CCC # 5: Christmas Is The Time to Say…

One of my favorite contemporary Christmas carols is Billy Squier (of ‘The Stroke’ fame – holla to all youths of the ’80’s in the hizzle)’s “Christmas Is the Time to Say ‘I Love You’.” Here’s a fun fact to know and tell: that song ‘dropped’ in 1981, during the heyday of MTV, when Martha Quinn, J.J. Jackson and the rest of the original vee-jays showed music videos and nothing but music videos, ’round the clock. The Good Old Days, if you will. In December of 1981, I was twelve years old and in seventh grade. That was thirty years ago. I’ll let you do math.

These days, when I sing (as I often do, to the chagrin of my children, the dog, and anyone within hearing distance) that song, I tend to change the lyrics to whatever I’m feeling or thinking at the moment. For example:

  • Christmas Is the Time to Say… I’m Tired
  • Christmas Is the Time to Say… Clean Your Room
  • Christmas Is the Time to Say… You’re Naughty
  • Christmas Is the Time to Say… It’s Bedtime

and so on. For the last couple of days, however, I’ve been observing my actions, gyrations, behaviors and what not. The tune that keeps popping into my head? “Christmas Is the Time to Say… I’m Crazy.”

I don’t know about you, but this time of the year brings out both the best and worst in me. The best because I honestly love the holiday season and truly endeavor to make it merry and bright. I decorate my house to the hilt, I try to select thoughtful gifts each recipient will love, I play Christmas music non-stop, I take in all the Christmas movies and TV specials with my boys (pretty much just my 7 year old, now, because my 15 year old is too cool), and so on. I want to create idyllic holiday memories that my family will cherish forever.

Alas, I must admit: it also brings out the worst. I could go into excruciating detail on this point, but in the interest of brevity, I’ll leave it at this: I try to cram way too much into way too narrow of a time frame. Inevitably, I end up over-extended, exhausted, and disappointed.

Have you ever seen the movie, “Christmas Vacation”? I swear, I am Clark Griswold with a va-jay-jay. Reality can never match those romanticized visions of sugarplums, dancing in our heads.

To liken my Christmas fervor with fine literature, let me remind you of a classic:

For those of you who don’t know the gist of this story, there’s a boy and this mouse. The boy gives the mouse a cookie, which makes the mouse thirsty, so the boy must get him a glass of milk. Then, the mouse wants to look in the mirror to make sure he doesn’t have a milk mustache, and when he looks in the mirror, he decides his fur needs a trim, so the boy needs to get him a pair of scissors, and so on. In every given moment, the mouse gets distracted and moves on to his next ‘need’ before wrapping up the previous endeavor. (SPOILER ALERT!) It eventually ends where it starts, with the mouse wanting a cookie, and then a glass of milk… And in the mouse’s wake? An utterly torn-up house and an oh-so-exhausted little boy.

In my case, I’m both the boy and the mouse. Let me give you one example:

This past Friday night was basketball homecoming at my son, Truman’s, high school. Truman is a freshman, and through a lot of hard work and dedication, he made the JV and varsity teams. He was also asked to be the male freshman homecoming attendant. My in-laws (mother, father, brother & his wife and kids) decided to come in for the game and spend the night.

My in-laws live several hours away from us and have not come up to our home in well over a year. They haven’t stayed the night in probably 3 years or so. (They think it’s much easier for the four of us to come down and see them. Don’t get me started…)

Anyway, with it being the holidays, I felt like my home needed to be not only immaculate, but beautifully decorated. We were going to be leaving Saturday morning for our Christmas with DH’s extended family, so I also needed to have all of the shopping for that side of the family done, and the gifts needed to be beautifully wrapped, with my signature big-fluffy-bows (each one takes at least 15 minutes to make. Don’t pretend you paper crafters don’t know what I’m talking about).

I had the upstairs interior of the house painted a few months ago (okay, so maybe it was about 24 months ago…), and I’d been a bit of a slacker about getting all of the pictures re-hung, and in the meantime, Truman had changed bedrooms. During that time, the ‘new’ guest room had become a bit of a junk room. Why? Because no one ever comes up to stay with us! So, I had to get the guest room all cleaned up, pictures hung on the walls, etc.

