Opinion: A Clean House Does Not a Merry Christmas Make
Christmas stinks when you're a grownup. All you want is for your family to have a wonderful holiday, even if it kills you -- and it just might.
Shopping, cooking, traveling, trying to get ahead at the office so you aren't slammed when you get back on Jan. 3 ... it's enough to turn even the most tender-hearted parent into a great big holiday Grinch.
The very last thing you want to worry about is whether or not there's dust under your sofa.
But the fine people at Molly Maid are suggesting that the path to a stress-free holiday is exactly that: They recommend using the five days leading up to Dec. 25 to clean house -- literally.
They even have it all laid out for us. On Day One, tackle the porch, foyer and central closet. On Day Two, wipe down all the doorframes. On Day Three, replace your shower liner.
Replace the shower liner? Really?
It's certain that the folks from Molly Maid are experts. After all, they are part of a national cleaning franchise, so when it comes to scrubbing the baseboards and cleaning the bathroom sink, they know what they're talking about.
But suggesting that the path to a Zen holiday is to dust your ceiling fan and organize the clutter?
We think not.
You know what would be less stressful than getting ready for the holidays? Five days in Bermuda, that's what. Cocktails on sparkling beaches served by attractive young waitstaff, followed up by a full night's sleep in a king-sized hotel bed, with no one to wake you up and ask you when Santa is coming. Is he here yet? Is he?
WELL, IS HE?
Or how about five days in a mountain cabin with no TV reception, no Internet access, and no deadlines. And no in-laws.
Wait, wait -- we've got it! Schedule a visit to the gynecologist every day starting on Dec. 20, and close out the week with a mammogram. Even staring down a speculum for five straight days would be less taxing than getting ready for Christmas.
Or go shopping for a swimsuit and jeans for five days straight. How about doing that juice cleanse you've been thinking about? You could just lock yourself in a closet with a bottle of gin and come out on Jan. 2.
You get the idea.
Look, the holidays can be hell. They can be crazy, stressful, brimming with unspoken family tensions and a real killer on the credit card. Suggesting that parents -- or, really, moms, because let's be frank, suggestions for cleaning up the joint are probably aimed at the woman of the house -- spend even more time freaking out about having a perfect holiday is just a plain old bad idea.
The best we can hope for is that we make it through to Dec. 25 with our holiday spirit somewhat intact, and that even if that day is less than perfect, we get to see that special light in our kids' eyes that happens but once a year. Because for them, no matter how stressed out we might be, Christmas is still magic.
So go ahead and worry about what Uncle Frank is going to say at Christmas dinner. Go ahead and worry about how you're going to bake all those cookies. Go ahead and worry about whether or not your flight home for the holidays will be delayed by snow and ice. But do not worry about the dried peas under your kitchen table.
Isn't that what New Year's resolutions are for, anyways?
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.