And if the 12 drummers show up…

by Jennifer on December 16, 2008

…send them back out for brandy and eggnog.

I used to like Christmas more.

There were years, even, when I made intricate, beribboned Christmas ornaments, and there was a year, maybe two, when I sent out handmade Christmas cards. Made by me.

Those were what we like to call the good years.

So if you’ve known me for, say, not that long, I know you just tilted your head to one side and looked at me funny since that’s not your experience of things here at Casa de H.

I get it.

Somewhere, some year, I decided I had no patience for high maintenance people or holidays. Yes, Christmas, I’m looking at you. I mean, I still decorate the tree eventually, put a wreath on the front door, and make a damn fine Christmas dinner. The stockings are hung on the buffet-since-we-don’t-have-a-mantle with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas really doesn’t give a damn.

And I will say this. The wrapping on the presents hasn’t suffered one bit. Wrapping the presents is the extravaganza part of the holiday. I spend more on wired ribbon for the bows than I do on presents. Seriously. Okay, that’s a lie, but people tell me they save the bows I make, which is exactly the response I go for.

But the rest of the falalalala? Is more like a FAIL-lalalala.

It’s hit or miss for outside lights, or for swags of greenery on tabletops inside. The Nutcracker won’t even come out of his box some years (let’s not talk about 2006), and I’m pretty sure he threw packing peanuts at me this year. Crazy bastard.

Who knows, maybe we’re doing it right. Or right for us.

I like to think my kids don’t really notice that we don’t go all out every year now that I jump in front of the TV when Hallmark commercials comes on so they don’t see the all that twinkly garland and the giant trees. But I might be kidding myself about that since last week they both asked me, with wide expectant eyes, long eyelashes and breath holding, “Are we going to put up the big tree this year*? Are we?”**

Blink blink.

So I wanna know, who coached them? ‘Fess up, I’m coming after you.

*In my defense, we didn’t think we were going to be home on Christmas last year, so the little tabletop tree was pinch-hitting. And it was pretty. Tiny and pretty.

**And just so you’ll stop judging me…

Evidence that we put up the big tree this year:

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Louise December 16, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Christmas is what YOU make it; it doesn’t have to be the same for everyone. God forbid if it were!

Your BIG tree is fabulous. I love the ornaments, and they’re mostly well-placed (except I saw a little section, somewhat hidden, that was Chicklet’s doings), and the packages? One wrapping paper? It’s perfect. It’s elegant. It’s wonderful.

As for me, I like most of it. But I’m kind of sick of all the goodies that wind up at my house. No one but me eats them. I’m already sugar overloaded. I need to go find something salty!

Louises last blog post..Snowy Volcanoes–My World


Louise December 16, 2008 at 1:45 pm

And I forgot to say that your pictures are wonderful, too. Every bit as good (or better) than mine!

Louises last blog post..Snowy Volcanoes–My World


Mrs. Chili December 16, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Puh-LEEZE! You ain’t see a “big” tree until you’ve been to Chez Chili during Christmastime. Seriously – we cut down frickin sequoias – last year’s tree was something like 14 feet tall.

Mr. Chili hates stringing lights so much, though, that I might just convince him to buy one of those pre-lit thingies – if we can get one that’s big enough…

Mrs. Chilis last blog post..QuickPress?


Jennifer Harvey December 16, 2008 at 1:58 pm

Oh, I have “big” well in perspective. But as long as it’s taller than my kids, I’m counting it as big. 😉


Reluctantfarmchik December 16, 2008 at 2:09 pm

Guess what? This year is the 2nd time in 6 years that we’ve put up ANY Christmas tree. (And we’ve been home for Christmas) And for the past two years I haven’t sent Christmas cards. When I DO send cards, they ARE hand made. By me. I’m almost done with the cards this year. Just two more steps. I’m sick of them. I HAVE to get them out after all the steps I’ve already done. I need to learn NOT to put the year on them, then people won’t know when they were made. So you’re not alone. Except for the wrapping. Dont’ W*lMart bags count as gift wrap? Then mine are all wrapped the same too. You ought to send me an address, then I could send you one too. Don’t stress. Your kids will grow up with their own sense of Christmas – and make it what they need it to be. Chance are, they’ll go all out for a couple of years, and then settle exactly into your routine. Just the way it should be, right!?

