The Lovely Emily came over and we watched the new DVD I have of Heathers and then Picnic at Hanging Rock that I got last Christmas but never got around to watching (it's one of my favorite movies, so it's not like I hadn't seen it before). For some reason, though, I got really into Picnic this time and it was unusually spooky, and my neck tensed up and got all sore. The DVD is the "director's cut," and yet I can't figure out what was added (or taken away), even though I've seen the movie about twelve times. Hmm.
Meanwhile, Mom came down with the Death Flu. Weirdly, we've had three cases in the family now, each exactly a week apart. But hers was much more like Sister Girl's--violently ill but over with it after 24-48 hours, whereas mine lingered on for the better part of a week like a deadbeat tenant you just can't kick out. But Mom's pretty much over it and up and about now, which is (of course) good.
In fact, Mom has put up the little Christmas village, with the hollow houses you put the light bulbs in (I'll have to get a picture), all over the piano and the buffet. She's the queen of seasonal knick-knacks, and the fifty-seven nativities will probably make an appearance soon. She and George also went and bought the Christmas tree today--it's way early, but apparently they'll be too busy next weekend, and you have to go early if you want to get a tall tree. We always have a tree up early anyway--my birthday's on the 14th and Sister Girl's is the 17th, that knocks out at least one weekend, sometimes two, to get things done as it is. We won't decorate it until next weekend, though, so the branches will have plenty of time to fall out, a phrase which here means "lower themselves pleasingly from the tightly bound position they have been in, having been stacked in the back of some guy's truck," not "fall off entirely, which would make it the saddest looking tree ever."
I'm all about Christmas trees, by the way. I absolutely love Christmas, although I hate the same things about holidays that most holiday-haters hate (pints of pickled peppers?). But there's just something about the Christmas season--not the day itself, which is sort of anticlimactic--that's just totally magical to me. And not happy-sparkly magical. It's almost spooky. In fact, I think of Christmas every time I hear the main Harry Potter theme. I can't tell you how happy I was to have an hour to kill at the Galleria two Fridays ago after I got my hair cut, so I got myself an Oreo shiver and sat down to watch the carousel under the giant domed glass ceiling, and it was getting on 5 pm and dark and rainy, so the whole mall was thrown into this wonderful golden darkness. It's just this eerie Christmas atmosphere that I love. The Polar Express book captures a little of that: it's this eerie sense of stillness, like a portal opening in the night to a dimension where anything, in this window of time, could happen.
And that's why one of my favorite things about Christmas is finding that one thing that someone just desperately wants but can't have, or doesn't think he'll get, and making that happen. Can you imagine if my sister were about ten years younger--that'd make her eight years old--and she wasn't so internet savvy and didn't know about a site like Alivan's, and then I got her the willow wand? And wrapped it up and left it under the tree Christmas morning tagged "From Santa"? If I were a kid, that'd blow my mind. And this is why getting things for children is the most fun, because they're not afraid to tell you what they want, but they have very little way of getting hold of it and don't know the mundane ins-and-outs of power shopping--as opposed to, say, me, who might want something hard to get, but is at the same time the only person who can track it down anyway. I mean, it was great when I finally got hold of the Eowyn doll I wanted, but... I had to fight for it on eBay myself and then hand it over to my mother so she could put it under the tree. Whee...? But most of my younger relatives are in their teens and hard to surprise, so we don't get to play Santa much anymore. Hmm. Maybe I'll go cruise holiday_wishes and see if there's anything I can do.
(Speaking of which, I would do that Christmas list meme, but there's really only one thing I want that I know my family hasn't sucked off my wish list in a desperate bid to allot a Christmas and a birthday present to me from each member, and I'm currently trying to get it, and if you see me around on eBay, on this one auction, don't you DARE outbid me, because I have a fixed amount I'm willing to spend on this thing and after that it's just out of my reach. I mean, yes, I have an Amazon list, but I'm a glutton for books
Anyway: I like Christmas. Christmas is good. But then, I have a relatively small family, all living very near and on good terms, so Christmas never involves any traveling or drama for me. I'm very lucky that way, I know. If it makes you feel any better, we usually have plenty of birthday drama to make up for it.
P.S. I forgot to mention that Vladimir is going to get to translate the Lemony Snicket books. YAY!