This Christmas was so loud and eventful I wanted to share a few of the most ridiculous highlights. They are not inspiring or very “moving” but I like thinking about them just the same.
First great thing of the season. My husband Alex who is a chef had Christmas eve and Christmas day off! That hasn’t happened in fifteen years. Chefs always have to work on holidays. Remember that before you sign up for culinary school.
Christmas day, just before our open house I decided we needed new toilet seats. I didn’t have time to buy them so for some inexplicable reason I decided to paint the toilet seats. I found my bucket of white paint, a brush and it was done. I promptly became distracted by something sparkly or fixing dinner and I forgot to tell anyone in the house I painted the toilet seat. The moment Mary and I heard the loud bang of a toilet seat falling I knew what happened.
Lexie started yelling from the bathroom. “Who painted the toilet seat? Why did somebody paint the freaking toilet seat?” She was loud. “Mom I’ve got a white ring of paint on my butt! What’s wrong with you people?” Mary and I were laughing too hard in the kitchen to answer.
On Christmas eve the entire family always goes to the historic Arlington Hotel to make fun of the gingerbread house ( we all talk about how much better it was when Alex was sous chef at the Arlington and in charge.) We all had Irish coffee and took lots of silly pictures with the gingerbread man. Jack started poking Mary and we got great pictures of her falling down.
Than Alex switched to Scotch and we went out to take more pictures with the giant light up Gingerbread men in the park. After a few minutes the extremely reserved and level headed Alex started doing some kind of silly ass dance with the gingerbread men. It was so out of character it made the night.
Christmas day my crazy Cousin Liz and cousin Bubba came to visit. Half my family is made up of educated and elegant folks, the other side is all outlaw- red neck- pirate. The educated elegant side is all dead but the loud happy crazy folks showed up and it was awesome. They even brought a cooler full of Old Milwaukee’s Best. There was lots of hugging and “I love you man” and group picture. It got really really loud so alex had to go outside. But we showed Liz how to make a duck face and Liz wanted to wear Lexes’ giant gold medal from the European Taekwondo Championships.
But the best part of Christmas was watching Mary and Lex and Sandor snuggle all over each other on the couch like puppies in pajamas. That went on for two days. They curled up giggling and cooing and laughing, they laid down on top of each other, wrestled for blankets and the clicker and loved being together.
This year wasn’t about the gifts, it never is. It was about the moments.
For almost twenty years I have given my husband, Alex grief about the way he decorated for Christmas. Some of my classic lines included, “You put the lights on the tree so tight, it looks like you are taking it hostage,” and “there are so many blinking lights on that tree I’m going to have a seizure.” I was brutal but I thought I was pretty funny.
But it was Alex’s outdoor decorating that really lit me up. First, he would blanket our house with every strand of lights he could find in the dollar store, nothing matched they just had to be bright. Every thing was sagging and swooping, hanging and dangling. There were clumps and dark bald spots. It looked as though a giant Elf threw up Christmas lights on our house. One year he inadvertently created a swath of lights that looked like the gay pride flag. the kids thought that was pretty funny and then there was the year he hung what looked to be the Jamaican flag…home of all great stoners.
We all teased Alex constantly about his light hanging skills. But I was the guilty bully who lead the charge. The kids only joined in because I started the teasing.
Well, this year Alex has just been too tired or too busy to hang lights. Or maybe he’s just tired of us making fun of his efforts.
I waited for a week but it became obvious Alex wasn’t going to hang any lights outside, so I picked up the staple gun and found a ladder. On a cold Sunday afternoon I hung our Christmas light. Everything looks lovely, the corners are square, the lines are taunt and even. I did a good job.
But it’s just not the same, I miss our garish brilliant Ludacris Christmas mess. It was Hampoland.
I regret my smart mouth every time I turn up our driveway. I’m sorry Alex. The only highlight, I left three Halloween ghost hanging on the deck. It’s my literary salute…get it? They are the the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future from the Christmas Carole.
And remember, be careful what you ask for…sometimes you get it.
The tree is up and looks lovely. Yesterday we started hauling Christmas tubs out of the shed and I realized there are several signs of Christmas in Hampoland.
Some of them happen year after year others just started this year.
1. Before the first light is plugged in Alex and I start bartering and haggling. Is it a tinsel year? Is it a flashing light year? I hate both and he wants to make our tree flash like a landing strip. If Alex were allowed to decorate on his own, I promise you, our living room would look like an Elf threw up after eating Skittles.
2. We all look at Theo, our great big (120 pounds) old dog, and think about putting a Santa hat on him. He’d look so funny and cute with a Santa hat. But he give us “that look” and we know he will eat our arm and be embarrassed.
3. Lex will find our “Striper Angel”. She used to look elegant now she’s just tawdry and she has somehow outgrown her angel gown. Lex spins her around, “see, her butt hangs out of her dress”. How did she gain wait in the Christmas box?
4. At some point Sandor, who is now ten, will put on a Santa hat and do the moonwalk in his underwear.
5. Alex and I will argue about lights on the outside of the house. I like nice straight lines and he just flings a bunch of stuff up. It looks like a sixties LSD flash back.
5.This year I bought a new lighted ornament. It’s a four foot lighted lizard, holding a Christmas package. But he keeps falling over, then his head pops off so the new member of our Christmas family is a headless Gecko. I still like him.
These are just a few of the signs of Christmas in Hampoland. I promise you, there will be more.
*What happens at your place. Peace and joy…yeah, right.