It's true that the gleeful, crazed mother in me is chanting "It's almost Christmas" with the same fervour I used when I was six years old. Now, it means: "it's almost finished! Soon I will not have to prepare for Christmas! Hurray!"
When the tree falls down on Boxing Day, it will be a signal to take it down, not to spend hours engineering a way to keep it standing until Christmas (it's fallen twice. so far). When I run out of cookies next week, I will tell the teens to make some. Or buy Oreos. I will make no lists between Christmas and New Year's.
And still, it is almost Christmas. Sometime in the next three days, I will watch my boys, now grown up and tall, and see them glowing like the lights on the tree. I will listen to a wave of talk and laughter and know that my family is safely gathered. I will remember, through the confusion and bustle and chores that I am unreasonably lucky. That I am blessed.
What is born on Christmas Eve after all the struggles, the birth-pains of preparation, the frustration, the irritation? Let something be born on Christmas Eve. Something worth wondering at and protecting, something sublime and terrible and awe-inspiring. Something that binds you to the world you are in so tightly that it hurts a little. Something you will be thankful to remember - because you are glad you have had it in your life and because you are glad it does not happen every day.
And if you have not flooded the laundry room at the same time your slightly crooked Christmas tree is crashing to the ground, think of me. And laugh.