Christmas Panic and Live Nativity "Scenes"

I was talking to a friend of mine today, a fellow mom, who's feeling just a bit frantic and frazzled by this entire holiday season. "Your expectations are just so high," she says. I nod sympathetically. "And it can never be as good as you think it ought to be. I'm trying to work and shop and still have time to make happy holiday memories and all I want to do is run away!"

Oh, I am so on board this particular train!

She keeps on, talking about how her childhood Christmases weren't wonderful and she wants them to be that way for her kids.

I'm still nodding, but now I'm thinking of the Unnamed Ones and what complete and total little shits they've been lately, as if they've forgotten that Santa doesn't just pop down the chimney when you act like assholes.

I think a little about what a shit I've been, only I'm flawless, so this doesn't take too long...

This is when I hear my friend say, "And then the kids are out for winter break after next Wednesday and Christmas Eve is Sunday and we have to..."

Well, I stop listening after she says the kids get out of school next Wednesday afternoon.

How has this happened? Why didn't I get the memo?! You mean to tell me I only have like 10 days til Christmas?

This cannot be true! I haven't done half the baking, let alone shopping, wrapping and mailing!

But I am a friend to the end.

"You know those organized women who shop the sales in January and are finished with their Christmas buying by February?" I say. My friend nods. "Well I feel sorry for them," I say. "They're missing out on all the fun! What is Christmas without a last minute rush? How do you enjoy it if you've bought all your presents almost a year in advance? That's not buying something personal with a great deal of thought and effort put into it! That's just saying, hey crockpots were on sale so here you go!"

My friend nods. "I never thought about it like that!"

She feels much better while I, on the other hand, am now completely panicked.

Later in the day I run into another friend who reads me her laundry list of To Dos Before Christmas.

"If I could just get the dog pee out of the carpets before Christmas Eve, I'd be ready to party!"she says. "Is that too much to ask? I mean, all right, so I was out of town for a few days and the bunnies and cats were kind of on their own, but is it too much to think Happy Steamer can do 5 rooms and a hallway for $99 and get cat, dog and bunny pee out?" She shakes her head. "I never open those Value Saver envelopes that come in the mail but I just might this week. There's always a Happy Steamer coupon in there. People say they just say it's $99 so they can get in the door, but as long as I at least have a starting point, I can bargain from there, can't I?"

What can I say? I tell her yes, this is exactly what she should do and of course Happy Steamer can get lizard, cat, dog and bunny pee out of a housefull of carpet AND move all the furniture and it won't cost very much at all and it is perfectly reasonable to expect this from a carpet cleaner.

The woman needs some hope to hang onto until Santa arrives with the Dog, Cat, Bunny and Lizard Catcher on Christmas morning.

In the process of telling me how overcommitted she's been, she starts to tell me about running the live nativity scene at church last week.

The little kids from her Sunday school class wanted to participate, she was short on adult volunteers, so she thought, why not?

Little Elbert gets tapped to be a shepherd, which is not at all what he wanted. He wanted to be one of the Wise Men and to make matters worse, the Billy goats couldn't make it for the show so Elbert has no flock to keep watch over because someone made the goats' owner an offer he couldn't refuse, and at the last minute he sold them. So, Elbert's bored and looking for anything to occupy his interests when he overhears Rebecca, one of the Wise "Men" muttering to her friend, "20 more minutes of this torture and we're out of here!"

Elbert appoints himself town crier and bellows, "Twenty more minutes of torture," to the crowd of reverent onlookers gathered around the nativity...He then proceeds to do a countdown every few minutes of how many more seconds they must endure of "Torture!" before his shift is over.

The next day two 9 year olds are the Wise Guys. It's a slow period on Saturday afternoon, with most of the spectators prefering the evening hours for the candlelight viewing. My friend is short a Joseph, so she's playing the role when one of the Wise Men walks over to the manger, picks up the baby Jesus doll and says, "You know, just cause she got pregnant it doesn't mean the guy's got to marry her. I mean, how does he even know who the father really is?"

My friend, "Joseph" is trying not to wet her pants laughing as they continue on with their speculations about Jesus's lineage when "Tortured" Rebecca, this time playing Mary, decides enough is enough. She snatches the baby Jesus back from the Wise Guy and scowls at the other participants. "You know," she tells them, "this is my baby doll so I can take the baby Jesus and go home any time I want to!"

"Those are the kind of Christmas memories I like to look back on," my friend says.

The holidays snap back into focus again as I'm thinking, "Yeah, me too!"

So let the chocolate chips fall where they may. Let the cats pee, the shoppers fight, the house stay dirty and the relatives continue to feel better about themselves by picking out all your flaws and inadequacies...remember- It's our baby Jesus and we can go home any time we want to!

No comments: