I wanted to share a picture of my living room with everyone reading my blog this year. Our ten-foot evergreen tree is brightly lit and hand-blown glass ornaments are glistening in reflected light as our ambient fireplace glows warm and inviting.
Intermittent groups of Christmas Carolers carry frankincense and murr to our blessed home, wishing us peace as we cheerily serve steaming mugs of hot chocolate and donuts covered in little sprinkly things. All our pretty gifts are tied with delicate bows, graciously tumbling in generous heaps of demonstrative charity and good will towards all.
If you believe what you see and what I wrote is actually how our living room looks, you should probably read more of my posts. Because: what you see ain't always what you get so you'd best think critically when anyone is painting pretty pictures and making YOU feel like a loser by comparison.
REALITY CHECK: Our fake plastic Christmas tree is crammed in a dusty bag hidden beneath piles of unidentified objects stacked ten boxes deep in a corner of the garage. The only tree signifying the approaching holiday is the one we put up in the kitchen. It’s in place because we can erect that sucker in two hours flat. And it's not covered with Victorian ornaments either. It's decorated with flying pigs and cows and chickens and all sorts of farm animals collected over the years at half-price savings during after-Christmas Sales. Some of the chickens are crippled with arthritis and a few are missing legs, but who's counting? As long as they don’t poop on the floor, it makes no never mind to me.
Yea, I put a hand-crocheted skirt over the cast-iron tree stand but even that was created by slave labor in an overseas country somewhere.
We stuck an extra strand of lights on the tree this year but it doesn't quite match the old lights so we squint our eyes to avoid seeing the contrast.
If we don't admit noticing the mismatch, it's not REAL, right?
To top it all off, I stuck an old raffia angel on the top of the tree. If one of those antique light strands shorts out, she could go up in flames and burn the house down. That might make Christmas a little more exciting than it has been so far, but lordhavemercy, I hope I’m not in the kitchen when she blows. My frilly lace apron is not fire retardant.
This is not the best holiday season we've ever lived through; but the good news is: it's not the worst either. At least we're still together-----even if one of us is fresh from juvenile detention and you can rest assured it wasn't me.
If you've wondered where I've been the past several weeks, just let me say I've been doing what I'm fairly expert at doing: handling crises and shining up my Mean Stick for kids who think they're not obliged to follow the same rules the rest of us do. Call me Scrooge or call me the Anti-Santa, but my nephew is not gonna turn out like his father if I have anything to say or DO about it.
Wait'll he sees what's in HIS Christmas package this year.
He's getting a crummily glazed soup bowl straight from China’s second-best rejects. I spotted the bowl in-between appointments with probation officers, psychotherapists and trips to the drugstore for Rolaids. I hope that kid appreciates having his own dishware after working 80 hours in a soup kitchen to pay back society for his recent brush with the law. He can dig into his Top Ramen Chicken Flavored soup while the rest of us civilized folks fill our bowls with Christmas pudding swimming in rum sauce topped with maraschino cherries. Hold the salt, please.
A budding narcissist might be able to hoodwink his old Auntie now and then but he doesn't stand a chance with men wearing badges and sporting handcuffs. Thank god for the police, for the juvenile justice system, for all our involved citizens who give kids a second chance by refusing to let them off the hook.
They do the crime, they do the time.