Actually we're decorating the tree with Legos.

This weekend our dryer died, and we had to purchase a new one. We explained to Henry that the dryer would be his one and only Christmas present. He asked if he could take a tumble or two in it, and we said only on low heat.

I'm kidding! He can't fit in there. Our dryer did die, though, that part is true. Scott and I were sad, and we turned our pants pockets inside-out and walked around like that for a while, feeling sorry for ourselves. But then this morning, an editor called and offered me some money to reprint one of my posts. The fee came out to exactly as much as the dryer cost. So it seems that we'll have a Christmas after all! And maybe a little Hanukkah, as well!

I'm hosting Christmas for my family this year, and the pressure is on. My parents have always done Christmas, every year, since before Christ was born. Somehow they got Nat King Cole to sing all these festive songs about this savior who no one even knew about. My parents have powers. Anyway, I'm a little intimidated. My mother is trying to help, except by trying to help she's making me feel increasingly inadequate. A few weeks ago she brought over some Christmas-themed trays, Christmas votive-candle holders, and several decorative wreaths she fished out of her Christmas Decorative Wreath box in the Decorative-Wreath wing of her basement. Then she asked me if I wanted to use her "Christmas goblets."

"Whurrrgh?" I said.

"You know, my festive goblets. I use them for every Christmas. You're going to need those, right?"

"I kind of thought I could just use my regular wine glasses and stuff," I said.

"Oh," she said, in the tone she'd use if I said we were going to decorate our tree with steaming dog turds. "Yeah, I mean, of course you can. I just thought, you know, because they're so festive and nice. But that's fine too."

She also wanted to know if I wanted her fancy red Christmas plates. We have plates, I said, but thanks. (I mean, usually we eat out of our cupped hands, but I think we could fashion some flat-surfaced food holders from old pie tins.) Okay, but, uh, don't we want her extra-special linen Christmas tablecloth? Christmas placeholders? Christmas napkins? We're going to need Santa, too, right? Because she's got him in the basement, next to the reindeer stalls.

Believe me, I love my mom, and she has excellent taste. It's not that I don't like her stuff; it's that I don't want to have her Christmas over here. I want our own decorations, even if they're from Target. I just heard her gasp all the way from Long Island. I swear we're going to go to the store and nothing will be there. "Some woman came earlier today and cleared the place out," the baffled salesperson will tell us. "She looked a little bit like you, actually. Said something about keeping all this cheap crap away from her daughter? She wasn't making much sense."

Now she wants to know what I'm making for dinner. I'm going to tell her we're ordering in some Chinese, just to hear her head explode. Hey, my husband is Jewish, and we have to respect his traditions, too.

UPDATED TO ADD: I turned off comments because I think some people misinterpreted my statements about my mother. I was exaggerating for comic effect, like I do, and in reality (boring, boring reality) I can't wait to have Christmas here and she and the rest of my family will be thrilled with whatever I serve. I know some of the comments would hurt her feelings, and that's the last thing I want. "Merry Christmas! I got the Internet to make you cry!" It just ruins the holiday mood, you know?