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Front Page » December 17, 2002 » Opinion » "Real life" twelve days of Christmas
Published 4,359 days ago

"Real life" twelve days of Christmas


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By KAREN BASSO
Staff reporter

As Christmas approaches, I become more anxious to get the headache of the seasons over with. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, but by the time that the holidays dwindle down to an end, I become more frustrated by the minute. Therefore, I have comprised my list of the 12 days of Christmas that effects us all.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, I realize just how much I am sick and tired of holiday commercials. Every commercial that comes on is set to the theme of the holidays. This is a good advertising scheme for the millions of companies that partake in this campaign, however, it is very tiresome by the twelfth day to hear of the savings you'll find at various stores.

On the eleventh day, I decide to quit being such a scrooge and set up my tree. Thank goodness that it is artificial because I'm the kind of person that would take two or three hours to select the perfect "real" tree. A tree in a box is the perfect tree to me these days. It is easy and you know that all your ornaments from the previous year will all fit, because they did last year. So not only do I have to have the perfect looking tree, I also have to have all the ornaments that adorn it in the proper place. I will spend hours rearranging ornaments to make the tree look "even." However, my three year old likes to hang ornaments all at one side at the bottom of the tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas, I decide that the tree looks kind of funny sitting in the front room with no decorations surrounding it. Therefore, I decorate the house. Decorations are fun to look at, but a pain to set up. Between rearranging the decorations on the tree on a regular basis, and setting up the holiday decorations, I am fed up with the seasonal items that are cluttering the house by the time I'm done decorating. Call me a grump, but my idea of fun is not sticking dozens of window clings to my windows, just to peel them off in a few weeks time. I'm also not a big fan of picking up table decorations that are tipped over by the cat time after time.

On the ninth day of Christmas, I decide to take some time away from the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas, so I sit down to watch television. The second I turn the TV. on, I find a Christmas program. This reminds me of the long list of things I still need to accomplish to prepare for the big day, but despite that I am determined to watch a little TV anyway. So I start to thumb through the programming only to find that 90 percent of the shows are set to a holiday theme. The other 10 percent are programs that are in the lower channels on the satellite and are all in a foreign language. I'm sure that if I could understand what is being said, it is probably about the holiday season too.

I turn the TV off and continue to work on my Christmas projects.

The eighth day finds me stringing lights around the outside of the house. I know, I waited too long and the weather is at the peak of its bitter bite, but for the past two months, I've waited for my husband to help out with this project. I decide to do the light stringing myself just to prove that I can do it on my own. After all, if I come down with pneumonia, my husband will have to take on the responsibility of taking care of his poor sick wife who froze hanging "his" lights. Well it's worth a shot anyway.

Now that the lights are sparkling brightly outside, I enter the seventh day. Today, I decide to finally fill out holiday cards. I have been pondering the thought of doing this for months, but, being who I am, I have to make things complicated by hand stamping and crafting each card. Two hours later all I have completed is four lousy cards. This was the deciding factor in running down to the store and buying a cheap box of holiday greetings. I usually make the easiest things complicated, such as writing cute little sayings inside the card underneath the original phrase, but not this year. Sorry to everyone who receives a card from my family; the thought and sincerity was there, just not the above and beyond projects you usually receive.

After I have filled out all my cards, on the sixth day, I head for the post office to mail them off, and then to the stores for some last minute shopping. Every year I vow that I will start my shopping in the spring like my grandma use to do, but I'm lucky if I make it by Dec. 25. So, by shopping on the sixth day, I'm actually ahead of schedule.

As soon as I enter the store, my mouth drops. There are shoppers as far as the eye can see, and these people are those who are waiting in the checkout line. I mosey through the store with a blank and overwhelmed look on my face, gathering gifts as I go. By the time that I decide I am through with my shopping, I enter the most dreaded part of the shopping trip, the checkout.

As I stand there, quickly becoming inpatient, I notice that I am surrounded by fellow shoppers. I'm not in this "sea of shoppers" because the store is extra busy, but because there are only two check out lines open in the entire store. No wonder this massive amount of humanity is located in one central location.

Now, I'm no genius, but I know that these stores hire extra help during the holidays. So where is this help? It sure is not located at the checkout stands. I find it is often located at the store eatery where the hard workers are sitting around drinking coffee and laughing at the frustrated shoppers. It's enough to drive one to shopping cart rage.

By the fifth day, I decide to finish my shopping, and venture on to the stores one last time. (This trip is to usually pick up what I forgot the day before.) On this day, I realize just how rude people really are. Maybe it is the tension of the season, but I cannot make it through the store without somebody running into me with their cart. I am a person that was raised to be polite at all times, and I try to pass these manners along to my daughter, but at the store amongst these rude and unfriendly shoppers, my daughter learns her fair share of colorful phrases and words.

By the fourth, I'm just happy to be alive after strolling through the cluttered stores. On this day however, I have reached the point of absolute irritation. That's why when I turn on the radio and all I hear is Christmas songs, I scream. I'm sure that I have been hearing these songs for the past month, but up to this point, I have successfully drowned out the melodies.

Three more days left, and I decide that I will bake holiday goodies. Sure I waited quite awhile, but at least my baking will be fresh for Christmas day. Each year, my mom and I bake homemade cookies, but after getting married and moving out, I decide to start my own baking traditions. I'm not ashamed to say it; my mom's cooking is sure a lot better than mine; and certainly easier. This year I've decided to just sample mom's baking and maybe cook some ready made cookie dough.

With only two days left until the day we've all been waiting for, I decide that it might be appropriate to wrap the gifts I slaved so hard to buy. I unload the artillery out of the closet and lock myself in my bedroom to wrap gifts. The only problem with this is that I locked the cat in with me. As I look around the room at the mountains of gifts, I take a deep breath and begin the job at hand. I start cutting the paper and zip down the roll, when my cat puts his nose under my scissors. Luckily I didn't cut his nose, but I did trim his chin hairs a bit.

After spending several hours wrapping gifts, I am finally done. The cat was a big help, but his chin and tail are not as full and fluffy as when we started.

One day left, I reach my ultimate stress level. I am now faced with the task of finishing my homemade project that I have started for everyone in our family. Although my project changes each year, I never seem to be ahead. I am the type of person that feels that handmade gifts make the best presents of all. By this point, Christmas Eve however, I begin to wonder.

Finally, the day has come. It is Christmas day and I get to relax and celebrate.

It is a fulfilling feeling to watch all those whom I made gifts for open the "big gift" from my family. It is also a joy to watch my daughter's eyes light up when she opens each gift of hers under the tree. It is even more fun to watch her ignore her toys and play in the boxes.

Although I'm sure that I will be an absolute grump during the entire 12 days, I am thankful for what I have been blessed with. I also take the time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and celebrate the birth of Christ.

I'm sure that each of you could relate to at least one of my 12 days of Christmas a lot better than the original version of the song. (Who really knows what all that stuff is anyway). I do ask however, that you take the time to relax and enjoy your holiday season, even if it is only on Christmas day.

Merry Christmas!


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December 17, 2002
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