It's not that Christmas decorating is a ridiculous amount of work.
It's not that Christmas decorating is a ridiculous amount of work that you do over one weekend and then completely un-do three weekends later.
It's that around here Christmas decorating is a ridiculous amount of work which, upon completion, looks like someone opened a craft store on an artillery range.
Welcome to my Tuesday.
I woke up this morning in a full-core anxiety attack, complete with heart palpitations and the absolute conviction that if, at any time over the next four weeks, I found myself trapped in a Chilean mine, the church ladies would show up at my home, take one look at what passes for 'festive,' and spirit my family away to a safe house.
And then just cork up the mine.
The Bins o' Comfort and Joy have been out of the garage since Saturday, and my kids made a stab at setting up and decorating the artificial tree (whose guts I totally hate) and wrapping the lighted artificial pine garland (ditto on the gut-hating) around the banister.
But then Vanessa went back to school, and the two younger ones were left in the diabolical hands of their mother, who possesses all the natural decorating instincts of tar paper.
So the bins just sat there for a couple of days, a Rubbermaid monument to ineptitude and gross failure of imagination, until this morning, when the whole 'Chilean mine' thing came up.
I would like to think that the problem is that I just don't care enough. "I'm creative in other ways," the most delusional of my head voices tells the others. "If I really put my mind to it, I'd have this place a-glow. I simply choose not to."
But these days the other head voices aren't buying it. "Shut up," they suggest to the first head voice. "You know perfectly well that Martha Stewart could pull a giant bus into our front yard, send us on a Disney cruise for a week, and overhaul every wall and horizontal surface in our house. And within twenty-four hours of our return, all the pictures would be hanging by their corners and the fake ficus trees would have Dutch Elm Disease."
My sisters seem to have gotten my portion of decorating DNA. I don't know where I was standing when they were all signing up for that particular talent, but I'm sure it was near the refreshments. Honestly, you could hand Jill three tube socks, a Magic Marker, and half a cup of lima beans, and in ninety minutes her living room would be the centerfold for "Why the Rest of You are Losers Monthly." Kim is every bit as skilled; even her bathrooms are outfitted in holiday-appropriate toilet paper cozies.
(Note: I've never been in Amber's house at Christmas time, as she was nine years old when I got married and something like 13 when I left Utah for parts north, then tropical, then intergalactic. But I have no doubt that she's in league with the other two, once again leaving me out of the "cool sisters" club, a club I confidently started back when there was just one of us.)
At any rate, I've spent much of the day strategically tipping bins, hoping that whatever was in them would land in a Holly-Jolly position or at least upright. In DeNae-land, baby Jesus was visited by Yukon Cornelius and Rudolph; the Abominable Snow Monster of the North sits astride a camel, who is remarkably unfazed given the circumstances. The stockings are clinging to the mantle with not much more than a "good luck" offering to the Gods of Vertical Suspension, and that hateful white quilt batting that in other homes says 'snow' but in mine suggests 'rabies' is fused to anything that couldn't outrun it.
All told, I'm pretty pleased.
Frankly, I've concluded that since I admitted defeat in the decorating smackdown, and broke up with Christmas music a couple of years ago, and am such a notoriously bad shopper I once left an IOU in my son's stocking, all I'm really here for any more is the food.
Now, if I could only remember which bin I stored the fudge in...