Friday, December 4, 2015
10 Things About The Holidays That Make Me Grinchy
I'll admit that menopause has made me more irritable than usual, but there are certain things about this time of year that really bring out my grinchy side:
I feel for my northern friends during the winter months. I have no clue what it's like to shovel my way out of the house each morning just to go to the Starbucks, or to search for a car buried under pounds of the white stuff.
We have a different problem here in south Florida. Our winter lasts five days if we're lucky, and the only changing of the leaves occurs when the occasional palm frond turns brown and drops to the ground. I'd like a little bit of a change in the weather during the holiday season----temperatures in the sixties for a few months would be nice. It's hard to feel Christmasy when it's 80 degrees and I'm sweating through my tank top.
I also envy the people up north who can make snow angels on their front lawns. The closet thing I have to that is thrashing around on the beach to make a sand angel. Even worse----while my northern friends are coating their pale skin with spray-on tans, I'll be coating my ridiculously green Christmas tree with spray-on snow.
I Get Fat
The 12 days of Christmas should be called the 12 days of gorging. Why? Because the eating begins on Thanksgiving and doesn't stop until January 2nd. It's five weeks of no holds barred binging, and everything I eat contains butter. Before the Thanksgiving turkey gets cold, I have to move all my outfits that have zippers or buttons and replace them with clothing made of stretchy fabric or elastic. Whoever said the Pajama Jeans can't be worn to dinner at a nice restaurant was wrong.
First off, let me just say that you will NEVER catch me shopping on Black Friday. I don't want to end up in an internet video with all the other crazies elbowing their way through the electronics department. Long lines, greedy customers and rude sales people have nothing to do with the spirit of Christmas.
I usually wait a week or two until the frenzy dies down before I hit the local mall. But it never fails that the day I decide to shop, I run into everyone from my high school graduation class. And of course this only occurs when I've left the house without a stitch of makeup on and hair that looks like a hiding place for a family of stowaway mice.
The other thing that makes me stabby is the supposed "sale" prices that stores offer. Give me a break, Mrs. Department Store Manager---that memory foam pillow was always $50. You just wrote $100 on the tag, then slashed through it with a marker and called it a bargain at 50% off. No thanks. I'll just grab this $5 canister of tri-colored popcorn from aisle six and call my shopping day a success.
Who the hell came up with the dumb idea of drawing names from a hat to buy cheap gifts for complete strangers at work? Nothing says "I-don't-know-you-and-I-don't-care" more than a plunger made in China from the dollar store. And what happens if you're paired up with the one co-worker you really do despise? Do you give them an enema kit?
When in doubt about what to buy for a total stranger, grab a bar of chocolate, even if it's an off-brand and a bit stale. That's gotta be better than receiving a can of Silly String or a gift certificate to the adult video warehouse from Gerald in Accounting.
I don't mind decorating for Christmas, but my husband hates it. Every December this causes more strain on our marriage than our finances, our children, or the in-laws. It doesn't help that I'm a holiday hoarder, and my husband is easily overwhelmed when he sees twenty-three boxes of decorations that need to be opened. While I do all the indoor decorating, my guy is in charge of the outdoor part. The swearing begins the minute he opens the first box and sees the snarled mess of lights inside that will take at least an hour to de-tangle. This is followed by more boxes of legless deer, flattened sleighs, and a wobbly Santa that looks like he's been nipping at spiked eggnog. Putting together these holiday figurines for our front yard display is worse than trying to piece together furniture from Ikea.
Every year my husband swears that this is the time he's putting up our holiday display and threatens to donate all twenty-three boxes of decorations to the Salvation Army. Little does he know that I plan to hit the after-Christmas sales at the store. I hear they'll be selling their Santa stock for 50% off.
Wrapping The Gifts
I advise people to tackle this holiday nightmare by wrapping just a few packages at a time. Otherwise, you'll be overwhelmed after the first hour and your thumbs will be stuck together from pulling out yards of tape from the dispenser. Believe me, I've done Christmas Eve wrapping marathons before, and by 3:00 a.m., my packages looked like they'd been wrapped by rabid squirrels.
Another thing that sucks about holiday gatherings are pot luck parties. It never fails that the one neighbor down the street who's proud of being crafty with her budget shows up with an odd concoction made from leftover turkey gizzards, green beans and mayonnaise. Hey neighbor, if your dog won't eat it, what makes you think I will? And don't even get me started on fruit cakes. I'm convinced that there's only a handful of these nasty things in existence, and it's the same ones that just keep circling the globe, year after year. I'm pretty sure there are enough preservatives in these cakes to last a millennium.
The other type of party that's known to scar people for life is the annual office holiday party, especially if alcohol is involved. All it takes is for some fool to sneak a little Fireball Whiskey into the punch bowl and pretty soon shit gets real. Sure enough, two hours into this fiasco, the young intern from cubicle B is yaking up cocktail wieners at her desk while the nerdy guy from the fourth floor tries to impress his female co-workers by doing The Worm. Even more nauseating is the company boss disguised as Santa, trying to coax employees to sit on his lap and whisper what they want for Christmas. You know what I want for Christmas, Santa? A fat raise and a Netflix marathon followed by eight uninterrupted hours of sleep.
Out Of Town Guests
I understand the concept of gathering the family together during Christmas to create the perfect Norman Rockwell moment, but if you're the person who has surrendered your home to relatives you haven't seen since you were in diapers, you're just asking for trouble. Within days you'll know every intimate detail about their bathroom habits and just how far they'll go to avoid washing the dishes after dinner. It doesn't matter if you give them a dilapidated sofa bed to sleep on or just a leaky air mattress---once they've settled in your home, they'll be harder to get rid of than a swarm of termites.
Hip Christmas Carols
Call me old fashioned but I love the classics. Give me music from Handel's Messiah sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or even a little Bing Crosby, and I'm happy. But once I hear "Silent Night" transformed into a rap song, I'm ready to stick a fork in my eye. The same goes for department store muzak. How can I pick out the right size jingle bell jock strap for my husband if all I can hear blaring from the sound system is Christmas music sung by the Kardashians?
I feel awful for the poor souls snowed in at airports during the holidays. I can't imagine what that must be like. I don't fly anymore, but I remember the frenzy of racing through the terminals after a delayed flight to make the next connection, losing my luggage, and being sandwiched in-between two men the size of sumo wrestlers on the plane. There is nothing worse than crawling over a complete stranger's lap to get to the bathroom before your bowels burst.
Long road trips aren't much better. Icy roads, traffic jams, impatient drivers and five hour trips that turn into twenty-four hour trips....this is the reason antianxiety pills were invented.
Hopefully my grinchy little heart will grow three sizes larger before Christmas and I'll be humming to the rap version of Silent Night while shopping for gifts. But if someone sends me a fruit cake, all bets are off.
***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? Last week I was featured on Purple Clover with a new version of my couples' colonoscopy story. Check out my story, "Two Royal Pains In The Ass" here: http://www.purpleclover.com/health/5622-two-royal-pains-ass/