On Thursday afternoon, I went to a department store to find a couple of extra gifts for my Mother- and Sister-in-law (because I hated for them to open just one from us, even though their main gift was nice enough on its own). While there, I spied a couple of lamps that I thought would look great in the guest room (the old ones looked dated and cheap, I’d decided when I had set the room back up the day before). Then, what to my wondering eyes should appear? A chair that would be PERFECT for the guest room! And so on…

I get home and place the lamps and chairs in the guest room, when I notice a couple of stains on the carpet. They’re curiously yellow. I bend down to sniff… and no, no, no!!! The unmistakeable stench of dog urine. Too busy to decide whether it was the work of Gretel (RIP, I had to put her to sleep a couple of weeks ago – that’s a terrible, horrible, no-good story for another time) or Sweet Pea (or should it be ‘Sweet Pee’?), I immediately think, “I’ve got to clean these carpets!” So I go to the local hardware store and rent a carpet cleaner at 6 p.m. at night, hoping and praying the carpet will be dry before the company arrives the next day.

As I’m cleaning the guest bedroom carpet, I think “Well, as long as I have the carpet cleaner, I should clean all of the carpet in the house…” and later, “Well, the upholstery of the living room furniture looks a little dirty, too…” You see where this is going, don’t you?

Now that it’s Sunday, the 18th, here’s what I know: the gifts were plenty as they were, no one but me would have given a second thought to the lamps or the lack of a chair in the guest room, I could have probably done a good enough job on the carpet with a little spray carpet cleaner and a rag, and no one cared about my big-fluffy-bows as they tore into their presents.

One of these days, I’ll learn my lesson. In fact, I think I’m going to start today. Instead of working myself into a lather trying to create a new card or item for today’s CCC post (our 5th!), I’m going to show you a couple of early projects I made with Your Next Stamp images, which helped me fall in love with YNS.

This is the very first card I created with a YNS image. I did it for a JiFFy (Just For Fun) Challenge I do with a few of my stampy girlfriends monthly-ish, and one of them selected the adorable little monkey from the Monkey Gone Bananas set. I decided to make mine a Japanese Snow Monkey, a la

Next is one of my very favorite YNS images, ever. So much so, it’s the image I selected for my YNS watermark: Happy Days Mermaid.

So, talk to me. Are you a Harried Holiday Hannah like me, or a Serene & Simple Sarah? Do you want to be different, or do you have any advice for the rest of us crazies? Leave a comment and let me know. One randomly-selected, lucky commenter will get her choice of either the Monkey Gone Bananas or Happy Days Mermaid. You have between now and midnight on Christmas Day (Dec. 25th) to post your comment, and Karen will announce the winner on the 26th.

Just for old time’s sake…


Did you see all the original MTV vee-jays?! And Billy’s sweater… oy!

I leave you with my best wishes for this season for you and yours, and for a New Year filled with peace, prosperity, and people you love. See you on January 18th, 2012, friends!

XO – Carole

PS – Can you think of another single blog post in which both terms ‘vee-jay’ and ‘va-jay-jay’ have been used?! SCORE!!! πŸ™‚

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19 Comments

  1. 1
    Robin barwacz says:

    I am so a Harried Hannah! Everything has to be perfect, especially the gifts…did I get enough for everone? Did I remember to get something for everyone from Charlie (our dog)? It takes our family over three hours to open our gifts. It’s just too much and every year I say that it has to stop, but then it never does! The cleaning, cooking, wraping, decorating…oh why oh why do we do this to ourselves? Type A? You betcha. Ha! Have a wonderful holiday and a blessed New Year. Take care. Robin B.

  2. 2
    Naomi says:

    I am definitely a Harried Hannah! Usually, though, I am SO prepared for Christmas! I used to always know in October what I wanted to get for everyone and be done my shopping before December hit…well, I have let that slip a bit over the last couple of years and this year, I am STILL not ready! I’m FREAKING out! I think because I am now a cardmaker, I have become even more ambitious about everything I’m going to make by hand, etc…WAY OVER-AMBITIOUS and to top it all off, I’m SUPER sick right now and have been this past week…hope I’m better for the holidays but, this really has put a HUGE damper on my progress…EEEK! I do think you have a point, though…I really should just relax a bit and except the fact that things can’t always be perfect…and most everybody else would never even notice anyway!

    Hope you have a WONDERFUL Christmas!
    Happy Holiday Hugs,
    Naomi

  3. 3

    I’m like the above, the only thing is by November of every year, all my Christmas shopping is done…. The only thing that I do in December is to bake and get my cards made and delivered…. I don’t like the hustle and bustle of the malls, being in crowds, loudness of everyone… it gives me phobia attacks…..
    He,he, (Happy Holidays my friend)!

