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And a Monkey in a Pear Tree

If you are reading this now, on Christmas Eve day, I imagine it is for the following reasons: 1. You have the day off, maybe not from your kids but from your otherwise paid and civilized work, and are indulging in a little “mommy” time 2. You are procrastinating making Aunt Jean’s Holiday Bundt Cake you promised to contribute back in August, or 3. You’re a die-hard fan and wouldn’t miss this entry even if it means Santa has to wrap his gifts in newspaper this year after enjoying a Christmas dinner of Papa Chang’s Chinese Bistro kung pao.

Whatever your reason, welcome. I’m thrilled that anyone would spend part of his or her holiday alone with a solitary computer screen.  I guess that’s what we Texans do in the absence of snow.

Well, we watch movies too. In an attempt to start yet another new tradition in our household, Gordon invited all of MY family over for a little hot-chocolate-and-movie night last night. Sweet. It was, really. The idea was to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas first as a sort of warm-up and then launch into the ever-popular classic Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase.

In the spirit of things, we let Drew stay up for Charlie Brown, which proved to be a mistake. He was like a drug addict high on the opium of having almost everybody he loves and who loves him in the same room, and was flitting from one person to the next like a nuclear-powered pinball. When he wasn’t climbing on top of somebody like an orangutan, he would get off by himself and fling his little body from side to side and then collapse on the floor in utter strung-out bliss. Needless to say, it was all a bit distracting.


Gordon finally gave Drew the ultimatum of either watching the movie or going to bed. And when Drew just couldn’t make his little body comply, he was scooped up and whisked away amid screams of disappointment. We all got over it, though. Soon all was quiet and the movie was playing and soon both my mom AND my dad were snoring.

I guess 8 p.m. is just too late to start a movie. *

On a side note, can I please ask WHY so many of my Christmas movie favorites haven’t been airing on prime time this week? I mean, maybe they will by tonight or tomorrow, but it seems to me that in the past, It’s A Wonderful Life would begin airing the week after Thanksgiving. It’s a sad day in TV programming, people.

On a side-side-side note, have you ever noticed that at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie’s sad little stick tree suddenly develops loads of new pine foliage after the kids decorate it using the lights and ornaments from Snoopie’s house? And have you ever noticed that every Peanuts character’s profile does not include their mouth? One line for an eyebrow, a clumsy nose, and then no mouth, unless they’re smiling. (My sister Liz pointed that one out. Thanks Liz.) It’s fun to see classics through new eyes.

At the end of the night, Charlie got his Merry Christmas, Chevy got his Christmas bonus plus 20%, and my family and I had eaten all the popcorn, eggnog and cookies within a five-mile radius. But the best part of the evening for me, contrary to popular belief, was not the mass consuming of calories. The best part of the evening was watching other kids and families do Christmas (granted, they are cartoons and actors) in their own way, and experiencing the simultaneous pleasure of realizing how happy I am to be doing Christmas in my own particular family and in our own particular way. And how I wouldn’t trade places with anybody else. It’s a wonderful thing to realize you truly do have a Wonderful Life. Even if your kid is a hyperactive orangutan.

Merry Christmas, everybody. Now go make that bundt cake.

*In their defense, my dad just had major cancer surgery last Monday and my mom has been fighting a cold. That doesn’t make it any less funny, though.