“Are Y’all Ready for Christmas?” Don’t Ask.

My nest isn't as prepared as the Starbucks bird

Why do we make small talk this time of year by asking young and old alike, “Are you ready for Christmas?”

This is a useless inquiry. Sure, it may start a conversation, but where are we to go with it? What is “ready,” anyway? If you think you’re ready, then you get the satisfaction of a smug, “Yes,” either with mock relief or a touch of bah-humbug resignation. If you aren’t “ready,” there’s nothing left to do but confess your shame and be reminded that you are behind.

It seems to me that this question is hostile to procrastinators. How is it that being “ready” the dialogue of Christmas? I suspect it’s the alpha moms who’ve completed scrapbooks for each kid and who had their holiday cards labeled and stamped the day after Thanksgiving. This is their opportunity to watch the rest of us squirm.

In my defense and some of yours, kids’ events don’t slow down during the holidays. There are still winter season games, even tournaments, and younger kiddos are having those adorable parties that you want to attend yourself. There are ceramics to make, packages to mail, and babysitters to book. So basically, I never get to “ready,” I just get to “out of time” and decide that’s where I have to leave it. There is always one more ribbon or garland that I was hoping to add, but at least nobody else knows.

I suggest we change the question to any number of less options:

  • What are your plans for the holidays?
  • Do you have any favorite traditions during the holidays?
  • What does your family like to do during the holidays?
  • Do you have a favorite holiday meal?
  • What do you like best about the holiday break?

The other day I heard the quickest shutdown yet of the “Are you ready for Christmas?” question. Two women were standing in a checkout line and one asked the other, “Are you ready for Christmas?”  The reply was “Ready for it to be over,” with a shake of the head.

I knew where she was coming from. All this ramp-up to get “ready” can do that to your holiday spirit.