The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

JT EllisonGrinch_1

I have a new nickname around the house. Crank. Miss Crankypants, to be exact.

I have better words for it, considering the season. Grinch. Scrooge. Bah-Humbug.

Yes, that’s right. I am NOT in the Christmas spirit. I haven’t seen Rudolph, Charlie Brown or any of my other staples. I’ve barely done any shopping. Hubby had to practically force me to put up the tree, which after half an hour became the "Less is More" tree and is missing an entire bag of tiny ornaments, just because I couldn’t face dealing with them.

What is wrong with me??? Could it be the specter of 2007 roaming around my house like a pre-Christmas dinner Roast Beast?

I finally had a moment putting together the Christmas cards. Every year we send out a ton of cards to folks far and near. Up until three years ago, we always included a letter. Lately, people have complained that they aren’t getting the letter updating them on the nothingness that’s happening in our lives during the year. We don’t have kids, haven’t bought a new car, haven’t been the recipients of a lottery check, haven’t survived a tragedy. Things have been rather nominal in the Ellison household of late. And if there’s nothing to say, I’m not going to send a letter — Dear friends and family — NOTHING EXCITING HAPPENED THIS YEAR.

But this year it’s all different. We have tons to share. Self-serving, obviously, but a lot of news. Hubby has a new job since the last letter, I have the book coming out, all that is fodder for the ubiquitous yearly correspondence. At last — we have news.

So I put together the letter. Updated the address database. Printed out the labels, which is a new thing for me. I usually handwrite, but the list has gotten a little long, and I copped out. Printed the return labels. Printed the letter. Bought the cards. Set up in the dining room where I could spread out my happy little stacks and work the system — write personal note in card, fold letter, insert letter into card, insert card in envelope, lick envelope and seal, stick on address label. Seemed like a perfect setup.

Until I opened the box of cards. Boxes, I should say. And realized I was a complete idiot. I try to buy the boxes that have two greetings, one Merry Christmas, one Season’s Greetings. That way I can send cards to everyone and not offend anyone. The boxes I bought this year had 2 messages alright. They were just disbursed among 15 different designs. 2 cards of each design. 4 boxes. Which meant I had to break open all the boxes and separate the cards into stacks, matching the designs from box to box. Grrr….

Okay, this is doable. I start breaking everything into their individual piles. There’s only one problem. Half of the cards are covered in some sort of fine, industrial grade glitter. Whomever decided that glitter on a Christmas card was a good idea should be taken behind the woodshed and summarily shot.

So here I am, stacks of cards abounding, each with designs that range from lovely to cheesy, and the cat decides to join the party. I’m covered head to toe in glitter, there’s no more fizz in my Diet Coke, I have a crick in my back, and the cat comes and lays smack dab on the piles. I nudge her off; she just slides down the table a few inches. I give her a push accompanied by a semi-curse (because who can swear at a cat who wants to share Christmas joy with her mother?) and she took shelter under the table runner. That’s when I decided I needed to A) take pictures and B) blog the hell out of this story.

Cat out of the way and pictures taken, I settled in and made some progress. I had about twenty cards complete when I realized… I was having a good time. Yes, there were a million designs. Which meant I was picking the cards individually for the recipient. Oh, they have kids, they’ll like the glittery Santa Claus. Oh, she likes animals, I’ll do the Snowman surrounded by bunnies. I want to impress so and so, I’ll send the elegant ornaments. On and on I went, decimating my stack, signing and folding and licking, until I finally, finally felt the spirit of Christmas.

People say be careful what you wish for. 2007 will bring many changes to my life. I just finished book 2 this week. I have a proposal due for book 3 on January 1. Killer Year is humming along. Murderati is populated with the coolest writers on the planet. But I’m going to try and forget about that for now, and live in this moment. Treasure this Christmas, my family, my friends. Stop being such a grinch. Remember that there are people in this world who have a lot less that I do, and be thankful that I have this life.