Reluctantfarmchiks last blog post..iPhone Flood – Skywatch


Manic Mommy December 16, 2008 at 2:57 pm

We’re home for Christmas but not actually hosting Christmas with either family – and it’s seriously affected my decorating.

I have never-ever hand made Christmas cards (unless you count one year before children when I sent out pictures of the cat and dog fighting and wrote “Peace on Earth”).

I do wrap – very well – but yet I haven’t started yet. Maybe that’s a plan for this evening.

Manic Mommys last blog post..Do’s and Don’t’s When Attempting to Adhere To a Strict Diet


Csquaredplus3 December 16, 2008 at 4:30 pm

I am so with you this year. I don’t know what it is, but I’m having a difficult time smiling through all of the woman/slave holiday work. While the drummers are getting your brandy and eggnog, have them pick up some more wine and cheese for me… Jeesh.

Csquaredplus3s last blog post..The Competitive Couple


Lisa@verybusymomwith4 December 16, 2008 at 5:23 pm

Why is such a joyous amazing holiday like Christmas such a stressful pain in the butt?!
I am tired too, sick of it and I am a person who loves Christmas.

Lisa@verybusymomwith4s last blog post..Our Christmas Tradition


Mrs. G. December 16, 2008 at 5:32 pm

Pretty tree! Don’t cave to the pressure.

Mrs. G.s last blog post..The One That Got Away


Heather December 16, 2008 at 8:02 pm

I need a tutorial on making bows.

And, you MADE those ornaments? Wow.

Heathers last blog post..Reason #428 I’m Lucky My Husband Loves Me (The ending)


Jennifer Harvey December 16, 2008 at 8:33 pm

I didn’t make those ornaments. If I had, they would look like some kind of science project. 🙂


Kimberly December 16, 2008 at 9:02 pm

I’ve had a really hard time getting into it this year, which is odd for me, but my kids are so young, I have to do it for them. Down the road? We’ll see.

Kimberlys last blog post..Crime scene: Do not cross


Ree December 16, 2008 at 9:20 pm

12 drummers worth of eggnog and brandy? I’m there.

I’m all “meh” about it too right now. But it’s a selfish kind of “meh”. No one (NO ONE!) has asked me what I want. And the thing of it is…I shouldn’t have to tell them.

But good for you – for putting up the big tree.

Rees last blog post..Blogging About Blogging


Ducky December 16, 2008 at 9:22 pm

I scoff at the idea that any Christmas ornament you made would look like a science project.


Jennifer Harvey December 16, 2008 at 9:29 pm

Ducky, remind me to get you something nice for Christmas. 🙂


JCK December 16, 2008 at 11:17 pm

Lovely tree, Jennifer. Every Christmas is different. And what makes it amazing is the wonder and excitement the kids have over the simplest things…

JCKs last blog post..I said a silent prayer of gratitude


Jenn @ Juggling Life December 16, 2008 at 11:55 pm

Its beyooutiful. Seriously. I skimp on the wrapping, but I bake like mad so it all works out.

Jenn @ Juggling Lifes last blog post..Sequence!


Ed Browning December 17, 2008 at 12:20 am

Hmm. Yours seems a very nice tree indeed. Let me describe the tree we put up, briefly: plastic, 2-feet tall, with 10 tiny ornaments hanging from it, + one smallish star atop. No glitter, no lights. Last year we tossed out the 5 or 6 strings of lights we had because they blinked (they were not the blinking kind of lights) and when one of the little lights went out, all the lights went out, making it virtually impossible to identify the rogue bulb. Whose dim-witted design idea was that, anyway?!
Our excuse, of course, is that we are not actually hosting Christmas at our house. Out of the 5 Christmases my wife and I have shared together, we have not spent any of them at our own house – we always go somewhere else. This probably explains why Santa has never been able to find us, and why we have to buy and wrap all of little Malcolm’s gifts ourselves…
But I digress – your tree is brilliant – no need to downplay it. I have it on good authority – from women who know – that women who make all their own tree ornaments, create their own 3-D Christmas cards, and/or otherwise qualify as potential expert contributors to Good Housekeeping magazine are universally despised, hated, and of course envied by all other women.
One other observation (brought to mind by your comment on ribbon-tying): My wife and her brother have a contest every year to produce the tackiest gift wrap. It’s truly awe-inspiring to see the lengths they will go to to win this contest. And for crying out loud, there’s not even a prize…
But this is your blog, not mine, so…
A Merry Christmas to you and yours!


