This is my tribute to women during the busiest season of their lives. In no way should my male readers take this as a slight or a rejection of all they have to offer. I know that any one of you can pour a drink with the best of them. You probably make excellent egg nog, and are a dab hand at making sure the freezer is stocked with bags of ice. You probably make those last minute runs to the grocery store to pick up the forgotten can of Cranberry sauce, gas up the cars and do those little things that make all the difference to a happy holiday. Putting up the lights outside, often a man's job, is an integral part of the Christmas season. However.
December is a tough time for women. A time of preparation not unlike that faced by Olympic athletes. Some positive self talk is needed, some team spirit, a friendly reminder that others are also preparing for the game, laying it all out on the line. There may be doubts, but cheerfulness and good spirits will prevail, for the most part.
This salute is for the woman of the house, that workhorse of Christmas past, present and future. I'm going to take this even further and add an extra tribute for mothers. Not only are they the holders of the Christmas flame. They must also do the following:
Remember what every child has told Santa regarding their Christmas wishes.
Decorate the tree, with help from the kids, which means everything takes a lot longer.
Find the time to give the house an extra cleaning, that lick and polish that says "Extra Special Season!"
Continue cooking regular meals while baking dozens of cookies, squares, meat pies, extra frozen 'just in case' dinners and making appetizers for all the parties she will attend as part of the joy of Christmas.
Buy gifts for teachers, coaches, bosses, co-workers and people her husband needs to buy gifts for.
Find that special outfit that looks 'Christmasy' but doesn't break the family budget and is comfortable enough to allow the chasing down of toddlers and the searching under sofas for missing lego pieces.
Have the ability to come home from work, make dinner, prepare something for the babysitter to do with the kids so she can attend the annual party with her husband, all the while wishing she was home in a hot bath with a good book.
Smile instead of screaming "WTF!!" when realizing the cookies that were meant for the neighbor's Christmas party were stolen from the freezer by little Elves who just happen to have the same names as her husband and kids.
This Christmas Eve, I salute all of you cheer bringers and memory creators. You are the Women of Christmas. You are the keepers of the family flame, the guardians of the heart of every child. God bless you in this joyful season. Over these next few days, take some time to thank those who have gone before you, like your own mother. Give the woman shopping beside you a friendly glance, a show of support that acknowledges all the things she's doing for others. And finally, you dear woman reader, give yourself a word of thanks, a pat on the back. May your own Christmas wishes come true. Especially the one where other people clean up. God bless.