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'Twas the night before the night before Christmas...

This would never happen to Donna Reed or June Cleaver. The eve of Christmas Eve would never arrive to find them with piles of presents yet to be wrapped and dozens of decorations yet to be hung . . .

'Twas the eve of Christmas Eve and all through the house, children wrote wish lists and I was a grouse. The stockings were thrown at the chimney in haste, in hopes that St. Nicholas would hang them in place.

There were gifts to be wrapped and some still to be bought, wreaths to be hung, wise men to be sought. Light strands lay tangled in a mess on the rug, and I think I was coming down with a slight Christmas bug.

My eggnog still sat on the shelf at the store, and our turkey in the freezer still frozen to the core. The cheese ball stood naked of its coating of nuts, where finicky kids hacked them off with vigorous cuts.

I was sick of those elves, who hid, watching to see, who could behave worse, the children or me. At this point, I was off the list for life. It didn't matter if he checked it once, twice or thrice.

But if those tiny sprites would just lend a hand, instead of standing round spying for that little old man, I could wade through this muddle of Christmas confusion and dismantle my tantrums, resembling atomic fusion.

In came my husband, aggravated and quick, he dragged in the tree, dropping needles and sticks. The tree went up sideways, with bare trunk exposed. I said "That will not do." He replied "Stick it up your nose."

The Christmas cheer had begun, as I knew that it would, with me less than perfect and us all less than good. This year, I'd planned to be flawless and finished, making Christmas ideal. At this rate, my children will have to locate other families, with yuletide memories to steal.

Up the stairs I slunk, without turning around, mumbling to myself, without making a sound. Then, in the living room there arose such a clatter, I ran down the stairs to see what was the matter.

The cat climbed the tree, sending it down with a woosh. My husband used light strands to design a small noose. Our feline limberly landed in the nativity stall, scattering shepherds and hay as he fled down the hall.

My spouse, usually a quite jolly old elf, turned crimson with rage, and shook, in spite of himself. The next thing he did, using tinsel and wire, was secure the tree to the window. This left me inspired.

We could overcome this obstacle mount to the sky, and have the best Christmas yet, Hell, high water or die. I whistled to the children, lined them up in a row, and handed out scissors, tape, paper and bows.

I called to my honey, who heaved with a sigh, "Quick, grab my purse, Santa's visit is nigh!" With keys in his grip, he left in a flash, to purchase the final presents with the last Christmas cash.

So, I put on my kerchief and put on my cap, and settled myself down for a brief winter's nap. And what to my wandering mind should appear, but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

He sat in the driver's seat all dressed in red, and the fear of oversleeping made my heart fill with dread. But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight, "Don't worry Lucy, next year, you'll get it right!"

That's what he said last year.

Web posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2004

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