flutter December 17, 2008 at 12:51 am

your tree is FAB, girl!

flutters last blog post..They say grief moves in stages


Sturdy Girl December 17, 2008 at 6:56 am

I think you can learn alot about yourself (and others) by observing their current holiday habits. When I was miserable I just wanted the whole season to go away fast so I basically ignored it until it did. But when I was manic about the holidays, making sure absolutely everything looked “christmasy” in some way I was also completely miserable and needed a great deal of distration. This year I am happy and I’ve enjoyed decorating and all the signs of the season without without worrying about the world ending if I don’t make the homemade eggnog. The tree is a big thing for the kids – I tried the smaller versions too and it did not get high points from the girls.

Sturdy Girls last blog post..The Christmas I Didn’t Hate So Much


jenrantsraves December 17, 2008 at 7:46 am

I have a friend who does only ONE thing as far as Christmas decorations. She puts out her 2 foot high already decorated tree and plugs it in. She is so annoyed by decorating, that she just puts it away decorated every year, ready to go. It cracks me up! Oh, and I like this post simply because you used my favorite word in it – extravaganza!


Gwen December 17, 2008 at 8:03 am

Aww, I love Christmas. It just came too soon this year. But you need to celebrate it in a way that is comfortable to you, or what’s the point? (This is why my husband does all the wrapping in our house, btw.)

Gwens last blog post..Decompression Chamber


Ann December 17, 2008 at 9:07 am

Omg, you ARE grinchy like me! I love you even MORE than ever before now.


Coco December 17, 2008 at 10:47 am

I confess. It was I who coached your children to ask for the big tree.

*hangs head, but doesn’t look sorry at all*

I think it’s lovely, and nobody says you have to have swags of greenery everywhere except Martha Stewart, and everyone knows she’s just a crazy person.

Cocos last blog post..The Kiss – A Short Story – Part 2


Eric Daniel Self December 17, 2008 at 10:48 am

Our company bought 450 Christmas trees from Michigan this year. Very fine quality specimens of seven different specie. We sell the trees and use the profit to help kids at Christmas, and other times. This put me more in the spirit than in years past. Emptying yourself through giving is what truly fills our souls more than everything else. Yes, the kids get off on the material possessions and that’s ok. Us adults, though, we have that nagging hole inside us that reminds us that there’s supposed to be more.

So, as I arranged the beautiful Frazier Firs and Scotch Pines on the lot I refueled my soul somewhat this season. As the Concolors and White Pines, still fresh with Michigan snow on them, were unbound and put in their place thing just seemed right. At least for now. Those noble evergreens stood tall and sold fast. Being able to share a smile with a stranger was a great perk. Knowing that I was doing a small part to make Christmas special for others, however, was the ultimate reward.

Our lives are too busy, too planned and organized. We schedule times to have fun instead of making the most of the opportunity right in front of us. We get all dressed up on the outside but inside were void of cheer sometimes. Those full and perfectly formed trees were joyous even though they had not yet been adorned with color glass globes and bright pretty lights.

So, at Christmas especially, and other times too, do me this favor….Pause, reflect, take another deep breath and really feel it in your lungs. You might find that you’re actually ok with being 40 and burdened with woes of the worldly kind. Does it really matter than the gray hairs are coming and the wrinkles are showing? Heck, I’m just glad to have hair. Whomever I am though is what I’m supposed to be.

Have a Merry Christmas, and if that’s not politically correct enough for you then too bad.