  4. 4
    Linda Monroe says:

    I loved reading your post today. I can very much relate to your story. I fall into the ‘give a mouse a cookie’ syndrome all the time. I am a recovering Harried Hannah. My kids are not little anymore (youngest is a senior in high school) and I just don’t do so much anymore. I am taking on the ‘less is more’ philosophy with everything. So my thought is, do less, but do it well. So one gift per person, but still beautifully wrapped (with store bought bows.) One cookie recipe made, not 5 and buy the other types of christmas cookies we like. My only stress right now is Christmas cards. I made the mistake of selling off a bunch of cards I’d had done before Thanksgiving figuring I had plenty of time to make more and well, time is a running out – ya know?

  5. 5

    Carole, I absolutely adore your writing and sense of humor! What a great read! And for the record, I am most Serene & Simple Sarah… I enjoy the time with my family, but don’t stress over stuff. If it gets done, it gets done. If not, it’s not the end of the world and tomorrow is another day. πŸ™‚

  6. 6
    Jenny says:

    Oh hunny! I can just picture it all, from the pee sniffing to the big bows;) I loved this post (and of course your cards- wtf? Karen let you pick your own watermark? Geesh! favortism;)lol
    p.s. I like that you said va-jay-jay in your post;) hehe..My kinda chickie!

  7. 7
    Jenny says:

    And just in case you’re wondering, I am bipolar brenda…anywhere from frenzied to chill in a matter of minutes. It’s really quite the thing to see and I likely should be on meds for it. But then life wouldn’t be near as intersting;)

  8. 8
    Anonymous says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone give a spoiler alert on “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” before. That made my day, as I run off to teach a class full of crazy first graders. I am leaving this post up on my computer to read again when I get home…and to play the video for my husband. I’m a year behind you, and seeing those VJs was just too much. Hard to believe those honking huge glasses were ever cool.

    Have a great holiday, and thanks for the laughs this morning!

    Elena

  9. 9
    Amy Rohl says:

    You got me runnin’, baby…oh em gee, now I’m going to be singing THAT song in my head all day. Isn’t it terrible that My Kinda Lover popped into my head upon reading Billy Squier?! I know, sick mind. Anywhoo, I’m all over your entire list CCC…we must run in the same circles er sumpin’!

  10. 10
    Angel says:

    bwahahaha, too funny! Fortunately, this year I’m a Serene Sarah. My shopping has been done for days… πŸ™‚

  11. 11

    This is too funny! I’m falling out laughing because I can sooo relate to this! I always thought I had A.D.D.! Nothing ever ends up being just a simple one-step process for me…every simple act leads to me doing something else & before you know it, I’m overwhelmed with 25 projects & 10 minutes left to get it done. Thanks for letting me realize I’m not the only one! Happy Holidays!

  12. 12

    Well, I guess I am a Harried HERMAN, because I have DEFINITELY been walking on the mad side. Tis the season to be jolly, like it or not, right?!

  13. 13
    MaryAnn N. says:

    Just last night I watched the Christmas movie ..”On Strike for Christmas” I think you need help from your family or go on strike too!
    Anyway I had a good laugh reading your blog, you made my day better and I don’t feel so bad/stressed about the holidays now. Merry Christmas
    and I’m glad your carpet is clean even though no one noticed!

  14. 14
    liannallama says:

    he he! Thanks for the smiles–I’m glad I’m not the only one who turns a simple task into a mountain of chores! I do my best to keep things simple but sometimes it is too hard! Thanks for the walk down vee-jay memory lane, too, LOL!

  15. 15
    SunnyB says:

    Yes, it seems I am a Harried Hannah around the holidays. Every year I have great expectations to start early and have a more relaxing holiday, but I am always rushing around getting everything done and promising to do better the next year only to find myself in a repeating pattern every year. There must be something about the adrenaline powered rush to get it all done in the nick of time that keeps me from changing every year.

  16. 16
    Julie E says:

    Oh yes, I am the Harried one too! LOL because I can just see where your mind was going with the chain of events and I know I would be doing the same crazy stuff too! Now a big yawn because I have been getting up at 4:30 am to get everything done!

  17. 17

    Simple & Serene Sarah would be my hubby and I’m the complete opposite. I would be the one like you running around like crazy and making sure that everything is working perfectly. But I still love him the way he is coz he cares for me. I wouldn’t change him for anything.

  18. 18
    Shari says:

    Oh my, you sound so much like me at the holidays! I am so a CRAZY person too and not one seems to notice the efforts we make (like your bows). My husband is always so relaxed and layed back and thinks Christmas just maqgically happens and looks beautiful all on its own! grrrr men, LOL πŸ™‚
    Thanks for your post it was a pleasure to read!

  19. 19
    charli says:

    so far, this holiday has been laid back–but I am thinking of milk and cookies like the mouse! πŸ™‚

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