The world divides evenly into people who go nuts at Christmas and those who don’t.
You can guess which one I am.
I’m one of those who don’t, but only because I’m so lazy.
I admire those who do. And one day I will become one of them, I feel sure.
But just not yet.
Let me explain.
I’m constantly amazed by several friends of mine who are Christmas maniacs.
They have ordered Christmas cards way in advance, and the cards are already filled out, handwritten to the max, and in the mail by Dec. 1.
As of this writing, on Dec. 17, I don’t have a card in the mail.
They’re being printed as we speak, and as soon as I can get to it, I’ll slap a computer-printed label on them and put them in the mail so they arrive just in time for Jan. 17.
But the differences don’t end there.
My Christmas-crazy friends often include with their cards a thoughtful, informative, and well-written newsletter about all of the things they have done that year as a family, including births, deaths, trips to Spain, SAT scores, and gallbladder operations.
Me, I got none of that.
My gallbladder is fine.
Actually, I have gas, but we’ll keep that between us.
I send out a newsletter for my business, which I write.
If you like my books, please sign up for it. The price is right — it’s free.
But I don’t want to do one for Christmas because it turns the holidays into homework.
Of course, my Christmas-crazy friends have already decorated their houses. They fill their homes with real wooden nutcrackers; garlands festoon their mantles and stairwells; and they have special pillows that are red and green, with funny Christmas sayings like, Oh Deer Christmas Is Here, Merry Christmas You Filthy Animals, and, my personal favorite, Merry Christmas You Big Ho Ho Ho.
I ordered that pillow.
But I don’t know who to give it to.
All my friends are middle-aged women.
Our Ho Ho Ho days are Ho Ho Hover.
Meanwhile, I don’t have any decorations in my house yet.
And by yet, I mean ever.
I stopped hanging stockings above the fireplace because I kept forgetting to buy stocking-stuffers.
The only thing stuffing my stockings is lint.
I don't even have a tree yet.
I always get one at the last minute, which is the only way to guarantee that you pay the most money possible for the ugliest possible tree.
Otherwise you can't be sure.
It isn’t Christmas until you've paid fifty bucks for a branch.
But look on the bright side, you don’t pay extra for the Styrofoam cup of warm chocolatey water.
When Francesca was little, we used to go to a tree farm, pick out a tree, and cut it down with a hacksaw.
Those days are Ho Ho Hover, too.
Then I used to get a living tree that came in a big pot, with the idea being that I would plant it later.
But I could barely carry it out of the house, much less dig a hole, and when I did, the tree died anyway.
So now I buy trees that somebody else killed, and since only the ugliest and most expensive are left, I regard it as a rescue tree.
I know, what a humanitarian.
And then there's Christmas lights.
I used to string colored lights on the tree in the front yard, which looked pretty but necessitated my going into the entrance hall at night and plugging them in, and unplugging them before bedtime.
What an effort!
It was exhausting. All that plugging and unplugging, plus you get that little spark each time. It scares me.
Also did I mention I'm lazy?
So no more lights.
And another thing I’ve noticed is that my Christmas-crazy friends are always giving one another ornaments.
And then they started giving me ornaments.
Which was great, because I started using the ornaments, hanging them on the tree and thinking of my friends, and all of a sudden, I realized that those ornaments had more meaning than the ornaments I had earlier.
So then guess what happened.
I started buying ornaments and giving them to my Christmas-crazy friends.
So you know where this is going.
One of these days, I'm going Christmas-crazy.
I just know it's going to happen.
It’s so like me.
Over-the-top is my middle name.
And I like colorful things.
And Christmas is about happiness and joy, and there's nothing wrong with excessive happiness, nor is there such a thing as too much joy.
I can almost smell the change in me.
It smells vaguely piney.
Ho Ho Ho!