"We" spent the better part of this past Sunday putting up our holiday decorations. "I" oppose this practice for so many reasons that it would be impossible to list them all in the finite space that is the internet. And yet, last year while shopping at Target, Thomas offered such an indefensible argument that I had to cave in: "Daddy, these lights are 70% off!" Me: "You can read? When the fuck did that happen? It's a Christmas miracle!"
So even with 70% off, we spent a few hundred dollars on lights and light-up snowmen and the like, which gives me chest pains when I think about it -- even more so when you consider that we live in the middle of NOWHERE, and that the only people who will ever see our decorations are the 6 neighbors who have to pass our house to get out of our development, their collective 2 visitors per year, the pizza dudes who deliver to them and the lucky folks aboard the space station. But the end result is magnificent if I do say so myself. The lights are even timed to turn on just before we pull up to the house -- a thought that I confess makes my sphincter pucker a bit from excitement.
And if you look really closely you'll see a piece of my burnt flesh among the lights, too. About 4 hours into hanging them (3 hours longer than I imagined the entire decorating process would take) I noticed one section of bulbs wasn't lighting up. Upon inspection I discovered a bulb that must have been smashed during packing last year -- just a few wires poking out from where the glass should have been. Without thinking, I reached to pull the broken bulb out and in one smooth motion sliced a half-inch gash in my finger while simultaneously cauterizing the wound with the voltage that now flowed freely through my skin as it completed the circuit. A smoking, non-bleeding half-inch gash? Another Christmas miracle!
Later that evening, back aching, finger throbbing, head pounding from the kids who were now screaming along with that goddamned musical statue that Aunt Mary gave us last year -- the one with the bell-toting snowman and barking dog that perform the world's worst duet of "Jingle Bells" -- two things hit me: 1) I should drink more and 2) whoever designed the holiday season got it all wrong.
I get that spreading out a few pivotal holidays over the course of a few months is at least a little effective in distracting one from the fact that winter = death, and hopefully lives are spared by such trivialities. But seriously, why not do it right? How about one gigantic holiday that runs from mid-November until mid-March. Let's call it Thanksmasnewentineuary. Or Edsmastime since I thought of it. On the first day of Edsmastime, you give everyone you know a thousand dollars and a card. Because Edsmastime is meant to celebrate all the sentiments of the collective holiday season, it would be reasonable to assume that each card would be about 80 - 100 pages long.* On the second day of Edsmastime, the entire country shuts down until mid-March. Celebrants are free to travel anywhere they choose (If you're looking for me, I'll be here). That's it. That's the sum total of all the rules that govern it. $1,000, a gigantic freakin' card, and a three-month vacation. No shopping, no lines, no freezing my McNuggets off, no pretending to like her family. I really don't see a flaw in it, but that's just me.
Of course, I realize that it's too late to alter our plans this year, so we're just going to have to stick to a more traditional holiday. And to that end, this year we're giving at least one kid a new ear. Hey, "HAPPY NEW EAR!" I wonder whether they make a card for that or if I'll have to try to either erase or cut off the 'y' from a standard card. Either way ...
"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love." -- Hamilton Wright Mabie
*Speaking of cards, please check out this site. These are absolutely the coolest greeting cards I've ever seen and are easily my choice to become the official greeting card of Edsmastime.