The most reasonable time to post about the disaster that was Christmas Eve in my household would have been Wednesday, when it actually happened, but in a sacrifice for the greater good, I decided to hold true to my regular posting schedule.
We never get a real tree. I like to say it’s because we’re an ecologically aware family. Really, it’s because we’re lazy. And cheap. But mostly lazy.
That’s why we have a little pretend tree, which, in the olden days, I’d nagged my parents into buying for at least a semblance of normality. You can assemble it by yourself. So this year I, naturally, took out the box from the garage at 10:00 PM on Christmas Eve and began to build my tree.
Me: Does anyone want to help me set this up?
Basically there’s a pole and you just attach the branches. Only, for some reason, they wouldn’t STAY in, so we all had to inch around the tree in fear of ruining the whole thing. This misfortune was compounded by its location: I’d chosen to build it in the junction of three different pathways. It blocked the way to the kitchen, garage, and living room in one fell swoop. (We have a pretty small house.)
Me: Does anyone want to help me decorate?
Parents: NO. Stop bothering us.
Tensions are high.
My mom wanders around the house, muttering “I swore they were here last year,” like she does every year when she searches for the ornaments. I follow her around unhelpfully, looking in places that cannot possibly contain what I am looking for, like the washing machine and the kitchen cupboards.
We search every nook and cranny. The ornaments are nowhere to be seen. I suggest that she keep an eye out for stripes, because I am positive the candy canes were in the bag with the ornaments.
My mom tells me that is stupid. I give up.
I decorate the tree with real candy canes left over from last year. Who can tell the difference? I can’t. In the middle of my work, I realize that I only need to decorate half the tree. My mood considerably brightened, I cheerfully place the Santa hat I found in my mom’s closet (it was mine but now my head is too big) on top of the tree, in absence of the standard star.
After placing my two presents (my presents for my parents are hidden in my desk because I don’t trust my mom not to peek) underneath the tree, I scoot backwards like a true artist, contorting on the ground to capture the optimum angle (aka getting the entire tree in the shot) with my high-quality phone camera.
Mom: What are you doing?
Me: Taking a picture.
Me: To post on my blog.
Dad: Blog? You mean it’s going to be online? *looks at Mom*
Mom: *looks at Dad*
Mom runs to her room. She emerges with a handful of gift bags.
Mom: Put these under. These are gifts, too!
Me: But they’re empty.
Mom: My friends gave them to me. I’ve already taken out the gifts. All those gifts from your friends, they count, too! *starts stacking them underneath the tree*
Me: Right, but some of those gift bags I distinctly remember coming from my 14th birthday party.
Me: That’s manipulative!
And magically, after her one word, it becomes inexplicably not-manipulative.
This picture you see? It’s a LIE.
(Also, guess where we found the ornaments the next day? In a shoebox, on the washing machine. Guess what else was inside with them? Candy canes.)