Christmas confusion set in on Thanksgiving Day and seemed it would never clear. I wish I could pin it on the tryptophan trip, or the premature Yuletide tinsel and trim, or men sacked out on sofas with their hands in their waistbands, or the deceptive, overconfident euphoria preceding Tech spanking Georgia.
Perhaps it resulted from a ripple effect of the October stock market crash, the November election and the December appeal of U.S. car companies for a bailout. The perfect winter storm, so to speak.
At any rate, whatever the cause, an opaque veil fell over my senses Thanksgiving evening when my husband's mama and her sisters decided to divide their late mother's Christmas collection. Not just her ornaments and decorations, but her wardrobe as well - her Christmas sweater wardrobe.
Holding up one red and green pom-pommed, glittery atrocity after another, my husband's aunts encouraged me, "Don't you want a couple, Lucy? Oooh, this teddy bear with a wreath around its neck would look fabulous on you."
"It has that wreath around its neck because it's trying to choke itself," I silently responded.
"How about one with a Christmas tree? Look, it lights up," an aunt enthusiastically sold. I waited impatiently for it to short-out while she gripped the metal hanger.
"Surely you need some of these," said the other. "These two have silver foil woven right into them and this one has precious presents tied up with gold cording."
They applied pressure left and right, pushing sweater after sweater in my direction. Trying to diplomatically avoid hurting feelings, I choked out, throat dry, fingers crossed, "I really don't feel comfortable choosing first. Y'all should select what you want and then let the grandkids pick. I'll see what's left."
After all three ladies went on about how they really don't wear things like that, they questioned my brother-in-law and his wife, "Y'all go to a Tacky Christmas Sweater Party every year don't you? Which ones do you want?"
Thanksgiving closed with me in a cloud of disbelief, feeling sorry for myself. In a fog, with a blizzard of thoughts running through my head, I questioned the image I project, the purpose of my existence, proper timing for a midlife crisis, entering the season of glad tidings with such a skewed perception of myself and the world.
In the days following, a Decembery mist hung low and heavy. I distracted myself with an investigation into a particular doll my 7-year-old daughter craves for Christmas.
Going online to read reviews, this is what I found:
"Reviewer: mad mom of 18 year old (st. louis, mo, usa) this was a soso buy. I got it for christmas for my 18 child. Yes she is a kid not a teen. you need to keep buying new diapers for the doll it is to much money. it is costing me a fortune. Some times I get so anger with it I want to rip its head off and yell you are a stupid doll. stupid! but I get smacked in the head by my 18 year old daughter. Well other from that it is great!"
This was followed by: "Was this review helpful to you?"
Yes. It helped me snap out it and realize that my preoccupation with my own holiday haze is selfish when there are people out there who truly need more mental assistance than me. Therefore, I intend to appreciate the good sense I have and donate all these Christmas sweaters to those less fortunate folks, since I prefer jingle bells in songs and not sewn to my sweaters.
Lucy Adams is a Columbia County native and McDuffie County resident, and author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny. E-mail comments to lucybgoosey at aol.com, or go to www.IfMama.com.
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