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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Oh, Jingle, Jingle, Jingle

(Hey, I lied!  I actually feel like a blog post today, mostly because it will allow me to procrastinate from a to-do list of mammoth proportions.  So, enjoy!)

Twas four nights before Christmas, and your faithful blogger is about to lose her mind. I have absolutely zero idea what this has to do with sustainable living, but I'm going to go with it.

I don't know when Christmas stopped being a holiday that took up the last half of December and started being an Olympic decathlon with events like "creative baking," "holiday card design," and "targeted gift purchasing," but every year, the pressure to pull off a spectacular Christmas seems to mount. And, just a reminder, Mr. FC&G and I don't have kids, so we aren't even engaged in the side of things that involves figuring out what the toy of the year is and how to hide it from inquisitive eyes, to say nothing of that super-creepy marketing ploy that is the Elf on the Shelf.  No, we just feel your garden variety pressure, and it is getting out of hand.

Now, many other bloggers who are opining about their Christmas tasks are going to blame the pressure on Facebook, with its uncanny ability to catalog all of your friends' most perfect milliseconds of life and throw them in your face at the moment you are about to start hurling bakeware across your kitchen.  ("Wait, little Billy, stop and hold that toy from Aunt Beth just so while I get a photo of you with the Christmas tree in the background. That should make all my friends insanely jealous of my perfect life, which, of course, is the true meaning of Christmas!")

No, this pressure goes back to Christmas carols, a fact of which I am now painfully aware since the radio station that I depended upon to play 80s New Wave decided to convert to the city's "Christmas Station" starting the day after Halloween.  I swear, if they back this holiday up any further, I'm going to be forced to sing Jingle Bells while I'm cleaning up from the Fourth of July cookout.

Anyway, listen to some of these things:

(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays (1954)
I met a man who lives in Tennessee
And he was headin' for
Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie

Think about that. The distance between Nashville, TN, and Harrisburg, PA, is 720 miles, or over 10 hours in the car, not counting rest stops. I don't know about you, but my pumpkin pie, although pretty darn good, isn't worth driving from the neighboring town for, let alone hauling butt for 11 hours in the car. It's tasty, but it always gets that crack down the middle.

Sleigh Ride (1949)
There's a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy
When they pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie
It'll almost be like a picture print by Currier and Ives.
These wonderful things are the things
We remember all through our lives.

Currier and Ives, people!  We're supposed to create a Christmas that is so good that it doesn't just get recorded on our phones but is actually worthy of a lithograph!  I can't do that!  And again with the pumpkin pie - although, I must say, my coffee is pretty kick-ass, especially if you like your brew strong enough to strip paint off the walls and keep you up for three days.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (1963)
There'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow.
There'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories
Of Christmases long long ago!

OK, so now I see why we're starting this holiday at Halloween, because that's clearly the only reasonable time to toast marshmallows and tell ghost stories.  But tales of the glories?  What would you like to hear about? The time that I actually got the fudge to set up on the first try? (And what, exactly, is a "soft ball stage?")  See, I'm supposed to throw a Christmas so good that we have guests coming in at all hours, traipsing up and down the street signing carols, and it still will pale in comparison to past Christmases, which we will fondly recall.  ("I don't know, Jen, this pumpkin pie is good, but it isn't as good as that year you got everyone to come in from Nashville just for a piece.")

So I don't know, folks. These kinds of blog posts are supposed to end with some cheery pronouncement that "it's all worth it." But I have to go - I need to finish the calligraphy on the envelopes of my Christmas cards and try to take a perfect, soft-focus picture of the Christmas tree to post to Facebook.  Then, I apparently need to investigate some new pie recipes, because mine just aren't bringing the crowds to the door.

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