It’s the week before Christmas and I have the flu. I feel like one of those inflatable lawn ornaments looks during the daytime, listless and pathetic. Kristen suggested I better get to Urgent Care so they could prescribe Tamiflu and shorten the duration. I thought—does she NOT see how miserable I am? How could I possibly drive all the way to Urgent Care? What if they ask me to fill out forms?
But I went. The doctor said “you should stay away from people… until Friday… at least.” There was an Ebola-esque vibe to his instructions that at first was frightening and then oddly liberating. The week before Christmas usually entails the mother of all to-do lists. But somehow, there isn’t all that much to be done so I might enjoy this little sabbatical. Kristen came out of the Christmas gate strong this year. The Monday after Thanksgiving she email-bombed me with gift ideas and a week later we were pretty much done shopping. If Santa ever wanted to explore working from home, she could probably show him a thing or two.
We hosted Kristen’s work party on the 13th. Weeks out I feared that by volunteering our house we were adding extra stress to the most hectic of seasons. But everyone was very nice and interesting. I only heard the term “Masters degree” three times so it wasn’t too intimidating and the dessert spread was over the top. It’s sort of unfair that all these big brained Public Health types are also good at baking, right? A fortunate byproduct of the party was that since we worked ourselves silly in getting the house decorated and cleaned, we’re already in good shape for hosting dinner on the 25th.
So I’ve been spending my sick leave/freedom with the dog, intermittently sleeping and reading just about the entire internet. Did you hear there is a War on Christmas? I feel like I’m always the last to know! There is a debate over whether the Gingerbread Man ought to be so gender specific. And the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” has caused a big hullabaloo over whether it is appropriate for radio play. I guess I was just one flu short of being truly informed.
I have plenty of time for Christmas movies too. Kristen and I convinced the kids to watch “Love, Actually” figuring it would be something we could all enjoy. But we forgot some scenes weren’t so appropriate for kids, actually… Margo covered her eyes “JUST TELL ME when the naked people are gone, OK?” So we made a hard shift to the tried and true story arc of non-believers eventually coming around. Santa goes to jail, is busted out by a trusty assistant, Christmas spirit saves the day, yada yada.
Santa’s sleigh always soars across the city skyline in these movies but isn’t he skipping an awful lot of homes? It should look more like the Amazon delivery guy on my street, running packages up to one house, driving his truck 15 feet and then dashing to the next house. “The Santa Clause” is terrible, by the way. I can’t agree to watching that one ever again. The funniest part of the movie might be Judge Reinhold’s sweaters.
A decent, non-traditional Christmas movie is “Daddy’s Home 2.” Will Ferrell’s character gets fined $20,000 for chopping down a cell phone tower that he thought was a tree but no one went to jail. Come to think of it, Ferrell took more grief when he canvassed for Stacy Abrams! As usual, we watched Elf too which features the newly controversial “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and emphatic declarations of MERRY CHRISTMAS all over the place. Maybe Will is the hero we need to bring everyone together and peacefully end this War on Christmas once and for all! Or maybe it’s just the flu medicine talking?
Either way, Happy New Year all.
Tim Sullivan grew up in a large family in the Northeast and now lives with his small family in Oakhurst. He can be reached at email@example.com.