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Emily Morrison Emily Morrison
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Kamikaze Christmas

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Kamikaze Christmas Kamikaze Christmas

Why is it that before the drumstick hits the table, the tinsel is on the tree? The yams don't even have time to linger in the fridge before Black Friday shoppers slug it out in the aisles. Don't get me wrong. I love the eggnog, the house lights, the Christmas specials on TV, the food, the fanfare, but I just can't get into the Christmas spirit yet.

Here's why. My mother-in-law has cornered the Christmas market. This woman decorates the doorknobs of her home. I'm not kidding. She has so many decorations that I suspect if Charmin came out with reindeer-themed toilet paper, she'd wipe her hiney with Rudolph's red nose. How can I top that? 

I can't.

Winter Wonderland my house is not. I can Scotch tape some cards to the mantle (lame), beg my husband to staple the Christmas lights to the length of our house (less lame) and buy my kids those cheap chocolate Advent calendars (OK, those aren't lame), but that's all I got. I can't deck halls with holly. I wouldn't know what to do with a sprig of holly if it came with double-sided tape and a manual. Plus, we only have one hall. Singular. Uno. One strand of garland ought to cover it.   

Then there's the nonstop Christmas music on the radio. I want to have myself a merry little Christmas. I'm willing to jingle all the way in a two horse open sleigh that's how excited I am. But do I really need to sing 'Fa la la la la' in the car, the grocery store and the bathroom at Walmart? Christmas has turned so commercial. Everywhere I go I hear Uncle Sam luring me in with catchy Christmas carols so I can buy my kid a leap pad and never make eye contact with him again.   

This is my biggest problem with the festivus miracle. Consumerism. If one more person asks me if I've got my Christmas shopping done yet, I'm going break their face with a yule log. No, I don't have my shopping done yet. In fact, I haven't even begun to contemplate my kamikaze trip to K-mart two days before the blessed birth of baby Jesus. I don't have a list, a spreadsheet or even a ghost of Christmas future's idea about what I'm going to get yet. I used to just give pictures of my children, but ever since my husband and I found steady employment, we've been sucked into the same shallow materialism we used to scoff at before we had materials.

Now it's all, 'Do you suppose my dad needs a shovel? Did I get him that last year? Does your mom really need more Christmas ornaments? You know she's chronicled every moment of your life since the sonogram on her tree, right? Do you think your dad wants hair clippers? I think he still has ours. Why does my mother ask for dish towels every year?' Why do we have to buy people stuff to show them we love them? 

There's one person I know that's got his finger on the pulse of this holiday thing. My brother-in-law. This guy listens to Christmas music all year long. He color codes his exterior illuminations: white lights on the shrubs out front, colored lights for the side yard. He bakes. He shops online to avoid the lines, and every year he says to me, 'Remember, you don't buy anything for me, and I don't buy anything for you, capiche?' Do I feel less close because we don't swap beer cozies under the tree? Not a bit. In fact, I feel like my brother from another mother has only made me like him more.

Why? Because he has no expectations. (Frankly, no one in our families do). All they want for Christmas is us, sharing the same space, marveling at the same children, laughing at the same corny Chinese Auction gifts, together. 

What do you know? Maybe I am in the Christmas spirit. 

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