Because I'm not my wife, I don't have any baking to do. I don't have to send out fifty Christmas cards. More importantly, I essentially only have two people to buy presents for...my name draw and my wife. Also, because I am not a woman, I am not plagued with guilt, which allows me to live my life without the burden of outsized expectations. Additionally, as a man, I am generally free of worry. The only thing I actually worry about, if it can even be called worry, is what I'm going to have for lunch. Do I go lite with some soup and salad at Big Al's or do I throw caution to the wind and get the Montezuma's revenge burrito grande at Chuy's?
Herein lies the essential difference between men and women. If it were up to us men, Christmas would be very different. First of all, the decorations wouldn't go up until, I don't know...the week before? As far as shopping goes, we would make a competition out of it. The wife and I would both be given a couple thousand bucks and turned loose at the mall at the crack of dawn on Christmas Eve morning. Whoever gets finished first gets to go to Florida for Spring Training!
Discerning readers might wonder whether it would kill me to actually help with the Christmas baking. I have zero baking skills. Why don't I volunteer to be in charge of the Christmas cards? Have you actually seen my handwriting? But even if I were suddenly transformed into the male version of Martha Stewart, Pam wouldn't let me within an inch of any of the really important Christmas stuff. It's just too important to be left to anyone else besides her. The establishment of and continual survival of tradition is an entirely feminine project, at least in my house. A few years back I offered the off hand suggestion that we should scrap all the presents and go on a family cruise instead. You would have thought I had grown two heads, the looks I got!
Is all the agonizing attention to detail, the gut-wrenching anxiety and late nights worth it? Well, in the days leading up to Christmas the answer is an unequivocal "NO!!" But when the big day arrives, everything is breathtakingly beautiful, every detail perfect, and the family is laughing and happy, I'm thankful for Pam's mysterious gifts of hospitality.
Still, I control one aspect of the season. I still get to decide when I'm going to do my shopping. More often than not, I choose the last couple of days before Christmas. It's just more fun to get all geeked up, put on my Santa hat and hit the mall with all of the other procrastinating men in Short Pump. There's great comraderie. These last minute folks are my people.