It’s the Christmas season and you know me, holly in my heart (Cary Grant in An Affair to Remember)
The following are directed at me every year over the holiday season. I would like answer concerns and questions about being a girl named Holly born four days after Christmas so that I never, ever have to answer them again.
1. “You name is Holly? Wow. You must, like, really love Christmas.”
Oh, I do. I love Christmas, and so much more than people named, like, Beverly. How can you love Christmas when you’re named Beverly? Also, I love Christmas so much more than people NOT born in December. How can you love Christmas when you were born in July? Preposterous.
2. “You were born at Christmastime? Did you, like, get cheated out of gifts?”
Not when I was younger. My mother always made my birthday very special.
However, things are different now, and yeah, I totally get gypped come my birthday. It’s an awkward time of year to have a birthday. It’s not like you can compete with, well, you know. And the one time I crossed my arms and complained that I wasn’t getting enough attention, people thought I was being “selfish” and “sacreligious.” (Wasn’t Jesus actually born in June?) So I don’t complain anymore- I just weep silently in my bed. Birthdays are for kids, not adults, anyway. And I don’t need anything. I want a lot of stuff, but I don’t need anything. So, don’t worry about me and the presents I’ve been swindled out of. I’m okay.
My Husband Sexually Harassed Me Under the Mistletoe
Today, the Christmas season is a shell of its It’s a Wonderful Life former self. Mr. Potter, despite what you saw on film, has not been defeated. Nativity scenes are out: singing the tune of "The Carol of the Bells" to sell bargain-priced designer-labeled clothes is in. Christmas caroling in the mall is a potential fire hazard, but Black Friday shopping has become a tradition in many families. Mistletoe is being banned from office parties so that corporate executives can still have “Santa Shots” (this is an actual drink) and not get stuck under the mistletoe while inebriated. Darn that mistletoe, inviting sexual harassment charges with its lascivious plant motives.
I was never kissed under the mistletoe until after I was married. Not that I didn’t want to be. I mean, how romantic is that, getting caught under the mistletoe with the object of your affection? I may have lingered by a sprig on an occasion or two, just to see if I could gain the experience of being kissed under the mistletoe, but alas… no one ever noticed.
One year, John and I were at a party where mistletoe was prominently hung from a doorway. I stood boldly underneath and called my husband over. Utterly clueless, he wanted to know what I wanted. Why had he been dragged away from playing Call of Duty? (Which is a wonderful wartime game that’s a staple at any traditional Christmas gathering, along with eggnog and candy canes.) Also, I think maybe he’d had a couple of Santa Shots.
I directed his attention to the mistletoe above us, and this is what happened: John sniggered, grabbed my butt, pulled me in close, and laid a noisy, lingering smooch on my mouth. He tasted like peppermint schnapps.
My husband sexually harassed me under the mistletoe.
And I loved it.
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
The twins have been happily practicing their preschool Christmas program songs. At home, they sing loudly and unabashedly, so I was surprised when their teacher informed me that during practice at school, Ella had repeatedly dissolved into tears, ran into her teacher’s arms, and had hid her head while shaking like a leaf. Ella, who is not a naturally quiet individual, has auditory sensory issues and is unnerved by resounding ambient sound. Being in large, cavernous places where echoes bounce and shrill voices carry brings my usually boisterous little girl to her knees. So on the day of her program, I made sure to get a spot right up close, so that if she began to withdraw, I could grab her and hold her.
Ella sashayed down the aisle in her Christmas gown, beaming at us, shaking her hand bells with enthusiasm. She came down first because she was the smallest and needed to be placed at the front of the group. Daniel stood a little ways behind her. The first song began, and Ella’s face went from joyful to terror-filled. She stared at me. I grinned at her. “Sing,” I mouthed.
The sanctuary was packed with moms and dads and grandparents and siblings, and the crowd absorbed the sound beautifully. No echo. No reverberating bells. Ella relaxed noticeably and stayed with her classmates. She didn’t open her mouth and sing during the first song, but she stayed there and stared, somewhat dazed, at the crowd.
By the last song, she was into it. The following is a video of her preschool class singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Ella got a little carried away. She was the only child who twirled during the program. (Which was no big deal considering two songs before, she jumped up and down and then sat for half the song.) Note her unique dance movies during the “singing” verse. Please ignore the constant wiping of her nose with her hand.
Daniel was incredibly proud of his tie. When I showed it to him he gasped.
“It’s a real tie?”
"Yes! A real tie!”
"Just like daddy’s?”
“Daddy would never wear a black vest over a red shirt,” John said. “We are not gangsters.” Daniel was too busy taking his tie out of his vest and putting it back in to listen to his father's weirdness.
Today’s song for Monday: We Wish You a Merry Christmas: