Merry Merry

I couldn’t avoid it.

I had to go. Gulp. To The Mall.

Dun, dun, duuuuuuuun (that was scary music, in case you couldn’t tell).

I had no choice — I’d overshot by two months my biannual cleaning and checkup for my wedding ring, which I have to do as part of a fairly useless warranty, so I had to suck it up.

At least I didn’t have any Christmas shopping to do. In theory, it would be a quick trip. 

I grabbed my original receipt — with its faded print and stapled to a comical number of additional papers from 27 years of checkups and so creased at the folds that pieces threatened to detach at any minute — and high-tailed it to Helzberg.

I handed over my paperwork and the saleswoman unfolded and unfolded and unfolded one last time. 

“Wow,” she said. “You’ve had this for a long time. Time for an upgrade.”

“Ha ha!”

No chance, not with a kid considering law school.

She plopped my ring in a sudsy bath and asked, “What’s on your wishlist?”

The question threw me off guard. You’re asking me? An adult?

I thought about how I have wish lists all over the internet for things like a ridiculously cool but also ridiculously overpriced leather button-down shirt and Nike Air Force 1 Shadows with a  fetching leopard swoosh and an ostrich feather skirt (hey, the heart wants what it wants) and how I’d been debating an if-I-won-the-lottery type item like a digital, mirrorless camera and I opened my mouth and blurted out a total Mrs. America contestant answer, “Nothing. I’m just happy all my kids will be home.”

And, I meant it. 

I thought about late nights of movie watching and playing Quiplash and cards and all of us squeezed at the base of our over-ornamented tree in our matching goofy holiday shirts on Christmas morning for our traditional selfie. Wanting anything other than that seemed … selfish and unsatisfying. And I’m not just saying that because my parents told me long ago I’m getting cash and so I pre-bought the Lululemon funnel-neck half-zip and cropped jacket I’ve been eyeing for months. Merry Kristenmas. 🙂

We’re long past the days of staying up into the wee hours of the morning, stuffing stockings and assembling extravagant but quickly broken toys like pop-a-shot games and jumping castles and ballpits only to be woken up before 5 a.m. These days, special Christmas breakfast is essentially lunch. It’s super low-key, but I savor it so much more. We’re all together. And that’s what counts.

Happy holidays to you and yours. 

There is no cool story behind why No. 3 is dressed in a chicken costume. I just thought it would be a funny pic, and I was right.

This Christmas gate — designed to block early intruders from snooping under the tree before parents were awake — was not especially popular with everyone.

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