When Christmas doesn’t play out like a Christmas carol

I’m trying to get into the Christmas spirit, people. I really am.

But sometimes, despite how much I love the Christmas season, it also makes me a little grumpier. I think it’s because I love it so much that I also become more easily irritable and disappointed when life isn’t playing out like it is for those in my favorite Christmas carols. Things just aren’t fa-la-la-la-la-ing like they’re supposed to this time of year, you know?

For example, my Christmas tree (O Christmas tree). How lovely are your branches. Well, the ones that still have needles on them, I should say. Oh, and only when the tree is actually still bedecked in ornaments and tinsel, unlike the other morning that I came downstairs to find a half-naked tree and ornaments strewn about the carpet. The white tinsel was pulled partly off, and the star that was perched at the top of the tree when I went to bed the night before? Lying about 4 feet from the tree. At first I tried to blame it on my kids. (Yeah, that’s what a good mom I am.) But when I finally took into consideration that I went to bed after my kids and got up before them, I figured out that they probably really didn’t do it. (I’m known for my acute reasoning skills.) So then it was narrowed down to my dog or . . . my dog. I still have no idea why he attacked the tree, nor how he managed to topple the tree topper, but it wasn’t as much fun decorating the tree the second time around, especially when I found several of my favorite ornaments as casualties to the assault.

And then there’s the whole present-buying ordeal. Don’t get me wrong, I really do love buying gifts for people. In fact, you might even say I obsess a little too much about finding the perfect gift after analyzing a recipient’s personality, hobbies, health, habits and possibly even wiretapped conversations. Just kidding. (Or am I?)

However, as my boys get older, it’s becoming more challenging to buy gifts for them, for several reasons. One is because I have to give them the same number of presents to open. I keep finding “one more gift” for Boy #3 that I had bought earlier in the year and stashed away because, at 6, he’s just easy to buy for. But that means that I then have to not only find one more gift for the nearly 9-year-old, but the nearly 13-year-0ld as well. Great. Everything he wants is either expensive or something I don’t want him to have. He may be finding single socks (Not single pairs, single socks. One sock.) wrapped under the tree come Christmas morning. Oh, and he and Boy #2 both have birthdays in January, too, so that makes it even better. Such bad family planning on our part.

Another issue I’m having with gifts is that since I’m ordering the bulk of them online, they’re arriving in the mail and then being opened by the boys. Of course, my biggest culprit is Boy #1, who just today opened a package addressed to me that contained a present for his brother because “Oh, I forgot it was Christmastime.” Yeah, because the FedEx man is at our house this much any other time of the year!

And one last unChristmas-y thing I’m dealing with: the scents of the season. As Boy #3 and I walked through the Christmas aisles at Target earlier this week, I took in a big whiff of some sort of cinnamon fragrance that was wafting through the air. “Mmm…smell that,” I told Boy #3.

“What is that smell?” he asked me.

“It’s the smell of Christmas,” I told him.

And today when I got home from work and walked in the door, the scent that hit me was not cinnamon — but dog poop. Because The Dog had, of course, crapped himself in his kennel.

No wonder poor Boy #3 was confused. Christmas doesn’t smell like cinnamon and evergreens at his house.

What about you? Is it all “deck the halls with boughs of holly” at your house? Or are you feeling just a teensy bit Grinchish, too?

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