I came home one day, a few weeks ago, to Faith Hill belting out ‘Where are you Christmas’. We don’t even own any Faith Hill music, so I was puzzled about the Disney-sappiness of it all. ‘Why do we have this song?’ I asked the keeper of the itunes playlist.
I didn’t receive an explanation, but as I pondered the myriad of (occasionally tacky) songs being played this time of year, I had an idea. Maybe I could put together a playlist of songs I actually like this advent season. Instead of subjecting myself to ‘Where are you Christmas’ and ‘Feliz Navidad’ and ‘Jingle Bell Rock’.
But now it’s December 24th and my grand idea never materialized, another advent to-do left unchecked. [Note to self for next year: include ‘Christmas must be tonight’ by Joan Osborne, ‘Calling it Christmas‘ by Elton John/Joss Stone, ‘Wintersong‘ by Sarah Mclachlan, ‘The Christmas Song‘ by Diana Krall, ‘Winter Wonderland‘ by Ray Charles, ‘God rest ye merry gentlemen‘ by Barenaked Ladies/Sarah Mclachlan, ‘Song for a Winter’s Night’ by Sarah Mclachlan, ‘All I want for Christmas‘ by the one and only Mariah Carey, ‘Silent Night‘ by Chanticleer, and ‘I’ll be home for Christmas‘ by Sarah Mclachlan.]
Upon return from my stint as a semi-singleton where I dabbled in showering every morning, going to bed before 1am (for four consecutive nights), sleeping in a bed void of little people, and going out for an actual meal with my sister, it was time to face reality.
There were two days left on the advent calendar. And much work to be done. We’d done reasonably well at complying with advent-mandated activities: going to see Zoolights on the coldest night of the year? Check! Art night? Check! Making cookies? Several times.
But a few activities had fallen by the wayside. Like going bowling. And making stockings.
Even though it’s our second Christmas with young Percy who, I fear, is the naughtiest of all our elves, I still haven’t made him a stocking. And, if I’m going to make one stocking…..why not make five? It’s a sickness, really. So we (ages three and up) Johnsons hunkered down last night. Each busy with our own little crafts. The Gort was making something with the locksmith-removed-bathroom-doorknobs and string and black duct tape.
[Did I mention the Hen locked himself in the bathroom while I went to the States and the professor had to call a locksmith to get him out?]
The Hen was drawing and generally disrupting my stocking-work. And the professor was busy making a gift for one of the family members on our list. (Holed up in his basement office, but still.) It was exactly the kind of night I’d hoped for when I wrote words like ‘make stockings’ on pieces of cardboard and stuck them inside paper envelopes.
[Did I mention this year’s advent calendar is nearly obliterated?]
‘When I grow up, I want to be…..Santa,’ our ambitious oldest boy-child declared. Curious about his impression of this fictitious character, I had to ask: ‘what does Santa do…[that would make you want to be him]?’
‘He tells the elves how to make toys and bosses them a lot, I think.’
Ah, so you want to be Steve Jobs?
With all the merriment and creativity flowing, I let the boys stay up later than usual. Around 10.30 I heard the bathroom door open. Even though we have a rule in the house about the little people not being allowed to close bathroom doors. (On account of them locking themselves in said bathrooms….)
The Hen bounded downstairs, spouting several of his typical bed-time delaying excuses. ‘I don’t want to sleep,’ ‘I can’t sleep,’ ‘it’s too scary’. Etcetera. He sat on my lap, enveloped in a peculiar-yet-familiar aroma. ‘What do you smell like,’ I asked, suspiciously. Suddenly he was eager to get back to bed.
‘What did you do in the bathroom,’ I repeated as he ran upstairs and away from me. Dreading what lay ahead, I ran upstairs and pushed the bathroom door open.
Our middle elf had been busy. My makeup bag…..on the floor….contents strewn everywhere. The trash can set up as a stool; so as to reach the wall-mounted cabinet. A container of hairspray (ding-ding-ding, that’s the smell!), and foot spray, and deodorant languishing on the edge of the sink. All in various stages of experimental use. Eye makeup remover dumped, inexplicably, on the toilet seat cover. Hair gel and hand lotion spread on the floor and haphazardly ‘wiped’ up with my bath towel. Lipstick marks on the toilet lid.
I was thisclose to canceling Christmas.