the week that was 6

This week all roads continued to lead to Christmas. The closer we get to the arrival of Sinterklaas the more I eat sugar cookies and binge-watch holiday movies.  My ass is getting bigger by the minute.

Last night while working my way up a size in jeans, I indulged in my annual viewing of Scrooged. My favorite of all the Christmas Carol variations, everything about this movie is perfection: from Bill Murray’s cynical modern-day Scrooge to Carol Kane’s abusive Ghost of Christmas Present  to Alfre Woodard’s wig as a post-racial latter-day feminist Bob Cratchit.  It even has the Solid Gold Dancers as the Solid Gold Dancers and a gym-tastic Mary Lou Retton as Tiny Tim.

The Dickensian tale is moved from 19th century London and dropped into 20th century New York City with Murray playing the heartless president of a TV network.  He scares a mute child, threatens to staple reindeer antlers to a helpless mouse, and delights in the death of an old woman.  Of course by the movie’s end he sees the error of his ways and reunites with his true love, the delightful where-is-she-now Karen Allen.  When the cast gathers during the end credits to sing Put a Little Love in Your Heart, my heart grows three sizes.

Earlier in the week I scarfed down an appetizer of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  Is there anything better than the timeless chemistry of Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo?  Yes, a young Juliette Lewis, in arguably her best performance, as surly teen Audrey Griswold, and an even younger Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, in what is undoubtedly her best performance, as yuppie scum Margo. If Scrooged touches my heart, Christmas Vacation tickles my funny bone.  I used to watch it for Doris Robert’s wig, but over the years it has really grown on me.  And now, it just aint Christmas without the Griswolds.

Santa paid an early visit to Defoe Street when Chris received his yearly video message from my less-portly doppelganger (seriously, I need to lay off the cookies).  You can view the heartwarming video here (just ignore the disturbing baby-like elves who grunt and coo approval at their dark overlord Santa):

Between these videos and that damn Elf on the Shelf I am tapped out creatively.  That elf has done it all — he ziplined into town shortly after Thanksgiving, was held hostage in a stand-off with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles late last week, and just this morning I found him under the mistletoe in a three-way with Ken and Barbie.  I should have such adventures.

Todd and I have been mostly child-free this week.  Chris is involved in no less than 847 activities: piano lessons, yoga, cooking class, choir, re-interpretive existential post-modern Afro-Hungarian line-dancing, macaroni macrame.  He’s very busy.

Parents who complain about how exhausting it is to drive their kid from activity to activity are liars.  Exhausting is having your kid at home every night and then being forced into the role of Julie the Cruise Director.  I don’t care how much an activity costs — it is worth every penny if it means I get to be visibly drunk.*

Tonight Chris is attending a Christmas party so Todd is taking me out on a date.  Of course I had to tell him that he was taking me out on a date, but still, if he’s willing to pretend that I actually listen when he talks, then I can pretend this date was his idea.

*I’m never visibly drunk.

how to survive the holidays

For many Americans, myself included, the last two months of the year are a happy time of reckless drinking and excessive binge-eating.  It all begins like clockwork at approximately exactly 9:37 p.m. on October 31st when, shortly after putting your kid to bed, you begin to steal his Halloween candy.  At first you show admirable restraint taking only the loose Tootsie Rolls at the bottom of the pail, but by the end of the first week you’ve moved on to a breakfast of snack-sized Kit Kats and mini-Twizzlers. A midnight raid early in week two takes out the last of the king-sized Milky Way bars and you know you’ve hit rock bottom when your son asks what happened to the jumbo Reese’s Cups and you suggest the dog ate them.

No sooner are you beginning to show signs of early onset diabetes when you abandon the candy and move on to a gluttonous carb-filled Thanksgiving feast where you consume enough food to feed all the starving children in China dating back to the 1950’s when parents still said things like, “You eat that meatloaf.  There are starving children in China.”  Your reward for all your hard-eating is a 72-hour turkey coma…followed by four weeks of Christmas cookies for dinner.  Your shame spiral then comes full circle when, moments after receiving your yearly visit from the ghost of Dick Clark, you wake up hugging the toilet, your face plastered with bits of pork gravy and sick.

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.  So complain all you want about holiday store displays in October and Christmas music in November.  Not me.  Those eight weeks are magical.  Give me Perry Como and The Carpenters.  Give me Bill Murray in Scrooged and the whole of Britain in Love Actually.  Give me all the Christmas crap the Hallmark Channel can make.   Kit Kats, Reese’s Cups, Todd’s carrot souffle, row after row of brightly decorated Christmas cookies — I surrender.  I’ll buy new pants.  I’ll run tomorrow.  I’ll join a gym in January.

But for now I’m going to be a kid.  I’m going to remember when the day after Halloween meant Christmas; when Santa Claus seemed possible.  I’m going to take my kid to the Christmas tree farm, cut down the biggest tree we can find and then make Todd drag it back to the car.

How to survive the holidays?  Give in.