Holiday traditions stretch far and wide,
For Grandma Mimi, something new was tried
Whoville’s Garden Club tours a holiday home
Through decked halls, strangers peek and roam
Cindy-Lou Who had always said, “No, thanks”
To these Christmas elves in pearls and Spanxx
Her renovated home was lovely and inviting
Christmas fun for Mimi did sound exciting
Soon Cindy Lou felt only regret
From this holiday story you won’t soon forget…
My dearest Cindy Lou Who has a stunning home, which she often opens for play dates and hospitality. Her large, gorgeous home is a work horse. Cindy Lou’s home was flooded in a recent hurricane, so they lived with family for nine months during renovations. She was glad to be back in the home, and that is when the call came. “Would you like to be on the holiday tour of homes this year?”
Cindy Lou went on these home tours with her mother and Grandma Mimi in years past. Mimi was now wheelchair bound after a stroke. This could be fun to do with her. In a weak moment, she agreed.
When the ladies came to see the home they were all smiles. This would be lovely! It wasn’t the 10,000 or 8,000 square foot mansions on the tour, but it would be darling. Cindy Lou recognized that her home is much smaller. “We don’t do crazy, over the top Christmas”, she warned. She asked if they need to be taken from the list but ladies assured her that the size of house doesn’t matter and it would be great. Santa could even be at this house to make it extra special!
Now, Cindy Lou has small children. She decided she would NOT go spend thousands at Hobby Lobby to decorate for a fundraising tour. Instead, she called her friends. She drove around and gathered trees, ornaments, nutcrackers, etc. from all over town, shoving it into her car and taking it home, like the Grinch stealing Christmas.
When she wasn’t caring for children or working, she spent every spare moment of October and November decorating for Christmas. There were two large trees, a small tree in every bedroom, and smaller decorations hiding in bookshelves. The backyard tree house had lights like Snoopy’s doghouse. On Thanksgiving, snowflake pillows adorned the beds. Cindy went from Christmas Spirit to superfluous. All for the cause, Mimi.
The tour was over a weekend, so Cindy Lou packed the kids and prepared to head to see family so that the children could play while strangers toured the home. Cindy Lou’s husband, Mr. Who, was out of town on business. Cindy Lou’s daughter came down with Strep. Cindy Lou’s mother in law invited them to visit, but she ended up with the flu. Exhausted and committed, Cindy Lou Who dropped her family off to her mother’s. It was 8:30pm when the call came in from Martha May Whovier.
Martha Mae: ” I’ve just been at your house to tape off the steps and we have a very big problem. I am just very concerned because I went to all the houses today and yours just doesn’t have enough decorations. I am worried that compared to the other homes you will be embarrassed.”
I know. Grab your tinsel.
Cindy Lou: “Excuse me? I’m sorry if the way we decorate for Christmas isn’t good enough for the tour. Please feel free to take us off your tour list. “
Martha Mae: “Oh no! I was thinking some ladies and I could come over with some trees and things and help you decorate.”
Again, this is 8:30pm, the night before the tour. Maybe Martha figured Cindy Lou just got busy and would love the help to avoid embarrassment. Perhaps it never occurred to Martha that Cindy Lou didn’t want Hobby Lobby to vomit red and green glitter all over her home.
Cindy Lou: “No, that’s okay. I’m kind of mortified right now. We worked hard and spent a lot of money on this, so please take us off.”
Martha Mae: “No, no! That would be a disaster! We can’t take you off the list! Santa is at your house!”
Cindy Lou: “Actually you can. I am a volunteer and if I don’t give you the key and open my home, you can’t tour. You realize that, right?”
Martha Mae: “Okay, no problem! If you are okay with it, we are okay. We just didn’t want you to be embarrassed that we didn’t tell you how much to decorate. I mean, how many trees do you have?”
Cindy Lou, now crying: “At least three, which to me is a lot.”
Martha Mae: “Okay, let’s just forget this happened. We will see you tomorrow.”
The next morning, Cindy Lou returned to her home to open it up and let meet Santa. Jolly Old Nick came in with his grand chair and set up next to one of the many trees. As he set up he mentioned that he has previously volunteered for this organization a few times. Cindy Lou thanked him for volunteering and said she was glad he could be a part of the event. Santa was not done. “Well, I usually make about $150 bucks an hour at events like this.” Cindy Lou smiled and said, “That’s nice”. Annoyed that she didn’t grasp his meaning, Santa said, “Since I’m doing this as a volunteer, I’m going to set out my tip jar because I’m not making $150 an hour for my work.” Yes, apparently to Santa, volunteering to mingle means singles.
Cindy Lou was stunned. Santa did not work for Christmas Spirit, boy howdy. He wanted cash. Cindy Lou raised her eyebrows and informed Santa that there were standards in this home. She may have been deemed the classles crap house, but Santa would not ask for donations from parents and kids who had already paid to go on this tour. This was not a stripper Santa who would dance on a North Pole- no singles for this Santa? There were no photos or gifts given! This Santa was SENT to Cindy Lou’s home by others and now wanted carrot money for Rudolph.
Annoyed and indignant, Santa then asked CINDY LOU, “Well, are you going to pay to make up my fee?” To be clear, this would total roughly $800 for a voluntary fee. Cindy Lou countered, “How about I give you $100 to not put out your tip jar?” He answered, “How about $165?” Santa bargains, y’all. Giving money and good riddance, Cindy shut the door on Santa.
Reeling from the day, she brought her sick kiddos home and told the tale to Mr. Who, who had returned from his trip. He blinked, stunned. Apparently Mr. Who had once stated to Cindy Lou that he did NOT want to go onto ladders to hang Christmas lights, so if she expected that in marriage, she picked the wrong man. STILL, he went and put up lights on a backyard play house for this. “I don’t understand. There is a Christmas tree in our bedroom. How is that not enough? That isn’t normal!”
Feeling dejected and wondering where the soul of Christmas had gone, Cindy Lou greeted the next morning with relief. Then Martha Mae knocked on the door. As a thank you for her hard work and time, (not to mention the $160 cash for Santa), she offered Cindy Lou Who… a fruitcake.
Cindy Lou’s chutzpah grew three sizes that day. With a smile, Cindy Lou said she thought the club had truly lost the meaning of the season, she would not want to help the organization again, and they were welcome to keep the fruitcake. She decided to tell them to go to Hell in a way that would make them look forward to the trip. After all, what about those who lost their Christmas belongings to the hurricane? Who had little? Who were thankful for just one tiny tree? What about those in hospitals or nursing homes?
Cindy Lou took a deep breath. One person absolutely enjoyed the tour- Mimi. She came to the house, sat in her wheelchair as a hostess, and interacted with more people in a weekend than she had in years.
Now Cindy Lou Who knows just what to do. She can take down the extra Christmas decorations and enjoy a simple season with her family.
She can put away ribbons! Put away tags! Put away packages, boxes, and bags!
Cindy puzzles three hours, till her puzzler was sore. Christmas, she said, can’t be bought at a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, is better with less. Christmas should not be made into a mess.
The angst and frustration would not overtake her- Cindy would forgive, after going Julia Sugarbaker.