There was a time when a blissfully unfettered bachelor would head home on Christmas Eve, drive to the mall to buy all of his presents, sit down with the family to a pot of cheese fondue (the traditional Night Before meal), sing “Silent Night” in a candlelit church, take the long way home past all the notoriously tasteless holiday decorations, and crash out in his boyhood bedroom. He slept like a log and ate like a pig, and his only concern was whether he could lug all his booty back to the city in one trip.
And now, his old bedroom is Granddad’s study. The fondue pot is a rusted hulk somewhere in the basement. The gaudy decorators have moved. (Or, more likely, died.) And saving everything until the last minute is positively laughable. (Did I say laughable? I meant LAUGHABLE.)
I always sort of knew that, once I became a parent, Christmas was bound to turn from a 36-hour dine-and-dash into a months-long odyssey of planning and girded loins, to be endured with clenched teeth, as one might a colonoscopy or a tax audit.
But now I get it. I have seen the light. I now have a first-person sense of how the year’s end becomes a frenetic endurance test, and how important it is to bask in the joy of the quiet moments, between swats from the Giant Yuletide Spanking Machine.
More later. Right now, I have too much new crap to assimilate.