This is why we can't have anything nice.

To Whom it May Concern:

The holiday season is not my favorite time of year. Mostly, I try to maintain a cheerful facade throughout November and December, never indicating to my loved ones that I'd rather string myself up from the mistletoe and take that long dirt nap I've been yearning for since I was eleven or twelve years old than live through one more round of ThanksmasEve.

No, that isn't true. Actually, I bitch about the holiday season in a very vocal manner, pretty much daily from October onward. I mostly look like this:

After Thanksgiving this year, however, I dutifully ordered James to bring the boxes of Christmas decorations up from the basement so that we could start the obligatory pretending to share the goodwill towards our fellow (wo)man that is required of us so that we don't psychologically damage the child too much.

In other words, we were going to put up the Christmas tree, no matter how much it pained me us. Upon opening the box that contains the tree, and hauling its three sections out, putting the middle one incorrectly in the stand, then swearing and lugging it back out and replacing it with the bottom section...I began to notice strange bits of fuzz falling from the branches. Fuzzy pink and yellow globs of...? And, wait...this strand of lights is all frayed and separated, like... Slowly, the pieces of the picture came together and I realized that during all those months I'd been happily not celebrating Christmas, mice had infiltrated the cardboard Christmas tree box, had constructed a nest made of bits of insulation in the fake branches of the tree, and had proceeded to nibble their way through various sections of the wiring on the lights. Lovely.
I was ready to cancel Christmas right then and there, but James, sweet James, with his scrappy, make-do disposition, his creative diy ethos, was sure that the tree could be salvaged. All we needed to do was remove the chewed up strands of lights and string new lights on the tree, clean up the wadded insulation, and voila!, we'd once again have a perfectly serviceable Christmas tree. My corporeal body suffused and glowing with the true spirit of Christmas, I said, "Fine. You do it."

After days went by with James snipping and pulling away at strands of lights and Eliot wandering around the house lamenting, "We're NEVER going to finish our tree. Why did the mice have to eat our tree? We're never going to have a tree!" James finally broke down and requested my assistance with the tree. Satisfied that he had been duly punished for his wayward optimism, I grabbed a pair of scissors and went to work snipping apart the strands of lights that were ziptied to the branches AND twisted around them AND held on with small plastic clips. Let me just warn you right now: Do Not attempt to detach the strands of lights from an artificial, pre-lit Christmas tree. Do not. It is NOT worth it. I am here to tell you. Not. Worth. It.

Just set that fucker by the side of the road next to the trash bin and explain to your family the cold, hard truth: Baby Jesus didn't want us to have a Christmas tree this year because it has come to his attention that we are a bunch of godless pagans.

By the time we finished stripping the tree of its lights, my fingers were sore, I was having sneezing attacks from the dust/insulation/mouse debris, and there were at least three pounds worth of artificial pine needles heaped upon the carpet under our now Charlie Brown-ass looking tree.

Tomorrow, we'll put new strings of lights on the sad thing, festoon it with ornaments like my beloved gold, spray-painted macaroni mitten, the empty toilet paper tube with glitter on it that I made when I was six, and the Christmas tree made exclusively from lined notebook paper and Scotch tape, and we'll call it good. We are going to leave this goddamn tree up until after New Year's and we are going to enjoy the motherloving hell out of it. Like a FAMILY.

Merry effing Christmas, everyone.