Like a tumbleweed I'm blown back and forth from one side of Santa's wintry highway full of merrymaking and carol-singing in front of brightly festooned, enormous pine trees whose trunks are surrounded by shiny packages and the other side on which all the disillusioned elves hang out and drink their peppermint schnapps around a landfill of broken ornaments, tangled non-LED lights and noisy, worn out toys.
Makes you want to come to my house for Christmas, doesn't it?
But I would warn you off that inclination. Though my tree is up, it only has a few scattered ornaments on it that the kids have brought home just this past week. A lonely picture of Santa climbing a chimney does grace the wall in the living room, but not one of my collection of nutcrackers or snowmen has yet been paroled from storage.
And I've eaten pretty much every batch of Christmas cookies I've made thus far by myself; I need the fuel to keep going through all the mood confusion.
Plus I'm afraid I couldn't entertain you with my usual flair. I was unable to practice carols on my guitar for more than a week because I cut my middle finger on a wicked serrated knife my parents-in-law gave us in a set last year at Christmas. They said that sharp knives do less damage because you don't have to work at chopping stuff. It's only about the hundredth time that knife has quite easily sliced my appendage. I think I'll regift it.
Still....despite my decorating laziness, my scarred middle finger and my recurring desire to meet my husband under the mistletoe, not for a kiss but a boxing match, I've had some truly bright moments this Advent.
Just yesterday I was full of spirit...Christmas spirit! I listened to a beautiful recording of my friend Camille singing in a wintertime concert. My son's teacher gave me a delicious bag of chocolates. A bell ringer for the Salvation Army entertained shoppers with his rambunctious rendition of "The Twelve Days of Christmas". And I spent the whole wonderful day with my husband being scouts for Santa, flying across town from Walmart to Walmart, and every Walmart we entered was filled with helpful elves - all with gray hair and a great attitude despite their long, busy shifts accommodating anxious parents.
We also had a delectable lunch in a festive Mexican restaurant, new to us both, where we enjoyed, not schnapps, but margaritas.
Gosh, just remembering it all makes me feel like dragging some boxes out of storage, picking my guitar, and hanging up some mistletoe in order to smooch my man when he comes home.
Though the Grinch could sneak up and ransack my cheerful, hopeful mood at any moment, the energy, joy, excitement and love that I felt yesterday is what the Christmas spirit is about, my friends.
I'm grateful that, for now, this tumbleweed is sticking on the festive side of the road.