Carrie Maldonado – Writer

Freelance writer, wordsmith, and novelist

So, in the spirit of unrealistic expectations and consumer-driven manipulation, the Maldonado family is endeavoring on a sacred American/Canadian tradition today-fighting over Christmas decorations! (can I hear a woohoo from everyone under ten and a groan of commiseration from everyone else?)

I wanted to document as much as possible while still sane enough to be able to communicate (and yet insane enough to have hope that this will not be a complete nightmare.) But man, this is going to be a complete nightmare.

Now I am aware that not everyone in the whole world dreads and fears Christmas decorating. One dear friend whom I shall call “The Christmas Diva of all Divas” (and you know who you are…PEGGY) has her immaculate home decorated in tasteful but resplendent Christmas splendor every year well before Thanksgiving. Color-coded rooms, tables full of beautiful glass (probably crystal) …things…and elegance just dripping off of everything. Her junior runner up (Whom I will call MARQUEL) is very similar. I would hate them both but they are too perfect to hate, you can only love them and frankly they are so far out of my league that I couldn’t even aspire to envy even before I had kids.

Before I had kids or Tony I went through a bit of a dry spell when it came to Christmas (if by dry spell you mean, soaking in self-pity and misery that I was alone due to my own bad choices and bad behavior and determined to only look at what I didn’t have and not what I did.) Suffice it to say, I was miserable and lonely and didn’t put up nary a pine cone, let alone a Christmas tree. This is not completely my fault, mind you. My family of origin managed to create what I can only call a debacle of Christmas-tree’ing, due to a perfect storm of unreasonably high expectations, lack of patience, and those horrible fake broomstick trees where the color coding wears off before it’s even out of the box so no one knows where anything goes. Add to that the horrific ‘70’s disco ball tinsel stars and lights that never…, and even the thought of putting up a tree starts a slow, churning ball of anxiety in my gut and a vague feeling like I want to cry.

Then came Dreamy into my life and the Christmas lights came out again! The first Christmas together was a little rough (if by a little rough, you mean horrific) because it wasn’t planned. I was supposed to fly to Canada and he was going to spend it home. It was he and his kids’ second Christmas after his wife passed away. They say the second year after losing someone is the worst because you’re just numb the first year but feel everything the second. Well, my flight home was canceled. Not only was it cancelled, but the weather in Canada was SO bad that no flights were reconnected. So I was stranded with no place to go. Tony thoughtfully invited me home to his family Christmas for the weekend. Let’s just say awkward needs a whole new, much more negative,

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Last year…

word to describe that Christmas.

But after that, the joy really came back for me for Christmas. Slowly but surely, I replenished the Christmas decorations and began to really enjoy it. The family thing smoothed out and we all started making new special memories together, while keeping the old ones intact. My first Christmas with Grace in my tummy was maybe the best yet. And Grace’s first Christmas was a breeze. Looking back, she was such an easy baby in that she really had no desire to destroy anything.

And now. Even as I write this I hear the weeping and gnashing downstairs that only twin boys denied destruction can make. I want to be excited about this, I really do. Grace certainly is. I think she might be under the impression that as soon as the tree is up it IS Christmas. Tony and I have been seriously debating either hanging the tree from the ceiling or putting a fence around it. I keep envisioning someone pulling the whole thing down on someone else, climbing it, or just ripping my beautiful decorations down and smashing them on the ground. To add to the crazy awesomeness, our grandson will be joining the fun as well! He’s 3 months older than the boys (but much better behaved, so I’m only worried about him in the sense that a tree might fall on him). What an about face not even a decade can make…from silence to joyful pandemonium with very little transition, it seems!

I debated giving in to the destruction and buying a bunch of cheap plastic ornaments for this year but we frankly can’t afford that and besides, shouldn’t I be able to control my kids? I keep hoping the wonder of Christmas will infect their destructive little hearts and they’ll leave it alone, but that seems like I’m just carrying on the tradition of crazy high expectations.

So those of you out there who pray, say a little prayer for me. Those who just think good thoughts, I’ll take those too. I will send pictures of the aftermath…if possible. And just because I can say it…Merry Christmas!!

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