Christmas Can-Can

Mary Liz Ingram —  December 9, 2012 — Leave a comment


On your mark, get set, GO!!!! You have 25 days until Christmas, Christmas, CHRISTMAAASSS, so go, go GO!!!

Put up the lights, go grab a tree, drink your cocoa, watch those movies, play the tunes, Christmas pictures!!!, shop and bake, shop and bake, elf on the shelf? advent calendars, go see Santa! shop and bake, shop and bake! make some crafts, mail your cards, egg nog time! make some s’mores, sing some carols, go to church, light the candles, read the stories, shop and bake! now wrap, wrap, wrap and go, go, go!

An American Christmas:

As a melting pot, we have so many wonderful holiday traditions, but trying to fit them all in and not miss a beat can begin to feel like the Christmas song from Straight No Chaser: Christmas Can-Can. Chaos!!! Christmas can fly by in a whirl of anxious clutter.

It’s already 9 days into December, and even though my family and I try to reduce the crazy of Christmas, it’s already a busy blur. Granted, I’ve had the flu, which never helps, but so far we’ve been decorating, listening to Christmas music and watching the movies on auto-pilot…haven’t really been PRESENT in any of it. It’s like checking off a Christmas list: done, done, done. Okay, what’s next. Enter guilt: we don’t even have a tree yet! And baby doesn’t have a stocking!


I pulled out some old napkins out of a Christmas box: embroidered 12 Days of Christmas12 Days of Christmas from a dear neighbor’s mother. I’m a sucker for vintage Christmas stuff, and these are definitely vintage. The song of course got stuck in my head: On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me….

Then I thought about the song: originating somewhere in the 18th century, a song about the giving of increasingly extravagant Christmas gifts, probably sung as a memory game much like our “Going on a Bear Hunt.” It gets more and more chaotic, and if you picture yourself surrounded by 12 drummers drumming, 11 pipers piping, 10 lords-a-leaping, all sorts of poultry and so on, it would be NUTS!!!

Reminds me of my present state: bombarded with Christmas-crazy commercials, entering any retail store at Christmas time (not to mention the drive through the parking lot), the mounting Christmas to-do list…high expectations for Christmas “cheer,” and it’s just all too much!!!

Now, we have 3 kids and we love Christmas. We will have a tree, open gifts, Santa will come, we’ll go look at lights, watch the movies, and all that jazz.

I want to experience the peace and joy and love of life at the heart of Christmas, in the midst of our traditions.

My plan:

To spend the next 12 days illustrating this journey through art.

(Yes, yes, I am adding yet another expectation to my days, BUT I find these reflective moments meditative, and the search for each day’s illustration focuses my day into seeing what matters most.)

I hope you’ll join me and check back daily, and I invite you to share your thoughts about keeping Christmas “holy.”


Mary Liz Ingram


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