This weekend I drove my Mazda over the river and through the woods to my parents house for some pre-Christmas activities.
Before I went, I asked my mother if she had gotten her fix of her Manheim Steamroller and Preacher's Wife Christmas CDs. Indeed, she had.
"But I got a new Christmas CD," she bubbled. "Gloria Estefan!"
"Well, why don't you get your fix of that, too, before I come home."
Unfortunately, my brother had not gotten his fix of heinous Christmas movies before he arrived. He popped in a VHS of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Nothing fails to amuse me less than movies like this. I find no redeeming value in it, other than the origin of the phrase "it's a tit bit nipply." It's not that I enjoy exclusively high brow entertainment; indeed, I am an ardent fan of Jackass.
I escaped the loathesome cheesiness of Christmas Vacation by baking cookies with my mother. I helped by picking dog hairs out of the cookie dough and drawing dreidels on the cut-out Santas.
That night—after my mother nearly tore me a new one for forgetting the $1.50 off coupon for our Chinese food—we decorated the tree my brother and father felled that morning. Tradition trumps sustainability for our family on this one. I admit, the spruce scent jollies up the mood. It's not quite the same when your annual Christmas tree routine involves vacuuming the tree. That's what I did to my feeble tree Sunday at my house. It looks good if you squint at it, and, hey, most people will be gazing at it through beer goggles anyway. (Because we're having a New Year's party—not because I liquor up every visitor to the house.)