Thursday, November 6, 2014

So now that Halloween is over, clearly it's time for Christmas. I mean, Target sent me The Book, so it must be true. Never mind the life-sized mummy still standing in my garage, scaring the living hell out of me every morning (why does the battery on my phone die after 8 hours, but the sound effects on our Halloween decor apparently cannot be turned off?). It's November and if I don't hop aboard the Polar Express soon, I may get left behind.

This year, unlike the past 2 (maybe 3?) years, I'm definitely doing a Christmas card. I have to, or people will stop sending me theirs. I'll be dropped from lists, shunned - my children will live as outcasts, our only holiday mail will be the envelope soliciting cash from the mailman. So there's that to organize. No small challenge considering we haven't had family photos taken since ... well, we did them that one time. And they were pretty nice, but I don't think I could pull off reusing a photo from three years ago. People do expect kids to age and all.

Then there's all the festive baking I'll be doing. As God is my witness, our house will smell like sugar cookies or mulling cider (or whatever other scent the Yankee Candle Co is shilling this year) every day of the season. Maybe, as I did one holiday season, I'll stash some cookies in a jar, store them in a cupboard to keep the kids from eating them - and then forget about them. You know how they say moving is a great excuse for throwing away old stuff? It's also a great way to find really old food. Interesting fact: Christmas cookies do not grow mold. So if you're planning a "make your own penicillin" party, I suggest you serve something more degradable.

And of course, don't forget the presents. The Toys R Us catalog at our house has already seen its fair share of Sharpie, so the kids are on top of the list situation. And it would be so much fun if the gifts were actually things I understood. A stuffed animal or a car I get. Madden 2015, not so much. All I know is it costs $60 and if the dog eats it, I am going to be so pissed. Of course, then you take them to see Santa and they pull the old switcheroo on you. Or they won't tell what they said to Santa. Well played, St. Nick.

In the midst of all that chaos, you've got the Elf on the Shelf making trouble. Talk about brother against brother, that little snitch is like the Civil War of Christmas toys, making the kiddos squeal on each other like inmates at Joliet. Kid: "Mom, it wasn't me, my brother did it!" Me: "Hey, don't tell me. Take it up with the Elf." All I know is this year, that Elf better start producing some good behavior. Because the threat of his daily reports to Santa is supposed to keep everyone in line, but ours only seems to stir up trouble. Also, he's lazy. For an entire week last year, we found him on a giant poster of 1930s Chicago. Which was cool for a day. But a week? Have some pride, Elf.

But you know who's really gonna love the Elf? The dog. We did not have a dog last Christmas. So already I can imagine how things will be different this year. For instance, last Christmas, our tree remained standing and only some of our ornaments were broken (and at least the kids didn't eat them). Our dog is the kind that consumes everything, just because she can. They say dogs aren't supposed to have certain foods, but I've seen ours chow down on about fifty pencils. And a DVD.

Maybe I better get an extra Elf. And give him a message to take to Santa now, before all the holiday traffic.

Dear Santa,

Please watch out when you come down the chimney. In particular, I'd advise you steer clear of the chewed up wreath and partially digested stockings. If you slip on something wet, don't worry that you tracked in snow. Ten bucks says it's dog drool. I don't care what the Elf said, my kids aren't that bad so please don't give them coal. Oh, and if you haven't heard from the Elf in a few days, I apologize.

Because I'm pretty sure the dog ate him.