Members Area
Countdown to Christmas --
Visit My Merry Christmas on Facebook!   Visit My Merry Christmas on Twitter!   Get My Merry Christmas on RSS
Navigation » Merry Forums of My Merry Christmas > Christmas Library > What's Popular » Christmas Stress: A Man's Perspective

My Merry Christmas Announcement

Home Submit Article New in the Library What's Popular Search

» What's New
santahat Remember when Black...
by MMC Editor
11-12-2013 12:55 AM
Last post by holidaycraze12
05-24-2014 11:22 PM
26,746 Views  5 Posts
santahat The Real History of the...
by MMC Editor
10-24-2013 12:44 PM
23,535 Views  0 Posts
santahat The Mistletoe Bough...
by MMC Editor
10-17-2013 06:19 AM
Last post by Virginia
10-30-2013 03:04 AM
2 Posts
Christmas Tree A Christmas Tree for Cats
by MMC Editor
10-11-2013 08:21 AM
40,088 Views  0 Posts
Christmas Tree The Birds' Christmas...
by MMC Editor
10-11-2013 06:59 AM
Last post by Virginia
10-30-2013 03:12 AM
40,205 Views  1 Posts
» Random Entries
Charlie Brown's...
by MMC Editor
06-09-2011 08:58 PM
56,731 Views  0 Posts
A Christmas When Life...
by MMC Editor
05-31-2002 09:23 PM
45,097 Views  0 Posts
santahat Santa Speaks 2011
by made582
10-09-2011 10:40 PM
Last post by monical
04-19-2013 03:25 AM
2 Posts
Clement Clarke Moore:...
by MMC Editor
05-30-2002 02:58 PM
Last post by Jeff Westover
12-19-2011 11:09 AM
62,583 Views  2 Posts
Kings of Extravagance
by MMC Editor
06-29-2002 08:08 PM
40,353 Views  0 Posts
Christmas Stress: A Man's Perspective
Report to Moderator Old 12-18-2012 08:45 PM
MMC Editor
Views: 34,859
Replies: 0
By Jeff Westover

I take nothing away from the women in my life when it comes to the holidays. From coordinating all the family activities to preparing food, parties and gifts there is little that doesn’t get done by them and left untouched by me. But men too have plenty to stress over at Christmastime.

I go back to that first Christmas Eve as an example of what men can have to handle. Consider Joseph’s plight: they were spending Christmas on the road, unable to find a place to stay and Mary was great with child. Consider the stress when she told him, “It’s time.”

Then, after all the shepherds had visited and the angels had delivered their glad tidings there was still that tax bill to pay. Hardly glamorous and certainly a footnote at best in history but a job that had to be done nonetheless. I’m fairly certain that task fell to Joseph.

All of my Christmas Eve experiences pale in comparison, of course. But then again Joseph didn’t deal with the modern Christmas. He didn’t have cell phones, a tool box with all the tools except the ones he really needs and assembly instructions in Chinese (assuming, of course, he would actually read such instructions before pulling everything out of the box).

My job is often simplified to narrow categories such as freight hauler, tinkerer and errand boy (these are year round labels too, come to think of it). On an everyday basis it is as dull as cardboard. But when you are dealing with your kids’ visions of sugarplums and your wife’s commitment to holiday excellence and it all has to be done in the dead of night on Christmas Eve it can all be quite stressful.

Of course, as husbands and fathers we want to provide all we can for these all important holidays. I’ve been to the grocery store on the afternoon of the day before Thanksgiving. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is. We do these kinds of things on holidays.

But Christmas Eve is when we really shine. A few years back my then ten-year-old son wanted a drum set for Christmas. You don’t consider what an ongoing monster you are creating at the time. All you can see is that look on his face on Christmas morning. Such a gift was way out of our reach financially but as luck would have it a neighbor who just happened to be a musician was disposing of an old set of drums he didn’t need any more, one that he declared would be perfect for the learning beginner.

One of the critical skills a man has to have is the ability to hide or disguise Christmas surprises (unheralded, as most man skills are). As luck would have it I had a travel trailer sitting on my driveway and I possessed the only keys.

Over the years it safely hid lots of bikes, dollhouses and sleds. It would hold the drums fine.

Christmas Eve was bitter cold, coming on the heels from a heavy snow storm just days before. I had shoveled the driveway around the cars (another man-skill) but had failed to clear around the trailer (more male thinking).

After pumping the kids full of Benadryl in an effort to quell their Christmas excitement things finally settled down after midnight. In the dead cold of a moonless night I made my shoe-less way out to the trailer to begin assisting Santa in his duties. The trailer had been filled with Christmas surprises large and small. All were successfully hauled in except for the big one – the drums.