Daryl December 17, 2008 at 11:12 am

Bah Humbug … I am totally out of ho ho ho .. and it seems I am not the only grinch in Blogland … maybe if the weather were more seasonal …. FEH

Lovely tree .. I empathize with this post … except for the ribbon, kids and tree parts … ;-0

Daryls last blog post..let it snow


melissa December 17, 2008 at 12:46 pm

I tell ya, I’ve toned things down at our place too and guess what? We’re still happy. If mama ain’t happy…you know…so I tossed in the towel and I’m happier. It trickles down.

melissas last blog post..tickled pink!


Andi December 17, 2008 at 1:12 pm

I recently wrote a post about how my 6-year-old decorated our Christmas Tree by herself, so I’d say you’re doing better than you think, sister!!

Andis last blog post..Another Mission Monday


Bruce December 17, 2008 at 3:26 pm

Our family won’t be in town this Christmas season. We are pulling up roots and heading to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico to get away from the Christmas madness. We put up lights on the house, but no tree. No presents this year either. It is going to be all ‘Feliz Natividad’ for us in Rocky Point.


Franki December 17, 2008 at 4:36 pm

my roommate finally broke down and put up a tree…thank god…cuz i woulda felt bad for my kids…sorta.

Frankis last blog post..Why I Hate Christmas.


texasholly @ June Cleaver Nirvana December 17, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Amen sister!

Please be in charge of the holidays next year. Banish all Martha Stewart, Real Simple, HGTV during the months of November and December, the Hallmark commercials (duh) and the malls from decking their halls in September.

I made myself decorate this year and I only did about 1/3rd of usual…ugh. But I am hosting a party tomorrow so I thought it would look bad if I didn’t have anything Christmas-y out. Yes, I just mentioned what it would look like to the neighbors over what my children think. That is what it has come down to…what I have energy for and what I can get by with.

All that being said, your tree (and mine) are really pretty and I know despite our grumblings we might have a tad bit of sadness taking them down after the holiday that goes beyond the work involved.

texasholly @ June Cleaver Nirvanas last blog post..This was a big week…


Amy Shipp December 18, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Wow! Your tree is really pretty! I understand about not loving Allllll the preparation / decoration that goes into Christmas. Every year I whine about putting up the tree and in the end, I’m glad I did it. But, today I realized I still have my “Fall” wreath on my front door! Oops! Merry Christmas!!!


the mama bird diaries December 18, 2008 at 8:15 pm

handmade christmas cards? wow. I would never even THINK of taking on a task like that.

maybe it’s just about expectations. i put up a tree and send out my photo cards and I feel like I’ve DONE the holiday in full flourish.

You sound like you are creating a wonderful christmas. 🙂

the mama bird diariess last blog post..the rockettes are waiting


V-Grrrl December 18, 2008 at 8:45 pm

Our first Christmas in Crack House. I managed a bit of holiday fun the first weekend in December but couldn’t face the tree…

My husband was out of town, my 13-year-old son wasn’t interested, and I was stressed, so my 11-year-old daughter pulled out, assembled, and put the lights on our big ass Christmas tree ALL BY HERSELF. I killed the Christmas music she had playing and plugged in some Coldplay and then began decorating the tree with her. Her brother was lured in by the Coldplay and promises of Nickelback and decorated too.

My daughter did the outdoor lights all by herself.

My husband has suggested we stay in our pajamas all day on Christmas and have eggs, biscuits, bacon, hashbrowns, sausage and pancakes for DINNER that day.

I’m starting to like Christmas again!

V-Grrrls last blog post..The Ghost of Christmas Past


Red Flashlight December 19, 2008 at 10:40 am

So many people are reclaiming Christmas this year! I think it’s a beautiful upside to the terrible economy. I love reading all these great ideas! Hooray for eggs and bacon Christmas dinner!

I love homemade Christmas cards, by the way. Not that I’ve made any this year. I’m thinking of making my own Christmas tree. Maybe. If I can find some time in my hectic nap schedule in the next few days . . .

Red Flashlights last blog post..Quote For the Day


Suzanne December 19, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Ok, I’ll admit it, I called the kids and told them to tell you to put up the big tree this year….and next, I’m going to call Martha Stewart….just kidding. No one will ever remember what the tree looked like, they will remember the love and fun they had spending it together. How’s that for Hallmark!

Suzannes last blog post..I pray


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