Every year I kind of dread the onset of the whole Christmas kit & caboodle. (did I just say kind of??)
I don’t want to be the “Bah, humbug” type – I am generally a pretty cheerful & generous-minded person & all, you know.
Christmas just has too darn much baggage around it.
Every year I agonize about trying to get it “right.”
(The smart voice inside my head pipes right up & says “Come on, Janet, there’s no such thing here as “right” and you know it! You know perfectly well life is not neat; it’s messy. Messy as all get-out. Make your peace with that already.”)
& then I answer (myself) with
“But Christmas is special. We want it to be all sunshine and roses & fairy tales and happily ever after.”
(Did I already say as if?)
& it’s like “Geez. Year after year after year I go through this agonizing nonsense.”
Will it NEVER stop???
& I get nostalgic, remembering those lovely Christmases of my childhood.
NOT. The boozy afternoons & overcooked turkey? & all of us walking on eggs afraid of what DOD (brand-new acronym! Dear Old Dad) might do to wreck the day for all of us? In the great scheme of things, overcooked turkey is a very small potatoes deal, you understand & yes, I also understand; it’s all relative … pun intended.
So, okay, let’s leave aside any nostalgia about childhood Christmases if we’re to be fully upfront here
(since I’m a truth-teller, there isn’t much point in being any other way)
But there were the years, the “perfect” years as an intact little family, with our dear so-beloved young children – and no word of a lie, those years were good ones; very good ones indeed. :)
Although the preparations for Christmas were always endless & exhausting & I fretted terribly about “perfect” presents & “Is this Enough?” or “Is it too much??” & making sure everyone was being treated “the same,” or at least “fairly,” & agonizing over presents I had to buy for people who didn’t need a thing, or even if they did, whatever “thing” I was liable to buy for them was not terribly likely to render them wildly ecstatic.
Those were the years too (we’re talking the 1980’s) when the excessive consumerism & materialism made me feel almost physically ill at times – all those malls, all those stores with all that STUFF – all that stuff we all knew darn well (but would not admit to ourselves) was not making anyone “happier,” & (in my case at any rate) having to try very hard to NOT think about people who had hardly any stuff (or not even enough to eat, for heaven’s sake), & the planet-raping involved in getting all that stuff to all those “pretty” stores.
& then came the divorce years, the feeling of “OMG, we’ve been robbed!”
& the pulling of our children in two opposite directions (honestly, the things we humans DO to our children!?!?!?)
& my beginning to wish every December that we could just, couldn’t we PLEASE just skip from December 1st to January 1st??
& wishing I had the money to just run away – either to somewhere warm, to lie on a beach (though beaches pall on me pretty quickly), or somewhere cold, with snow, so I could ski (although I don’t actually ski, or, well, only cross-country, which you don’t really have to go away for)
& just the agony
(okay, so agony is too strong a word)
the Angst. The angst.
Year after year after year, the angst.
(she says, as she catches her breath)
& so. & so & so & so
Here we are, again, days away from Christmas – grateful grateful grateful to still be alive, mind you, and this has not been the easiest of times in past months
& I am drawn to memories of simple things from Christmases past – some thoughtful lovely presents from ex-husbands (okay, okay, there is only one of them) & ex-men-in-my-life, & my dear children & friends; it’s the thoughtfulness of these special gifts that makes them so memorable
&, yes, I have many, many good memories for which to be abundantly, abundantly grateful
& (but) now I am finding it harder & harder to pretend that this gig (this human beings on Planet Earth gig, you know, that one) has an awful lot more time left on the meter
& I still love us all so much (well, not all of us, you know, not the rapers & pillagers & sick corrupt politicians & corporate looters, & I still hate apathy & cruelty & violence & those 1%-ers & of course the nuclear evils of every description)
& love life/Life! so very much
& really just want some simple, calm, fun times with the people I love the most.
& some good food
& to be “in the moment”
& not agonize over the days of Christmas Past & all that’s been lost or stolen or trampled upon
& you know?
I have to stop
- expecting things to be different than they are because
& it’s a mixed-up messy bloody kettle of fish we are all dealing with now (whether we admit to that or not)
We’re still alive!
& if you are reading this, Gentle Reader, you are, as I am, much-blessed to have all that we have.
Merry Crispness to us all, & may we all remember to be thankful, deeply-deeply thankful, for all that we have.
& after all
December 25th is Just.One.Day.
p.s. here is a list of my past Christmas-related postings (maybe not all of them, but most, anyway). Some of what I’ve said in the past is probably useless or irrelevant or untrue by now – this is a mighty river, this life, & it keeps right on flowing, & some of the old stuff may just be useless debris by now, no doubt. But still. I meant every word 100% when I wrote it, & that's the truth.
- Transforming Christmas <2008>
- Christmas 101 <2010>
- Christmas Gifts I Won’t Forget <2010>
- Christmas List: Dear Santa <2010>
- Christmas Wish List <2011>
- Christmas: what works (& doesn’t) <2011>
- Christmas Alphabet (for New Year’s) <2011>
- Christmas Giving <2013>
- Christmas Eve 2013: HUA Attack <2013>
p.s. 2 days later. Just changed the 'quote of the day' to the one about courage. Lots more quotes about courage here