I had been using the small side door on the trailer. Most stuff I was bringing in was small. But some parts of the drum set were a tight fit through the door.

It was cold, I was barefoot and it was dark. Being a multi-tasker I was handling more than one item at a time. Specifically, my left arm cradled a drum against my hip while my right hand grasped a tripod with the cymbals on it (you can see where this is going). I was dancing around just a bit because my feet were cold and, of course, I was not wearing a coat of any kind, thinking the Christmas spirit alone would warm me. As I navigated through the doorway I tripped on something really cold and metallic and felt the drum start to get away from me.

I lunged after it. But it was just big enough that it fell from my hip, nicked the door jam and rolled out into the snow and down the driveway. I might have said a bad word or at a minimum let out some sort of yuletide yell. That was when I noticed the neighbor’s light going on. However, in that split second, I had bigger things to worry about.

You see, I had failed to pull out the metal stair steps leading up to the trailer door. My lunge after the drum led to my discovery that my body had nowhere to go but down. Way down. I fell out the door and into the snow, the tripod of cymbals coming after me and crashing to the driveway with a clatter that had to be have been heard blocks away. That was when I heard the neighbor laugh.

Within seconds she was out in her bathrobe and slippered feet, holding the drum that had rolled out to the street – a little scratched but otherwise no worse for the wear. I didn’t even have time to say “Merry Christmas!” to her because my cell phone was ringing. Still on the ground in the snow I reached in my pocket and took a call from my wife. “Are you okay? I heard a noise.”

Christmas morning came off otherwise without a hitch. The kids barely noticed the bandage on my forehead from when the foot of the tripod caught me in its flight. I wore socks so my wife would not see the scrape on my big toe from falling out the trailer door. All that mattered was that I delivered on time and that the smiles were there Christmas morning. Granted, my son had to question why one drum was a little wet and there was blood in the snow by the trailer. But somehow these questions didn’t ruin Christmas and only made me laugh after the fact.

Looking back I consider the lessons of that Christmas moment. My son will have his own son to think about next Christmas. My advice to him will be simple and concise: don’t do drums.

As for Christmas this year the ghosts of Christmas past have, I feel, taught me well. The trailer is gone and all the hiding places are inside. Santa has already told me his plan and things are already wrapped, no assembly required. Even the Christmas tree these days is pre-lit. The stress of Christmas these days will come more from watching my kids learn their Christmas stress lessons. In my view, that’s a happy kind of stress, a burden I am all too glad to endure. After seven kids I feel I’ve earned it.

All the Wise Men had to have been grandfathers. That is what made them wise.
This article is copyrighted. Use of this article in part or whole is strictly prohibited. For reprint, quotation, or excerpt use please contact Merry Network LLC.

Tags: None
Send to Friend

Rate Article:

Category Jump
» Featured
Top Ten Christmas Videos...
by Jeff Westover
12-16-2013 08:10 AM
15,094 Views  0 Posts
santahat Remember when Black...
by MMC Editor
11-12-2013 12:55 AM
Last post by holidaycraze12
05-24-2014 11:22 PM
26,746 Views  5 Posts
Annual Survey of...
by MMC Editor
09-16-2013 08:19 AM
Last post by icetene33
10-21-2013 04:04 PM
20,406 Views  2 Posts
Snowman2 Top Five Christmas Hoaxes
by MMC Editor
09-09-2013 02:14 PM
26,030 Views  0 Posts
stocking Santa Smoking: Why is...
by Jeff Westover
10-11-2012 08:10 AM
Last post by HollyJolly
09-02-2013 08:30 AM
44,107 Views  6 Posts
» Recent Comments
How does Santa get down the chminey?
How will he enter the house if someone don't have chimney or fireplace??
by RDxmas on 07-07-2014 09:56 AM
Remember when Black Friday was on Friday?
I get annoyed when sales for black Friday start on thanksgiving. It's called black Friday not black Thursday.
by holidaycraze12 on 05-24-2014 11:22 PM
Why There Really Is a Santa Claus
well stated !
by Christmasstar on 05-06-2014 06:19 AM
Hot Cocoa or Hot Chocolate: A Matter of Taste
It's hard to find good writing now a days. But you have done a great job with all these sharing hot Cocoa and hot Chocolate. That's interesting. Thanks for sharing.
by Riccardo Vasquez on 04-04-2014 01:38 AM
The Best of Christmas Sitcoms
My top favorite Christmas Sitcoms: All from M*A*S*H , Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley. Step By Step - I'll Be Home For Christmas
by Minta on 04-01-2014 10:33 AM
» Christmas Library Stats
Christmas Library Statistics Categories: 31, Articles: 352, Posts: 137, Total Views 18,981,387