I would like to take this opportunity to invite everyone to come by my house this week for a little Christmas party.
Ive got the halls decked, the presents wrapped, and enough gallbladder-grabbing goodies baked to send a gastroenterologist shopping for his next Mercedes.
Ive mailed dozens of cards to family and friends, and sent bountiful boxes to loved ones far away.
Our yard and house are so magnificently lighted and garlanded, people slow down when they drive past just to take a better look.
And if you believe all that, Ive also got a Martha Burk Barbie for sale on E-bay.
The truth is Im about as ready for Christmas as an acrophobic is eager to skydive out of a perfectly good airplane.
For weeks now, Ive been catatonically wandering around the house like Madeline Usher, dragging ropes of festive beads, searching for some place to drape them. I was going for that landed gentry look, but Im afraid the place is starting to look a whole lot more like an opium den.
To make matters worse, when my three kids, ages 12, 16, and 57, put up the tree, its obvious somebody was in way too big of a hurry. The cotton cloud under our wayward angel more strongly resembles mashed potatoes shot out of a cannon.
Once I accepted the fact that Southern Living wasnt going to be scheduling a pictorial, I decided to try to get my shopping done. Big mistake. Do not go to the mall when you are: A) tired B) rested C) alive. People are pushing and shoving as if theres one George Foreman Grill left at Sears and theyll starve if they dont get it.
Also, I couldve kicked myself for requesting lists from the children. Little did I know fulfilling their fantasies would run me into next years income tax refund.
For example, my oldest son wants a beer helmet, one of those contraptions with long tubes running from can holders - not because hed imbibe, but because he wants to drink Coke, talk on the phone, and play Nintendo simultaneously.
Hes also asked for a PS One with a portable screen, Capcom vs. SNK Two, Suikoden Three, and The Tenchi Universe Boxed Set, this last item causing such a loud, involuntary shriek when I saw the price ($199), everyone in Suncoast literally stopped what he was doing and stared.
Said teen-ager also wants a few shirts and more CDs by such groups as Damp Doughnut and Red Hot Parole Violators.
The younger one is even more difficult to buy for. He wants a computer of his own, a Bowflex, and a Ferrari. Oh, and some surprises.
After indebting myself to everyone in North America, I thought whipping up a selection of holiday treats would be a therapeutic and practical next step in my se-quence of supermom duties.
After four fallen cakes, three soggy pies, two rags a-smokin, and a fireman at my door, I caved in and bought sweets and Chex Mix at Sams.
We did manage to extract a few crumbly specimens from the seven tiny fundraising tubs of I-Cant-Believe-It-Costs-$13 cookie dough my middleschooler made me purchase to help send back-scratchers to Bali, or some such worthy cause.
But despite all my less-than-perfect attempts to celebrate the season, the truth is I wouldnt trade this time of the year, or this time of my life, for all the candy canes in Wal-Mart. Having enjoyed nearly half a century of such days, Im convinced the more worried, the more desperate, the more poor we are, the closer we come to being in the same condition as another family long ago, and nearer the One who gave us a million reasons to rejoice.
So, if you dont mind tripping over a few stray beads, Ill have the coffee on and a plate of those $13 cookies handy for my dear Evans friends, or my beloved Lake-side neighbors, or anyone else who cares to come by.
God bless us every one.
(Mindy Jeffers is a Martinez resident. E-mail comments to mindyjeffers@ hotmail.com.)
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