The Holiday Barometer: A Guide for the Discerning Adult

As a parent of small children, sometimes the days just run together and the calendar eludes me. I never know what day of the week it is, much less the month, and all of a sudden it’s a week till Christmas and I have no idea how I got here. If you’re like me and can’t keep up with a calendar, I have a solution. Instead of bothering with that boring Julian calendar, which is so lame anyway, why not try my method? It’s simple, really. All you have to do is to observe the biological and environmental markers that appear mid-November and increase in both frequency and intensity the closer you get to Christmas. 


The Signs and Symptoms of Imminent Festivity are pretty obvious once you know what to look for. They include but are not limited to:


1.) The discovery of Darth Vader in the Nativity Scene. This will begin as soon as you decorate, but you’ll know the holiday is nigh when Vader is joined by Boba Fett, Lighting McQueen, Grumpy, Princess Jasmine, and a shoe. O come let us adore Him, indeed. (At least Jasmine is geographically relevant…)


2.) Glitter in the diaper. Just as the presentation of crayon poop reflects the recent purchase of school supplies, so does glitter poop reflect (literally, in some cases) the coming of our Savior. You’ll know it’s the third week of Advent if there are actual strands of tinsel present.


3.) Pine needles in the diaper. This is only an accurate barometer if you have a real tree. The more needles in the diaper, the older your tree is…or maybe it’s just a reminder that you should water that thing. Either way it tells you something.


4.) The disappearance and subsequent rediscovery of cookies. These’ll go walk-about just as soon as you’ve said something like, “Don’t eat those cookies they’re for your father’s work put them down I said noooooo!” Later, you’ll find the cookies hidden in the couch cushions in the basement. I don’t pretend to know why there will be seven half-eaten cookies down there, but when you find them, examine them closely. If it’s an un-iced cookie, you’ve still probably got a couple of weeks to go. If the cookie has had icing licked off of it, then Christmas is probably tomorrow.


5.) The state of the Jesse Tree. If you happen to have a Jesse Tree around, how does it look? If it still looks bright and hopeful with carefully placed ornaments on it, it’s early December. If your Jesse Tree is scraggly, ornaments flung haphazardly, and you haven’t noticed any new ones appearing, it’s likely that you’re nearing the end of December. Congratulate yourself that you took some good advice and “calmed-the-Jesse-Tree-down” then go make your morning cup ‘o Advent Baileys and coffee.


6.) The State of your living room. Are your kids making snow angels out of packing peanuts? If yes, it’s mid-December. If you’re finding them in your underwear drawer and in your shoes and don’t care, Christmas is next week. If the packing peanuts are less like snow angels and more like “holy geez, what’d you do to your house?” Christmas is tomorrow.


7.) The cheese in the gift basket. If, while fluffing the bow on the basket of cookies for the neighbors, you discover a half-eaten piece of cheese in the cellophane, Christmas is probably still like two weeks out. If, by “basket” you really mean “silver coffee can that I’m pretending is Pinterest-y enough to reuse as gift packaging” then Christmas is one week out. If, upon discovery, you eat the cheese because it’s the first meal you’ve had all day (Bailey’s coffee, notwithstanding), Christmas is tomorrow.



See? Super-simple and way better than a regular calendar! You can thank me later…

6 thoughts on “The Holiday Barometer: A Guide for the Discerning Adult

  1. Granny Garr

    Wiping tears from the laughter – AGAIN! At least your dad warned me to put down my coffee sans the Baileys before I read this blog. I may have to get my own blog so I can speak to those folks who have left the diaper era behind. We need indicators in our homes other than the glitter, tinsel, and pine needles in the diapers! I’m not sure how Metamucil and Advil work into your holiday season, but for some it’s a fine way to decorate! And, speaking of decorations, for the older generation, you know it is almost Christmas when we get the decorations out! Well, at least part of them up. The rest we leave in the box as totally unnecessary to a celebratory feeling! And, so the seasonal feelings you so aptly describe survive more than one generation…and that would be “Tradition, tradition!” That’s so important to this time of year! Blessings!

  2. Stephanie P.

    Mary Susan, you make me feel like a normal mom! Thank you for writing what is true and what we can all feel comfortable with in our children’s years of learning. Love you!

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