You go ahead and post all those crazily photo-shopped pictures. Tell us what your ornery elf on the shelf got up to last night, show us your gorgeous Christmas carol-themed chalkboard art, and don't forget the close-up of your seasonal designer coffee drink. People like me eat that crap up. I love it all. The only thing missing, for me, is the complete picture. From now on, my humble request is that you show all the pretty little parts of your holiday season, but then go ahead and tell me the cost. What's the trade-off? When you spent three hours weaving that burlap and pine needle swag, what did you give up?
For instance: All this charming Christmas book tree cost me is three baths. Sorry, children, I know it's bath night, but I was too busy stacking books juuust so and trying to get these danged lights to do as they're told. Sometimes the price you pay for Mommy having perfect Christmas decorations is a reputation for being the smelly kid at school. You understand.
How about this tin pail of pine boughs and sparkly berries?
It's just lovely, makes me happy every time I see this simple little display in our downstairs bathroom. Any time our boys go into that same bathroom, however, I find myself straining my ears, listening for the sounds of liquid hitting metal, as this is a bucket in a bathroom with plants in it and our boys are like boys everywhere in that a strange, almost magnetic force seems to exist between their crotches and things ripe for peeing on. Right after I got all the branches and berries arranged with perfect greenery-to-berry ratio I had to take each boy, one at a time, make them face my newest Christmas pretty, and sternly say, "DON'T PEE ON THIS," which made me scrub my hands up and down my face and ask What is my life?
How about this beautiful Hallmark moment?
For as long as I can remember, my mom bought my sisters and I each a Hallmark ornament at Christmas time. Now that we all have children of our own, she buys each grandchild an ornament, which means our children all have sweet, growing collections courtesy of their generous grandma.
The ornaments arrived in the mail yesterday. After finishing their chores, they were allowed to open and hang their newest Christmas decorations.
Of course I would love it if the moment ended here, with each child enjoying their gifts, perhaps hanging them all on the tree in perfect sibling harmony. That didn't happen, of course, because children ruin everything. Maybe not everything, but certainly Hallmark moments.
"I want this branch!" "I put mine on that branch first!" "I said I was using that branch!" IF ONLY THERE WERE MORE THAN ONE BRANCH ON WHICH TO HANG THEIR NEW ORNAMENTS. "But this is the best branch!" "Mine's already on there, you pick another branch!" "Why should I have to pick another branch, I told you this one's mine!" IF ONLY THIS WERE A MASS-PRODUCED FAKE TREE WITH ROW UPON ROW OF IDENTICAL BRANCHES OH WAIT IT IS.
Salt dough ornaments for their teachers:
Not pictured: The one with a bite taken out of it. Caedmon walked right past the container bursting with actual cookies, favoring the hard, dried disk of salt, flour, and water, with some ink for added flavor. Also not pictured: The bite of ornament our son spit out on the laundry room floor, three feet from the trash can.
It really is the most wonderful time of the year, isn't it?