The Christmas Crazies

We keep a very low-key and pleasant Christmas. We only buy for those under 18, we do pitch-ins for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we all live within an hour (at most) drive from each other, and our tree is a 1 1/2 ft (0.46 m) artificial raggedy-butt with the lights and decorations left on all year; I unplug it and stick it in a box, then take it out and plug it in at Christmas.

So I fail to understand why I’m sitting here with an anxiety attack trying to get out of my body through my chest cavity. Thumpity thump thump, thumpity thump thump, look at Frosty go, except it isn’t Frosty, it’s my stupid heart.

Luckily for me, I’m used to it. It doesn’t happen often, since I started going steady with Mr. Lexapro, but I remember it well and recognize it when it drops in for the occasional visit.

Maybe it’s muscle memory from when we had lots of little kids around, and Christmas was intensely angst-ridden. Time of joy and magic? Try Time of high expectations. The small kids were fairly easy to wow, but the older they got the harder that was. Not because they were spoiled or jaded, but because it was so easy to be wowed when you were little, and you naturally lose that low threshold of wowability over time.

Is this the year I’m going to see that loss in my kid’s face? This year? This one? I’ll forever be grateful to #4 Daughter for, among other things, her reaction to that loss. When she realized where those toys came from, she didn’t cry, she laughed. She said, “All the grown-ups play this game? All the grown-ups pretend this, so the little kids believe in this magic? Really? All the grown-ups do this together?” She thought that was the greatest thing ever, and it really pleased and excited her that now she was one of the ones who could help make the magic happen for the little ones. Yeah, she was sad for the loss. It always hurts to be on the wrong side of the looking glass. But she threw herself into making joy for other people in spite of her loss, which is always the kind of person you hope your kid will be.

So stop doing that anxiety thing! Sure, there’s lots in the world to be disturbed about. No more today than any other day. Take a deep breath, MomGoth, and wear the damn thing out. Take a chill pill, MomGoth. That’s better.

I’m posting today at Fatal Foodies about a cornbread thing I made and liked.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: How does your main character feel about Christmas, or whatever the major family/gift celebration is in their culture?



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “The Christmas Crazies

  1. Jane

    December 23, 2014 at 8:52am

    I don’t know about my characters, but I’m not feeling the spirit much this year. I still don’t have the main dish figured out for Christmas dinner! Good thing I have frozen stuff in the fridge.

    Ms. #4 is quite a treasure, isn’t she?

    I was talking to Linda the other day (You know, before she stopped talking to me), and I was describing the feeling I had when certain events happened. She said, “Yup. That’s a panic attack starting.” I was all whut? Me? Panic? Huh! But she assured me it could’ve been worse had it gone full-blown. Well, I had to agree with that, because, yuck, what I had was bad enough!

    Have a Happy Christmas anyway, pal. I’ll be thinking un-panicky thoughts for you!

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      December 23, 2014 at 1:32pm

      Wishing un-panicky thoughts back! It isn’t as bad when you know what it is. You can just grit your teeth and last it out.

      Yep, Ms. #4 is a peach! 🙂

      Whatever you make for Christmas dinner will be wonderful, because it’ll be eaten in good company. It would be eaten in good company, even if you ate alone! 🙂

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      • Jane

        December 24, 2014 at 8:17am

        My dear, you always know what to say!

        Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Holly Jahangiri

    December 23, 2014 at 9:33am

    Once upon a time, the Sears-Roebuck Catalogue arrived… in all its heavy, paper-and-ink, printed glory. A few necessities might be ordered, and one special something – unexpected, frivolous (if somewhat useful) – would be tucked in, something that might stretch the family finances but not to the breaking point. Maybe Santa’s name went on that one…

    Then along came newspaper ads, magazines, cities with their awe-inspiring window dressing. Radio and TV followed, and soon children were bombarded with “gotta have it, gotta have it NOW!” messages. But children were outside, playing. Or holed up in their rooms, reading. Books were allowed in the bedroom; the radio and TV – one per household – were in the family room.

    And then someone got the bright idea to give Junior a TV for his room. Other parents were shamed into doing the same. And once that happened, well… poor Santa had to hire a fleet of FedEx trucks just to keep up with the Joneses.

    I’ve been looking at this all wrong, you know. It’s not that Santa got credit for all the good stuff. It’s that giving Santa the blame for it kept expectations lower the REST of the year.

    P.S. I never lie, and if you could TELL, I wouldn’t have to check the stupid box every time I comment – nor would you on MY blog! LOL

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      December 23, 2014 at 1:37pm

      Heeeee! When our kids were little, the big present was always from Santa, and we gave things like the gol-danged Waltons. “Here’s a pair of socks IN YOUR FAVORITE COLOR!!!” It was so sad. (NOT REALLY SAD. IT WAS OKAY.) The Dollar Store and the Tractor Supply were great places to get stuff for little ones who don’t know the status imperative of brand names. After that, it was all about the trade-off: Do you want several small presents or one brand-name present? Sophie’s Choice, Junior Version.

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  3. Holly Jahangiri

    December 23, 2014 at 2:08pm

    “Sophie’s Choice, Junior Version” – good thing I didn’t have a mouthful of egg nog.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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