Friends: Since there’s next-to-no chance I’ll send out Christmas cards this year, this will have to do. If you don’t see this before the 25th all the better, because I usually can’t muster the energy to find a box of Christmas cards, print address labels, write a letter that doesn’t sound bragging, smarmy, or maudlin, and then find stamps before New Year’s anyway.
I could do the usual holiday letter shtick and imply I’m just waiting for my Pulitzer to be delivered and that the dog is a NASA rocket scientist, but let’s just say that it’s been a respectable year for the Interrupted family. Succinctly: everyone who wants to have gainful employment has it. Everyone who wants to not be in jail, isn’t.
That’s not a letter, though; it’s a postcard. So let me share a Christmas miracle that happened just last week.
I was not filled with the Spirit of Christmas. I was filled with The Spirit of Overwhelmed.
Guests were coming the next day, and we concluded that we should decorate the house. Coats and vacuum cleaners and whatnots were pulled out of the closet so we could drag out all the ornament boxes, which resulted in boxes and coats and vacuum cleaners and whatnots all over the first floor.
Overwhelmed by work and personal obligations, I wanted to do anything but decorate the house, as long as “anything” meant curling up in the fetal position under my bed covers.
I’d been hit with The Classic Hostess’ Dilemma: too tired/overwhelmed/distressed to decorate, but too tired/overwhelmed/distressed to put all the boxes, coats, vacuum cleaners and whatnots back in the closet, but we had to do something because of the aforementioned company and even if I didn’t care about the mess, the aforementioned company needed a place to sit so they could dish about my lousy housekeeping.
This story could have ended with me staying up very late pathetically decorating and resentfully dragging all the empty boxes and coats and vacuum cleaners and whatnots back into the closet so we could do all this again next year and let’s have a Sullen Freaking Christmas.
But it didn’t end that way.
The youngest Interrupteds, sons aged 15 and 18, a demographic not usually known for their ability to tune into women’s moods, perceived the situation and heroically leaped into action.
They hung ornaments. They hung wreaths. They hung stockings. They looked around the house and said, “What could benefit from a string of Christmas lights?” and then hung those, too.
Then they turned to the nativity scene, a dignified crèche that’s been in the family for 30 years. What resulted was a depiction that, while not the Gospel according to Luke, will say “Spirit of Christmas” to me ever more.
A fourth magus, a clay character left over from a school project, stands with a sunglasses-wearing gator attending a baby Jesus, not by the light from the Star of Bethlehem, but from the “Star Trek” ornament blinking away on the top of the stable.
In a beautifully clean and dusted, whatnot-free living room.
Every year we give thanks for the birth of a baby. I am telling you, friends, that this year, more than any other year, I am giving thanks for the birth of two more.
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Elizabeth Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.