After typing the section below, I see that we’re a bunch of “ironic” people.

We went to Hobby Slobby last night and, man, were there a lot of shoppers in a bad mood. I felt bad for them – why in gosh’s name do people do things that make them unhappy for Christmas?

We went to get packing for the baked goods we will make in our Seasonal Elf Bakery Sweatshop. My kids wanted to look at ornaments. They pretended they wanted to h8 on them (“Black ornaments? What’s this for, an emo tree?”) but then I realized that they secretly wanted a Christmas tree. (“Mom, if we don’t get this for our tree, then I’m gonna buy it and put it on the end of a stick and use it for a weapon.”)

We have a yearly tradition at my house. Everyone says they don’t want/need a tree. Then, I have a burst of nostalgia and/or plant fetish, and I buy a tree, anyway. Then, I force everyone to get off the video games and help decorate the tree. Then, I totally OCD out and yell at everyone for decorating it wrong. Then, I end up decorating it, myself, while everyone else watches TV. Then, I turn on the tree lights and demand that everyone bow down and pay homage to the pagan shrine I have erected. Then, the kids go back to their video games.

So, see me sniping, three paragraphs up, about people doing stuff that makes them miserable?

Every year, I force myself to admit that I’m not a very pleasant tree-decorating-mate, and I tell everyone it’s okay if we don’t get a tree.

But, every year, the kids subtly hint that they want or expect a tree.

I can only conclude that they like having me yell at them, and like watching me get all perfectionist/insane, and like seeing the lights and the eventual presents.

My boyfriend is the one who doesn’t want a tree this year. But we’re overriding his vote. He just doesn’t understand the mysteries of our rituals. Neither do we, apparently. But it’s okay.

Don’t laugh at my weakness, Cold Hardy Types.

It got cold for a couple of days and everyone who grew up in Houston was sad, and everyone who grew up elsewhere rolled their eyes at us. But it’s okay. I found a new way to mini-bond with strangers – just walk up to sad, shivering people and say, “You were born here, weren’t you?” And they were, and so was I. And we’re all cold and sad together, and we can take comfort in the weather-related misery that loves company. And we can draw a line in the sand – not a Mason-Dixon line, not a Tree Line, but a Parka Line. Sand Truck Line. Snow Tire Line. I’m on the side of the line where we don’t like to have that stuff. We like it warm.

Two days later, it’s warm again. Of course. Our gods only give us as much burden as we can carry, right? The return of the warmth feels, to me, like the first hour your nose is unstuffed after weeks of sinus issues. You know that feeling? The extreme relief, accompanied by promises that you’ll never again take the default state for granted? And you’re just talking out your butt, because you’ll go right back to taking it for granted within a day? Yes.

I don’t have anything not-cloying to say.

I’m all like “Yay, I love the birds! Ooh, it’s warm! Yay, a restaurant! Ooh, the parts of Christmas that I don’t dislike!” Sorry. I’ll go back to complaining and ranting soon.

I have to censor myself very firmly right now, because I’m really bad at keeping secrets, okay? You know how, when you have vertigo, you avoid standing on a cliff’s edge because you’re scared you’ll be unable to keep from accidentally jumping off, despite your self-preserving instincts? That’s me right now, with the secrets. I’m like “Oh man, I better not type anything, because I might type what I got everybody for Christmas and then put it into my blog editor and hit Publish and then hit Yes, I’m Sure I Want to Publish and then I won’t delete it, and then everyone will know and the surprise will be ruined! Yikes!”

I’ve already almost-ruined it two or three times, now. In fact, I’m pretty sure everyone knows what I’m getting them and is just pretending not to, to be nice. *Le sigh.*

Let me go ahead and hang up with y’all, then. Let me go ahead and talk at y’all later. Happy December 25 if I don’t talk to you before then. Happy other days that you consider special.

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Posted in Christmas, domestic, Houston on 12/18/2008 12:12 pm

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