love the stuff. But it’s a novelty for me.

    I remember walking there in early evening, and looking up into a random window, and seeing a white paper star, lit from within. It was so simple, but it made me take a deep breath and appreciate the mist on my face and the candlelight against the dark……..before I tore the city apart for one of those stars for myself.

    Like

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