I don’t hate Christmas. I just don’t want to “do” it myself. I want all of the magic with none of the mayhem. I want carols, tidings, good cheer, fa-la-la-las, and pine fragrance. I want hot cocoa by a crackling fire, colorful cookies, and tinsel on my tree. I want to go over the river and through the woods to reach my brown paper packages tied up with string. I want five golden rings AND the partridge in the damn tree!
I want, I want, I want….Apparently, I want to be a seven year old child again, but I want to feel like this in my 50’s. And I don’t want to be the one creating it.
Oh, Baby Jesus – please tell me – where did my Christmas spirit go? I get that it’s your birthday and all, and I want to celebrate you on your special day… I really do. But, given everything I’ve learned about you (which isn’t a ton), it would seem that excessive gift giving, over-the-top decorating, and swilling spiked eggnog would be anathema to your core being. My understanding is that you were more a man of spirit, than of stuff.
But I don’t blame you for my peevish attitude about your birthday. No. My blame rests squarely on the back of the media and marketing behemoths, churning out images of highly unattainable holiday perfection.
Before the onslaught of smart phones, my vision of a fantastical holiday season could actually be realized. I thought myself to be an adequate decorator, baker and carrier of good cheer- all while maintaining my sanity and genuinely enjoying the merry momentum surrounding me.
But then, the internet and smart phones happened. The concept of a wonderful winter wonderland exploded, and reaching the pinnacle of holiday perfection became virtually impossible.
At least for me.
My holiday pride of years passed, has slowly been replaced with a kind of showmanship shame. Just when I think I’m “done” with seasonal preparations, I’ll get a glimpse of an even better Christmas on Pinterest, Snap Chat, or Facebook…. one resplendent post after another.
I want that… but I don’t. It’s just way too much work. And I’m having a hard time grasping the pay off.
By my calculations, I’ve created the Christmas environment for my family approximately 27 times. I believe my kids would say they’ve had an awesome experience each time, and that they no longer require the grand holiday production. Their love for me is no longer dependent on the number of presents they receive from Santa. In short, my responsibility to provide seasonal splendor for them is technically over.
And, although holiday parties are fun to attend at other people’s homes, I no longer feel the need or desire to host them myself. Honestly? I’m tired… and my friends won’t leave me because I didn’t host a holiday party. So, I don’t feel beholden to my buddies to enhance their holiday spirit either.
It’s not all bad though. During my 21 days of Christmas, somehow, something in me shifts…. spiritually. I become acutely aware of how blessed I am, and feel compelled to give as deeply as I can…. my assistance, my money, my time, my skills… it’s all available for the asking at Christmas time – with an honest smile in my heart.
During the holidays, my priorities become clearer. Three hundred and forty four days of the year, my commitment to family time may be scant. But, for the 21 days of Christmas, family comes first with as many things done en masse as possible… baking cookies, doing puzzles, shopping, attending festivities, and hanging out… family togetherness in bulk.
The holiday season also awakens the inner nature lover in me. Christmas carols highlighting winter elements and seasonal activities bring me peace; dashing through snow, frosty snowmen, red-nosed reindeer, roasting chestnuts over open fires, glistening tree tops, boughs of holly, walks in winter wonderlands…All of it makes me want to don my gay apparel and get right out there. Come Dec. 26th, and given a choice on any of the 344 days outside of Christmas, I’ll take a good book and a nap instead.
Perhaps I’ve been hard on the media and marketing monsters… If more is better, then maybe they’re the reason (or at least a good part of it) that I do get what I want at Christmas; joy, peace, family time, good will toward others, and more peace. Maybe I just don’t have to buy any additional trimmings to have it.