Deep Breaths and Eggnog

‘Tis the season to be jolly…

And busy, and excited, and extra stressed-out. I mean that in a good way.

This year our house will be full to the brim on Christmas day! We’ll have a record number — 14, maybe 15 — for Christmas dinner. Besides the usual wonderful suspects, we’ll be hosting Julia’s boyfriend Matt and my sister’s family. Quite the Southern contingency (Kentucky, Tennessee and South Carolina) will be heading out West… which makes me feel like I need to go out and buy a how-to-do-Southern-Hospitality book. ‘Cuz I’m California born and bred, and I have no idea how to “do” Southern. And I want all my guests to feel at home here.

So I’m decking my halls. The lights are hung. The tree is up. Ever-so slowly but oh-so surely…

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

I get amped up every year about this time. But this year in particular, obviously, the ampage has been increased ten-fold. I’m filled with anxiety and anticipation, and bound and determined to have everything just so. (Whatever that means.) I’m being accosted with self-doubt about even the smallest of decisions. I’m burdened by a cadre of questions and concerns.

Should I swag or of just lay the cedar garland on the mantle? Should we serve Cabernet or Merlot with Chuck’s beef tenderloin? And should I buy all my libations at Total Wine or Bevmo? How far in advance should I make the traditional Christmas morning casserole? Will Mom/Grandma be up for making her signature chocolate chip cookies this year? She has to be! #1: they’re the best; #2: we have to leave some for Santa on Christmas Eve (along with baby carrots for his reindeer). What should we give as a family gift to the Perrys? Should I hang the fresh, beautiful Williams-Sonoma kissing ball Julia sent me in the usual place in the entry hall, or try a new, unsuspecting locale?


And answer me this: When will I have the time to do all my wrapping? Yikes!



I’m also riddled with guilt. Guilt is an ugly, powerful, unhealthy thing, I’ve come to realize. I mean, I don’t feel good about myself that I’ve resorted to Shutterfly signing each and every one of the 125 Christmas cards we sent out this year. How personal is that?

And I kind of loathe myself for fretting so, so much over when I’m going to get my so-long-they-could-be-braided eyebrows waxed, and worrying about what to wear to the two parties we’ll be attending next Saturday night. Am I that superficial? (Don’t answer that.) And then I “self-medicate” by telling myself that, hey, even the Three Wise Men got all decked out and fancy for Jesus’ birth. You can’t tell me they weren’t fraught with anguish and worry as to what to what to wear, and how they looked, and the gifts they gave.

The $$$$ thing. Of course I’m spending more than I should. Do I pay with my debit card now and feel a sharp twinge of pain…or put it on my Visa and feel excruciating pain come February 7th when I check the mail? Whattttever…

And yes, indeed, I do feel guilty about every extra rich, spicy, cheesey, salty, creamy, garlicky, fattening, fried, sugary, chocolatey, gooey, coconut-y, caramel-y, peanut buttery thing I’ve been devouring.

Take a deep breath. Deeeeep Breatthhhh. Inhale…Exhale…

Here’s the real elephant in the room: What will the family dynamics be??!! Will Mare, Chuck’s sister, and Kassandra, my darling niece, pull my husband aside at dinner’s end and whisper, “I feel for ya, bro’. No wonder you don’t go to Memphis anymore”?

Will I drive everyone crazy obsessing over the smoked salmon: is it too oily? Too smelly? Will I alienate Cassidy forever, begging her to wear anything but her old worn-out Victoria’s Secret sweats, at least for Christmas dinner?

And the brothers-in-law! Ohhhhhmigosh! My abode is not large enough to house these two radically different, diametrically opposed, BIG personalities. Oh, dear.

Will newlywed Ben seek an annulment from my niece Jessica — on the grounds that it wasn’t divulged prenuptially that her California relatives are whack jobs? Will Matt fly out of Sac Metro December 26 never to return, never to darken Julia’s Lexington doorstep ever again?

Because as much as Chuck and I try to look like the latest and greatest Cialis commercial, nine times out of nine, we fail, abysmally.

So what do you think? Should I make reservations for January for us all at the Relationship Rehabilitation unit at the Betty Ford Clinic in Palm Springs? (Don’t answer that, either.)

Deep Breaths. In…Out…

So yeah, success or failure, oily salmon or not, Lexus or not (uh…not!) this will be a December to Remember.

And I will remind myself to cherish each moment, as I attempt to echo my childhood holiday memories: Enjoying the candle-light Christmas Eve church service; treasuring each and every person that visits our home; giving thanks; and celebrating Jesus, the reason for the season!

Why yes, I’ll have another large spiked eggnog, please.











5 Responses to Deep Breaths and Eggnog
  1. Julia Myers
    December 9, 2012 | 6:11 pm

    FUNNY! my fav, to date…. But i really hope you’re not really this worried, child. ps. the kissing ball looks fabby. LOVE YOU.

  2. Claudia
    December 9, 2012 | 6:27 pm

    you hit the nail on the head…

  3. Wavy Davy
    December 9, 2012 | 8:18 pm

    Love it
    Drink enough then tell yourself: It is what it is. Love me or hate me, this is what you get. DEAL WITH IT.
    You make me laugh, I always look forward to your blog…
    Love you

  4. Krista
    December 10, 2012 | 11:03 am

    Very cute and OH SO FUNNY…..!!

  5. Dorothy
    December 13, 2012 | 7:13 am

    Great , Jodie. ! you covered everything very nicely! Like MERLE Sings…… If we make it through DECEMBER , we’ll be fine! xxxoo

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It's true! Despite playing defense virtually all my life against the onslaught of this sometimes-ugly aging process, it...has...arrived! I naively thought I would escape cellulite (the Cottage Cheese) and crow's feet (the Crepe Paper). But I didn't! And why didn't anyone tell me about this emotional roller-coaster that comes with being an Empty-Nester?! My name is Jodie Barringer Myers. I'm a 54-year-old Friday/chardonnay/ hydrangea-loving wife/mom/court reporter living in Sacramento (Gold River!), California. Writing is cathartic for me. And because I look to find humor and humility among the rubble that is my now very peri-menopausal self, I'm hopeful that you will laugh, cry, learn, enjoy and, most of all, relate to what I have to say. After all, we're all in this together, right?

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