Candles in the windows, wreaths on the doors and mailboxes stuffed with enough toy catalogs to sink a ship. Yes, my fellow harried parents, the holidays are upon us.
Let me start by saying this: I am a full-blown Christmas nerd. Over the years I have amassed more decorations and twinkle lights than the head window dresser at Macy's. I'll happily listen to nothing but Christmas music beginning the day after Thanksgiving (but not a moment earlier) and have a somewhat unnatural obsession with Yankee Candle's holiday collection. It takes a LOT to get my Grinch on.
But this year… I've been having a hard time getting into the spirit. That is, until Sunday night.
As anyone who follows this column knows, the Shumways have been busy lately. Between a new job in Boston for me, my husband Andy being crowned one of the winners of Dancing with the Dedham Stars last Saturday (please note shameless bragging here), all of the practicing/fundraising that went along with it and the day-to-day pandemonium of having three kids, we've had very little time to “get merry.” Add to that this weird September-like weather and let's just say that bringing Christmas to Chez Shumway hasn't been a priority.
My sisters and I had forgotten that we bought tickets to The Nutcracker, so I informed Georgia that she and I were going to have a special girls night in Boston. We were both exhausted from the night before and therefore Ho-Ho-Ho'ing could have been happily substituted with sl-sl-sleeping, but I had the tickets and figured we'd make the best of it.
We started out by having an argument over her outfit. She was adamant about wearing her sparkly T-shirt and yoga pants and while I must admit, I too would have been happy kicking off my heels and opting for comfort, I insisted that going to the ballet warranted a dress. After exhausted tears (not my own) and a very loud argument in the car, we met halfway and she agreed to a denim skirt, patent leather shoes and no tights.
'Tis the Season to compromise, I suppose.
She came around a little bit on the drive into town (a car ride with cousins is a wonderful cure-all) and by the time we walked through the door and marveled at the beauty of the Boston Opera House, we smiled and felt the spirit of the season. When the lights dimmed and the music started, I held her little hand as she leaned over and whispered:
“Is this fiction or non-fiction? I forget.”
Stifling laughter, I settled in for what I knew would be an evening full of questions. “When does the Christmas Tree get big?” “How does Drosselmeyer fly across the stage?” “Can I have more Junior Mint?”
I realized that when you're a kid, it doesn't matter if you're tired or busy or even if you haven't bought a Christmas tree yet. December is full of magic, so open your eyes wide and let the Holiday spirit take over. Sometimes all it takes is a little Tchaikovsky, some patent leather shoes a great story.
Fiction, of course.