I promise to get to all the stories about Christmas. About crazy families, getting a cold because my teenage cousins couldn’t keep their hands off my drinks (of which there were several), how Santa spent allllll of his money on us, and how turning 25 in a mere week doesn’t even phase me.
Until then, I’m still busy with Holiday stuff and I leave you with this little tale:
On Sunday, I was feeling horrible so I laid on the sofa for the entire day moving only to get more water and cold meds. CJ, who for some unknown reason, didn’t want to hang out with me while I whined about being sick and left for the day. When he arrived home at 10pm, I was already asleep on our sofa so he went to bed.
At 2am I woke up, dazed and confused, crawled into bed with him. He, being a good boyfriend, put his arm around me and kissed me on the forehead while still being mostly asleep. Just as I was about to snuggle into his arms I smelled him. And then I smelled him again.
It was unmistakable. CJ smelled like another woman. I could smell a perfume on his skin that wasn’t familiar to me – I couldn’t place it and jealously immediately boiled up in me. I’d love to tell you how I thought nothing of this and went quietly back to bed because I trust him and love him…. but… I didn’t. Instead I woke him up and insisted that he tell me exactly where he had been that day: who he had seen and more importantly if he had hugged anyone. He, dazed and confused at being woken up at 2am but a mildly angry me, told me about seeing his guy friends and visiting his parents. He said he had hugged his mother and then told me to stop sniffing him and go to sleep.
I mostly accepted this and took one final sniff of him – he did smell a bit like his mother but not quite. Something was off and I didn’t like it. But I do actually trust my boyfriend and knew that it was probably the cold meds talking crazy and not me.
Of course, I couldn’t just fall asleep after that. I started thinking about my reaction to smelling another woman on CJ. I’m not a jealous person and yet I could help but feeling suspicious. This is clearly a skill from years and years of evolution – before one could figure out if your man had been cheating on you by looking at his cell phone and facebook page all you had to go by was your nose. Of course made me think of the saying “Something smells” and I can only wonder if it has something to do with this. I would normally google and find out – but I figure that would make this post turn far too nerdy for the average person.
Anyways, I eventually got to sleep and had almost forgotten about the incident until I called my mother-in-law to thank her for all the beautiful presents she had given us for Christmas. She then told me what she got – a fancy perfume that is really different from her regular one.
I would love to sit down and write to you about my life….
About how shovelling a driveway sucks and why I can’t remember why I moved away from underground parking (Chi keeps yelling “HEATED FLOORING! HEATED FLOORING!” but she’s back in the Bahamas so I can’t hear her).
About how my sister conned me for into a 12 hours marathon shopping spree, keeping me high on caffeine and candy canes until I finally gave up in WalMart last night at 11:30pm. I sat on a bench and viciously tweeted about her until she took me home.
About how my mother is calling me every 2 hours with more instructions.
“Don’t forget to pick up my $300 bakery order”
“Don’t forget that Santa presents need to be wrapped in this particular Santa Paper that can only be purchased at this particular store at this ridiculous price”
“Don’t forget to bring all of the presents we have dropped off at your house, I don’t care how you cram it into your tiny Hyundai, just do it”
About how I somehow forgot to buy my grandmother a present and am now out of money and need to find time to make her something in the next 48 hours.
About how CJ is no help with Christmas preparations because he is working 12 hour days with a two hour commute (so that we aren’t completely poor after Christmas is over).
About how hard it is to find a fracking Hannah Montana doll in this city.
About how the only thing I’ve managed to write about this month is bitching about Christmas.
… but I can’t do any of that because I’m too busy crying in the corner with a bottle of baileys.
Most wonderful time of the year, indeed.
My favourite Christmas Carol – reinterpreted by the Muppets.
My atheist sister to my evangelical aunt regarding Christmas:
“I’ll believe in your fictitious character for 72 hours if you’ll believe in mine.”
My sister does not believe in a god/deity or any such sort. Therefore she doesn’t believe in praying at meal time, going to church, thanking Jesus, etc. Her three children (ages 5mo-5) have not been exposed to any such “nonsense”.
My aunt does not believe in Santa Claus. She believes that telling your children about such fictional characters takes away from the true spirit of Christmas – Jesus’ birthday. Her four children (ages 9-14) have been exposed to such “nonsense” and are old enough to know that other children do believe in it.
I am overly excited for this showdown.
Ah Christmas. That warm and fuzzy time of the year where families magically get along and everyone sings “Fah who for-aze!”* while holding hands around a giant Christmas tree. Heh.
