Quiet As A Louse. . . No. . . A Grouse? No. . .

Christmas Gifts Under The Tree

Welp, it’s too late to do anything about it now.

If you’ve left your Christmas shopping until today. . . until right now. . . Dudes, you’re already so far behind the eight-ball, the only think you can see is a giant field of white curving away into a dark, black sky. Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve — unless you’ve got something on hold or something you ordered and it just came in — is an act of such craven desperation it’s a wonder we even let you keep your Man Card.

I’m not going to get up on my soapbox here and start lecturing about the values of learning to plan ahead and then — and this is the tricky part — actually PLANNING AHEAD so you’re not in a desperate rush. I mean, if you haven’t learned this by now. . . Well, suffice to say, you will learn it. You most definitely will.

Nope. I’m not going to do that.

It’s just too easy. Besides, anyone in that much of a rush feeling that much pressure almost certainly won’t have the time nor the inclination to actually sit down and read this column. No matter how awesomely fantastic it is. And it is.

No, I’d like to talk to you stay-at-home dudes who aren’t in danger of panic attacks right now. I’m talking to those of you who are already done. Those of you who will be enjoying today for what it is: The greatest non-Halloween day of the year.sasha-christmas-paper.jpg

While I love Halloween for the whole releasing-the-id-to-play-in-the-real-world thing, there’s something about Christmas Eve that brings out the peaceful in me.

Of course, that’s the peace of exhaustion. Once the toys have been set out, the bicycles and playhouses assembled and all the last little pieces that must have just plain disappeared into the aether because there is no way that you could have been so careless as to dro– oh, there it is, under my knee. Never mind. Anyway.

Moving on.

It’s the peace following panic. It’s the peace of surrender. The peace of understanding that it’s too late to change anything now so you might as well relax and enjoy yourself.

That’s the peace I’m talking about. And It’s wonderful. In my house, the spawn and my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Assuaged With Many And Sundry Prettily Wrapped Presents, go to bed relatively early. One because she wants to do so, and three because they have no other choice.

Once the complaints and whispers have quieted, then — at last — it’s time for me to sit down in a comfortable chair and stretch my feet out in front of me and sigh without angst or anxiety.

Soon, the air will be clashing with screams and shouts and peals of laughter. And then the spawn will awaken and it will become even louder.

the-day-after-christmas.jpgI like to sit back and imagine the looks on their faces. To smile in anticipation of how much they will enjoy the gifts over which we have struggled long and hard, as we try to balance interest and expense and growth and pure mindless fun. Yes, I like to imagine all that. Because I sure as heck won’t get it Christmas morning.

Mostly because I’ll not be able to see through the blizzard of wrapping paper shreds floating gently down out of the air, except in four distinct areas of the room, which more closely resemble a mass attack of Tasmanian Devils intent on recycling a recycling center.

But for just then — even if only for the span of ten minutes — for just then, there is peace. And quiet. And a warm sense of anticipation.

Well, and one more thing. Just as I began to tidy myself for bed, I wondered if I was imagining things or if the Christmas tree really was beginning to sway side to side. And. . . Were those large feline eyes — large, very frightened feline eyes — peering out at me from deep inside the tree up near the top?

But that is a story more about pieces, rather than peace. For now, enjoy your day. Enjoy your time with your spawn and your spouse/partner/loved one/co-habitant and your animal companion of choice.

From me, Merry Christmas! To you, Happy Holidays! To all, good ni—

Wha-? It’s dawn? Already? What are you? Kidding me? No! They can’t be up! Not yet! Not yeeeettttttt!