by Jeannie Davis
AH, THE CHRISTMAS SEASON! Everything is a little bit shinier, more sparkly. The entire world is viewed through a gauzy lens, softening our perception of images of perfect families gathered with love to celebrate the season. Lights twinkle on the tree, all within the house is in order, and the dining room table is a feast for the eyes. Holiday turkey and all the trimmings are laid out with the best china, with a precision that would make a marine sergeant proud.
Family members gaze upon each other with love, and a spirit of giving is overwhelming. Well-behaved, well-groomed children open gifts of toys and pajama, and their little faces light up. Neighbors exchange cookies, and well wishes. Adults who haven’t seen each other since last year (unless somebody has died) hug and sit with cocktails to catch up. Grandpa is given the best chair, and pampered. Uncle Harry is the bartender, topping off everybody’s drinks. Aunts Muriel and Hortense sit quietly and share pictures of grandchildren. Mom’s face, shiny with perspiration, bustles about the kitchen puttering with the finishing touches. Christmas carols chime out from the radio.
Ah yes, a perfect holiday!
Seriously? Really? Please don’t tell me you think this is reality. Here is what really happens:
The house is in total chaos. The tree is leaning dangerously, the floor is strewn with wrappers and toys that the little urchins are already bored with. The lights are about to short out and set fire to the curtains. And….. the table…… Well, the china is made by Dixie, the gravy boat has spilled unto the plastic tablecloth, and Mom’s stuffing is from a package. The gravy is from a jar (Dan Martin says this is fine), the turkey is either underdone, or burnt.
Grandpa? He is given the best chair because that is the one with the plastic cover, and we all know why. Aunts Muriel and Hortense resume their running battle. Nobody can remember what their fight is about, but, hopefully it doesn’t get physical this year. Uncle Harry is the bartender for a reason. It keeps him close to the booze. Unfortunately, he gets very combative when he is in his cups. The entire family holds their breath, hoping the police aren’t involved this year. Hard rock blares from a teen’s player.
And Mom? Well, Mom is in the kitchen quietly crying and wondering why somebody else can’t host this darn free-for-all. The neighbors, contributing to the scene, have just directed their snow blower at the front steps, creating a four-foot tower of snow.
I will close on the happy scene before Muriel tells Hortense to shove Rudolph up her nose, and Grandpa swats the hell out of one of the urchins.
This was just a nudge not to take the holidays too seriously. Personally, I think Norman Rockwell was just a little too sweet, and I would never have trusted him around my kids.
What will be picture-perfect this year is the Historic Holiday Home Tour, put on by the Historic Commission. We have some great homes this year, including Keith Weber’s house, and the stone house, as well as some other beauties. The event starts at the Historic Museum on Livernois, and ends at Blumz, with a special surprise there, on Saturday, De- cember 13, from 3:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. Tickets are $15, and all proceeds go to support the Historic museum. You can enjoy the downtown ice festival, and follow it up with this event. Tickets are available either from me, or Garry Taylor at the museum.
Now, go enjoy a realistic holiday.
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