Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas means...

The packed train ride there, lugging fifty pounds of books to distribute, falling asleep and waking up in a semi-panic that I’ve missed my stop.

Cocktail hour starting at four PM.

Tripping over the cat—who refuses to move from in front of the tree all day, but has no qualms about stepping on my face to traverse across the bed at night.

Sitting in the backseat of the car again.

Hours spent in the warmest room of the house and never letting the fire die.

My annual tour of duty as the official wrapper of all gifts (which I have since embraced, even wrapping gifts to me or gifts that I accidentally bought for me while shopping for other people—like Amy Hempel’s collected works).

Motown Christmas tunes.

Sidestepping the obstacle course that is the attic to procure said wrapping paper in the first place. And finding wrapped presents up there with no dates and three layers of dust, which I momentarily consider just putting under the tree and then handing to my parents.

Cranberry walnut pie for breakfast.

Scaring the bejesus out of the dog by shouting his name through the empty wrapping paper roll right in his ear.

The streets paved with lines of glowing luminaria,

The un-seen mantle covered with shots of us on Santa’s lap each year, from me at four, grimacing in a short-sleeved purple dress in Miami to the regrettable B.U.M. equipment T-shirt and holiday troll earrings of 1990 (did I mention I was also wearing a jingle bell necklace?).

My dad with a video camera which must have been the newest model in 1989.

The ornaments that hold the most special of places in our hearts: the bright green pickles (how we have two of these is beyond me), my first stocking now yellowed and strung with a hook, my brother’s dilapidated pinecone monstrosity from kindergarten, my first-grade ceramic self-portrait (depicting what only can be described as that disease from the movie Mask—you know, the one with Cher), the clay boot from Texas.

Ten phonecalls before noon.

Loudly cursing out my brother’s computer for balking in the middle of the thirtieth NPR All Songs Considered podcast I’ve downloaded.

The Godfather trilogy.

Having our true holiday meal the day before—having no turkey but plenty of shrimp kabobs, friends and wine—and then spending Christmas Eve in our favorite Indian restaurant trying to out-best each other with preposterous dream vacation fantasies (Helsinki vs. Lake Como).

Trying to fit a Santa hat on the dog.

Me, wearing a dress and someone’s big blue pullover fleece, bare legs and my mother’s socks all day long while I switch from the Yule Log channel to Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

As many blankets as I can carry, spread out in every direction.

Alternating between a historical history of the spice trade and an old issue of Vanity Fair.

Nearly breaking the washing machine by overturning a gallon of detergent into a load.

Coming back to the city, wishing I could have taken the entire week off instead of just a day, handing in the story research and daydreaming about next week, next year, and everything else unrelated to right now.

Being very, very grateful.

Hope you’ve had/are having a wonderful holiday…


4 comments:

Passionista said...

Sounds like a fun and busy holiday! I can relate to at least half of your list, glad that's over :)

Ha Ha Sound said...

Cranberry walnut pie sounds good. I'd like to try that sometime.

Merry, merry!!

Anonymous said...

pretty. i like it.

just me said...

whenever I try to put antlers on my parents' dog, he gets fucking PISSED.

but that doesn't stop me from doing it every year.