And be thankful for all of you, who help make this happen. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year!

This doesn’t mean I’m completely abandoning my grinchiness. Just watch this… (not with the kids around, though!)

Wine of the Week — Marquis Philips Cabernet Sauvignon S2 McLaren Vale


9 thoughts on “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

  1. Louise Ure

    I’m with you, Ms. Crank. I have The Houseguests From Hell arriving this afternoon, and am plotting how to poison the Christmas Eve dinner without sending myself to the emergency room or jail.

    Hope you have a lovely holiday, bah humbug and all.

  2. pari noskin taichert

    Louise, I have some recipes . . . email me privately .

    Holiday cards? Oh, I have such good intentions every year. Then, the mail comes and I start getting cards from everyone and instead of saying, “Oh, how nice.” I usually say, “Oh, crap.” How can everyone else be so thoughtful and I can’t pull it together to lick a damn stamp?

    Yesterday, I spent three hours shopping for Christmas presents for my husband’s family. You see, we celebrate Hanukkah in our home, but also go to the in-laws for Christmas — since it’s their holiday. So, by the time Dec. 26 rolls around, I’m mighty tired.

    Still, I’m a holiday nut; I like the family togetherness. This has become even more true since I had children — and since my parents have both died. Family is more precious to me — even with the warts.

  3. billie

    LOL about the glitter and the cat and the soda with no fizz left!

    I get grinchy at holidays when I am trying hard to match up to my somewhat unrealistic image of what I can/need to do to make things be “nice.”

    This year we decided to leave the ornaments in the boxes and make simple things for the tree. We have 3 cats, all one year olds with plenty of spunk left and enough body weight to do some serious damage. That worked out well. My plan for last night’s winter solstice celebration went smoothly until right before the event and a few minor mishaps transformed me into the grinch. I recovered and it was fun, but now I’m readying for Christmas eve and my entire family coming here. It will be fun once they’re here, if I can only keep myself from freaking out over the preparations.

    Thanks for the reminder to just take a deep breath and enjoy the moment(s).

    Happy holidays to all – and thanks for the good conversation here. It’s become one of my favorite places to come hang out.


  4. JT Ellison

    Billie, we love having you! If you figure a way to keep the cats out of the tree, let me know. I think I have next year’s Christmas card picture — Jade the cat buried so deep in the tree only her tail shows.

    Pari — I know. I know.

    Louise, you crack me up. If you get it down, will you let me know?

  5. Elaine Flinn

    A fun read today, J.T.!

    I sent out three boxes of cards (I can’t help myself-I have to reply!) and umpteen Christmas emails-and still have more to go. But what the hell, right? It’s the holiday season and sharing best wishes to friends (and a few foes) makes for a feel-good day.

    Uh,Louise? That same group coming back? I’ll pray for you. Hope they’re not staying as long this time. 🙂

    We didn’t put light up this year either, Alex-we blamed it on the storm. 🙂 AndGuyot is in hiding – he’s training for the big bout.

  6. Guyot

    Guyot’s here. I’ve been out celebrating Christmas with the family.

    No matter how I try, I just can’t be Grinchy this time of time. Maybe it’s because my kids are young enough that their enthusiasm is rubbing off.

    Whatever it is, I love this time of year. And it helps being out of LA – having a white Christmas, breathing air you can’t see, wearing parkas instead of shorts, the whole nine yards.

    Jay-Tee, I’m surprised you like the McLaren Vale. I found it to be very overrated. Or maybe it’s still too young to drink.

  7. JT Ellison

    G, I think my palate isn’t as sophisticated on the cabs. I loved their Shiraz and tasted the cab in the same few minutes, and it seemed okay. I’ll have to sample again, see if I feel differently.

    Just for the record, I wrote this post early last week, and am completely and hopelessly past my grinchiness. Listening to carols as we speak. Write. Read. Whatever.


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