JINGLE BELLS

This holiday season is going to be a lot easier. We are going out of the country with our children and their spouses. Hallelujah! No shopping for me! And the extent of my holiday decorations will be a wreath on the front door and that little tree that lights up and fits in the broom closet in the off season. No treks to the attic.

I know. I sound like one of those grouchy old women. But let’s face facts: holidays are women killers. Who puts up the tree? OK. Men. But after that?

There are 700,000 ornaments in my attic. Each and every one of them means something to one of my daughters. And they have eagle eyes. If I leave just one of them off the tree, there will be howls of protest. And as I struggle to jam them all on it? My husband reads the paper.

The “shelter” magazines (who named them that?) are also women killers. Because they show lovely homes (staged by professionals) that have something festive in every last room. Pine scented candles and berries in the powder room. Adorable miniature trees, complete with fairy lights, in each bedroom. A towering 15 footer in the family room. The dining room? Festooned with garlands around the doorframes. In the living room, another tree, this one with color-coordinated ornaments, bows, and all the gifts wrapped in matching gilt paper with silk bows. These mags set the precedent! I get a migraine just leafing through the pages.

This isn’t enough. The holiday pundits also advocate that you get those plug-in air things to scent your home with your choice of pine, cinnamon, vanilla, eggnog (ugh), or better yet, a combination! Their R & D laboratories have invented plug-ins that shoot out multiple scents at timed intervals, so that your nose NEVER forgets what it is smelling.

And it just isn’t Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate, without at least: one holiday throw on each sofa; a holiday doormat under every entry; some sort of bell arrangement to jingle when a door opens; greenery wrapped around every available newel post or column, holiday teabags for those cozy times by the fire, oh—and monogrammed stockings for every Tom, Dick, and Fido; candles blazing everywhere (which the woman has to light and blow out every evening); and ten different kinds of cookies.

The woman is responsible for all of this. Ok. The man hangs those icicle lights on the garage and installs the inflatable snow globe. But the day my husband says, “You know, I was reading Bon Appetit this morning, and I think I am going to stuff a duck,” I will fall on my knees in a state of shock.

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