Saturday, November 15, 2008
Join me and Declare your Independence!
Martha Stewart is not from this planet!
Well, she’s not. I don’t ever watch Martha Stewart’s TV show. I don’t ever read her magazine. I pretty much ignore her. I mean, why read an alien’s how-to book?
But this time of year, every year, I feel the need to buy her Christmas issue. Something in me, and it ain’t the Christmas Spirit, my friend, possesses me with this insane hope. This fantasy that this year, yes this year, I will transform my simple condo into a holiday spa, complete with Jesus Jingle Bells made from sea shells, ribbon and walnuts to a simple centerpiece made of twine, cranberries, candles, garland and a glue gun.
The fantasy is intricate. I see myself opening my front door greeting guests wearing the dress Rosemary Clooney wore in the final scene of "White Christmas". It is a floor length velvet red dress with white fur trimmings. I look spectacular and seasonal. My teeth are extra white just from the glow of Christmas joy, ready and waiting with a smile that brings good tidings to even the grumpiest of souls. Guests may enter glumly or stressed, but one moment in my Christmas kingdom brings sighs of relief and happiness.
The oohs and aahs begin.
“Oh, Robbie, how did you ever make that?”
“Is that your homemade plum pudding I smell?”
“How did you manage to cut down such a tall and perfectly symmetrical tree?”
The flattery pours forth soon after.
“Robbie, your decorations…well…they aren’t gaudy or too simplistic…they’re exquisite.”
“I have never smelled such a perfect blend of potpourri in my life.”
“Robbie, I need to get saved again right now. Just because of your home.”
Like a reoccurring nightmare, the same scene unfolds in my mind every year.
And every year, the reality is a just a teensy bit different.
I open the door wearing whatever will fit me after the Thanksgiving season. Usually a baggy sweater and pants with an elastic band.
My teeth are accented not by their brightness, but my ever present gap, a gift from dear old Mom. Guests who enter my home glum or stressed are encouraged with “Lighten up. You’re having free food.”
“Robbie, is there any room to put my coat down?”
“Have you tried Resolve Carpet Cleaner?”
“Can you make your dog stop humping my leg?”
And the comments follow:
“Robbie, I love the dollar store, too.”
“Your home makes me grateful to God for mine.”
“I think something is burning.”
Okay, maybe it’s not that bad. But it sure isn’t like the fantasy. So every January as I pack up the decorations and breathe in the peaceful air, sadness and a little depression gets mixed in.
I know why, too. It’s Martha. And all the other Marthas of the world who offer up 5 Ways to make your House smell like a Good Memory and 8 Simple Dessert Recipes and 7 Easy to do Christmas Crafts.
Maybe not for everyone. My sister Karen is an exception. Give her a bobby pin, some scrap cloth, a couple of pecans and some dried cherries and she comes up with a three-foot beautiful wreath everyone thinks was bought from Michaels. She is the MacGyver of crafts.
But not me. Give me the same materials and ask me to make something and I will brainstorm for five minutes and then run away screaming.
So, what to do?
This is the year, my friends. This is the year I claim my independence from that part of society that lies to me and tells me I must make my home a holiday retreat in order to enjoy celebrating my Saviour's birth. I am now independent of Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray, (30 minute meals? Yeah, if you have a sous chef in your refrigerator!) Good Housekeeping and all the rest of them that tells me I can do it.
To twist an Obama phrase, “No I Can’t!”
And I am fine with that! I think I can still say Happy Birthday to Jesus without firing up my own manger scene at a ceramic store. I can still give gifts that say I love you without learning to knit in two weeks or creating a fabulous scrapbook in a month (each night staying up until 3 a.m.) I can still entertain my friends and let them know they are special to me. In fact, my party plan this year does not involve homemade centerpieces and three course meals.
My plan? Enjoy the people I love and serve whatever is on sale at King Soopers!
Aaahhh…I feel good.
And may God bless us, everyone.