Ah, it’s over. My favorite time of the year: Christmas. I believe that I can say, finally, I am maxed out on the festivities. Oh, I don’t mean that I am tired of the actual reason that we celebrate Christmas; that is a year-long, life-long celebration. Rather, I am maxed out on the trappings of the season.
I am tired of smelling chocolate. Is that possible? My drapes smell like chocolate. My carpet smells like dogs, and chocolate. The smell of peppermint still hangs in the air throughout my house, much like the smell of burned food hangs around for a day or two. My vacuum cleaner smells like a Frasier Fir. The two jugs of eggnog in our spare refrigerator loom larger and larger every time I open the door. I should probably just go ahead and throw them away, as I know for a fact that no one will open them, much less drink them.
Our kitchen cabinets are still heavily laden with plastic- and tin foil-covered trays of homemade confections from friends and neighbors. Four flavors of fudge – totaling about six lbs. in weight - are beginning to harden and crumble. Breads are drying out. And still, the smells of all these treats hang like a sweet sugar plume over a deserted granite-and-stainless steel Chernobyl. I have cooked two actual meals since the end of November: one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas. The rest of the foods eaten in our home have been hors d’oeuvres and anything that can be paired with fudge and peppermint. And wine.
I have overdosed on entertaining guests, as well. I love our family and friends, but I have discovered a couple of things about our home this holiday season, things I hadn’t noticed before. First, a pack of four dogs is as easily excitable and as easily overwhelmed as is a preschool class of two-year-olds, and it’s just as hard to get them quiet once they get wound up. The sound of a doorbell drives our dogs absolutely insane, and our doorbell has rung approximately five hundred times since Christmas Eve. Of course, this is the first Christmas ever that we have had four dogs (the ringleader a Chihuahua). They outnumber the human occupants of our home, which is becoming a problem.
Second, our house is not baby proof. This is the first year that we’ve had a grandchild, and as a result, I feel as though our entire home is a veritable death trap when she’s here. I worry myself silly that she’ll bump her head, ingest something pointy or toxic, or stick her little fingers into a wall socket. Of course, these worries are unfounded, as she has only just begun to sit up by herself; she’s not mobile. Still, I can’t help worrying.
I sound like a grouch, I know, and that is certainly not my intent. The last quarter of every year is my absolute favorite time on the entire calendar. I over-do, and I always have. And every year the Big Day passes, and I am left exhausted, vowing not to over-do again next year. We shall see.
I am happy to say that our New Year’s Eve plans include just my husband and me, sitting quietly at home, enjoying a fire and some simple fare.
Unless the doorbell rings.
Happy New Year to you and our families, and here’s to a relaxed and peaceful one!
Carole Townsend is a Gwinnett author and freelance writer. She writes about family, from both a humorous and poignant perspective. Her newest book, MAGNOLIAS, SWEET TEA AND EXHAUST (July 2014, Skyhorse Publishing) takes a look at NASCAR from a Southern suburban mom’s perspective. She is currently writing her fourth book. Carole has appeared on local and national news and talk shows, including CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates. When not writing, she travels throughout the region, speaking to various civic and literary groups, and advocating for the health and well-being of the family, particularly women and children. For more information, visit www.caroletownsend.com.