I am known throughout the family as the Christmas Nazi, going to extreme lengths to make Christmas perfect if it kills me and those around around me. Clenched teeth and an unreasonable idea of the perfect Christmas keep me wired until I fall exhausted into bed around 2 am Christmas morning only to wake up early and disappointed for not achieving what I deem is a minimum level of holiday joy.
If it only affected me, I think the family would just leave me to my own devices, but it doesn’t. I pull everyone into my Christmas
hell merriment. Jeff prefers death over my manic “What? You didn’t string the tree in blue cranberries? What do you mean blue cranberries don’t exist? It can’t be Christmas without blue cranberries. FIND ME BLUE CRANBERRIES!!!”
Sparky gets the worst of it, not having grown up in my family. He has had no idea how to handle any of it. He kinda sits there, shell-shocked, rocking back and forth and humming some made up tune, wondering what in the hell he did to deserve the last verbal attack. This year he learned a little from my brother and in my weak attempts to control things, shot back with a “… I’m ’bout to show you how my pimp hand is way strong.” And I would just laugh and let it go, whatever it had been the moment before.
Jeff introduced the Kraut to hip-hop and if I have to hear him talk about riding through the ‘hood listening to Dre Dog one more time… Sparky did actually drive through the ‘hood listening to Dre Dog late at night, but it does not give him the street cred to start quoting Snoop or Ike Turner.
Well, this year, I just didn’t have the Nazi in me. It had been a really tough year. Tough in ways I can’t write about. Tough in ways that rocked my world and shattered many of my dreams. I flew out of here in November, almost broken and in desperate need of my friends and family and Nordstrom’s customer service.
This year I totally dropped the Christmas ball. I didn’t go overboard on gifts. I didn’t knock myself out looking and purchasing the perfect stocking stuffers. I left the socks to my more than capable sister, taking care of her and her only. I bought and wrapped all the presents early and forgot about them. Then I focused on shoe shopping, bar-hopping and day trips to SF.
I didn’t fill out my Christmas spreadsheet. I didn’t follow my long established Christmas schedule. I didn’t keep track of every dollar and I was just fine with that. I actually forgot things, like list making and over-analyzing.
I think we put about 10 ornaments on the tree and Sparky got to put up the star. The star is a very big deal in our house. And there wasn’t even a fight this year as to whose year it is.
I drank wine all night and went outside for
cigarettes talks with my brother.
And you know what? Christmas still happened. It wasn’t perfect, but it was great. I controlled nothing except the wine opener and nothing fell apart.
At one point, with my wine glass full and eyes a little glassy and a smile on my lips, Jeff looked over at me and started laughing.
“The torch has been passed. You look just like a Weinsheimer.” Weinsheimer being my mother’s maiden name and I guess it was the ever present glass of wine that Weinsheimer girls hold with poise and grace at all times that gave away my until now latent membership. It could have also been the carelessness, mirth and I-just-don’t-give-a-shit attitude that usually only hits Weinsheimer women when they’re in their cups.
Now that I’m older, I see how I have continued the familial legacy of all encompassing control and the need for that control in the whirlwind chaos that is life and the overwhelming desire to let it all fly away because damnit, its hard to hold on to everything. It is so tiring and fruitless. I also see how a glass or bottle of wine allowed those women to let go. I’m working on finding another way, but this Christmas, a good Chianti did the job.
Hell. No wonder they’re so much fun.
I’m not sure about everyone else, but I enjoyed this Christmas far more than ever before.