Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Scribbles and Scrambles - Christmas Dreadlines

Sugar plums and roasting chestnuts are the things that are supposed to come to mind when the Christmas season is upon us.

I wouldn’t know a roasted chestnut from a plum pudding.
And sugar plums -- are they anything like sugar beets or a sugar high?

Instead, foremost in my mind intermingling with the Christmas fa-la-la-la-la tunes, come the ghosts of this year past.

First -- the mother ghost -- what I coulda, woulda, shoulda but dinna --haunts me. After she sufficiently whips me about the head and shoulders, enter Mr. Debt to rear his hoary head. He manages to transcend time and become the ghostest with the mostest -- present, past and future rolled into one big headache. The writing wraith beckons, sure, but is easily ignored.

The absolute worst of all is the ghost of Christmas Ritual.

I’ll explain. I have Christmas Eve festivities at my home. In a moment of weakness, years ago, I agreed to my mother’s suggestion to host the family dinner. The tradition has not left me, nigh these two decades. The easiest year, was the one I spent in the emergency room with my eight-year-old. His injury wasn't hideous and when we returned the house was clean and food bubbled in the oven, thanks to my husband and my mom. But for months afterward I found things in odd places.

This experience may have intensified the ritual for me.

I have Martha Stewart dreams but live a Phyllis Diller life. In other words, I want candlight to glint and delicious smells to waft, and these do not occur naturally. Martha’s grand ideas must be kept waiting until I give in to the “company’s coming ritual”.

Defined, the ritual is the compulsion to clean the cupboards and closets so the clutter of my life has a proper home. Therefore, my December 24th gala often becomes a crushing Christmas dreadline.

This year I think I may buy lots of candles for my Christmas Eve celebration. And if my guests cooperate and promise to squint even the dusty things will glint. If the candles are scented I believe I could pull off the fine art of entertaining under pressure. Worse case scenario, a thousand open flames may take care of the clutter once and for all.

Wishing you organized closets and cupboards for 2007.