Despite my intense commercial conditioning, I am not the biggest fan of Christmas. In fact, I’m Scrooge, Grinch and Oogie Boogie* all rolled into one for one simple reason:
Family obligation kills me and aggravates my drinking problem.
No other time of year has such expectations to be family centric. No one bitches you out if you can’t spend Easter with them. No one holds grudges about forgetting to give them a birthday present. But at Christmas? To do anything less than cheery, happy and holy is to slap your family in the face. It holds a lot of stress for me. Trying to run around between the various families, making sure everyone has a gift, everyone gets a visit; the appropriate Christmas cards get mailed out on time and to the right people. Make sure you see every friend who comes home, only a Christmas, for the various social functions. I would prefer to not join in. However, like all Christmas villains, despite my stubborn attempts to boycott the holiday every year, I get sucked in. Sitting out and counting my saved money doesn’t seem to be a socially acceptable option. Saturday night I hung out with LRB’s family and decorated a Christmas tree until I broke out into hives because I’m allergic to pine trees. Next weekend I will host a giant Christmas theme party for all my friends who come home from far away. I will attend at least three work related festive parties and drink gross cocktail concoctions made with eggnog. We will also (informally) host Tib’s** Eve as we do every year. Then we have the actual Christmas events, which usually involve a family dinner at my house Christmas Eve, Christmas morning at my sisters, Christmas dinner at CJ’s parents, and weather depending trips to visit the grandparents who happen to live on the opposite sides of this province. Despite a hectic schedule, CJ and I’ve always managed to balance everyone. Until this year.
This year my parents decided to take Christmas to another level and have rented an inn in Small Town, Nova Scotia where my grandmother/extended family lives and we will spend three days cramped (ok, cramped is excessive, it’s a 9 room inn with private bathrooms for each room) together in a town with an ill stocked liquor store… errr…. celebrating family togetherness. It’s a big deal and one that I agreed to last year when my parents asked, knowing I would forget and would agree to anything so far off in the future. Of course this means we won’t see CJ’s parents on Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day, or Boxing Day. Something I told him he needed to tell his mother a month ago but that he’s neglected to do… until last night.
Last night we had dinner with his parents. At some point, the conversation shifted to Christmas. CJ and I danced around it – he hadn’t told her yet and I did not want to be the one to do so. It’s not my job to tell her I’m stealing her son away to spend time with my family. She asks if we have our Christmas decorations up, I tell her we don’t. That since we don’t spend Christmas at our place we don’t see the point; she asks if my parents have put theirs up yet – I nudge CJ with my foot under the table. She smiles at me and expects an answer. I tell her no, that they aren’t putting them up this year since we are going away. I forcibly kick CJ under the table. He starts with a stutter:
“ Um, ah, yah, um, we’re going with Martina’s parents to spend Christmas in small town, Nova Scotia – they rented out an inn so everyone in the family can stay together but it’s for 24 hours if that, we leave Christmas morning, well, actually we leave Christmas Eve morning but then we’re back Christmas night, well, actually Boxing Day night, actually probably the morning of the 27th, it’s a really quick trip the entire family is getting together, her grandmother*** is threatening that it’s her last Christmas… so yah.”
I pipe in helpfully that we did spend all of Christmas with CJ’s family last year because we knew this plan was in the works. But in reality, we spent Christmas Eve and morning with my family but I’m not going to mention that now. At this point CJ’s mother looks heartbroken. Tells us that it sounds like it will be a fun time and in the same breath tells CJ it will be his first Christmas not celebrating it with them. She then changes the subject.
And there it is. The first Christmas we’ve had to make a choice between families… and we choose mine. This simple little act of her being hurt that we chose my family over hers is exactly why I’m not a fan of Christmas. Family obligation kills me – any other time of the year it’s no big deal if we go away with my parents. We can choose to spend a week at CJ’s family cabin and my parents say nothing. But at Christmas… hurt feelings and a sense of being less abounds.
*If you don’t get these references, you are dead to me. Or I need to sit you down and force you to watch several Christmas movies. Also, since I couldn’t fit it in anywhere else: fra-gee-lay.
**Tib’s Eve (pronounced Tip’s Eve which comes out as Tipsy) is a Newfoundland holiday our Newfoundland friend brought to our attention five years ago. Celebrated on December 23rd, traditionally the night is an anything goes night, in our world that means we liquor ourselves up for the upcoming forced time with family. One year my mother could still smell the tequila on me on Christmas Day.
***My grandmother is 74 and in fantastic health, but my flair for the dramatic? I came by it honestly.