With the holidays approaching faster than warp speed (this is faster than the speed of light according to Trekkies), I felt compelled to share my experiences, thoughts and opinions regarding the holidays. I hate them. Period. End of post.
No, I don’t really hate them. It’s more like a time I suffer so those around me may be happy, merry, and then happy again. I’ve never been a huge holiday lover, especially Christmas. There are a multitude of reasons. And everyone who really knows me would tell you I am so not kidding.
When you are single, Christmas mornings suck. It’s just another morning. You wake up, get dressed, and go to someone else’s Christmas morning. It’s not like you run to the Christmas tree to see what shiny, sparkling things await you wrapped in festive paper and adorned with bouncy bows. YOU know exactly what’s under YOUR tree because YOU bought it all … for other people. And by the way, I haven’t put up a tree in probably seven years, so it’s not like I even had a tree to run to on those Christmas mornings. I know I could’ve made my own Christmas. I read countless articles on being single at Christmastime, how to get through the holidays, how to survive your family, blah, blah, blah. They all advised to buy yourself a nice present and spend time with friends. Yeah, well, after buying for everyone else, I had no money to spend on myself (that damn single income), and my friends were spending time with THEIR families. Hello??? The articles advised against stewing in your misery, throwing yourself a pity party with you as the sole host and only-attending guest, and/or isolating from your family and friends. Done it. Done it all. I even boycotted Christmas one year … spent Christmas Day on my couch by myself in my PJs watching old movies. Don’t start feeling too sorry for me because there was this one year I spent it on a beach in Cozumel with several margaritas, avoiding the holidays via geography. Seriously, I do go through an annual depression around the holidays, starting at Thanksgiving and ending after the new year.
So I would be at my family Christmas enduring the “look what my husband gave me” unintentional taunt. I forgave them because they know not what they did and because they had every right to show off their expressions of love, but yeah, well, no one gave me shit! Ok, it wasn’t that bad. I never said that out loud. At least I don’t think I did. After a few glasses of wine attempting to get into a festive mood, I can’t be definitive. At least I had a family with which to celebrate the holidays. My problem was that I was the only one not celebrating. I was more like railing against the holidays. When you are single, there is an amplified loneliness that, no matter how optimistically you head into the holidays with the best intention of “making the best out of it,” creeps over you and then bleeds you of any happy thoughts or feelings. The loneliness is like the dementors in the Harry Potter books. As Ron says, “I felt weird though, like I’d never be cheerful again.” It was difficult to force a smile and feign interest when you wished that it was all over and the world could just return to business as usual. It sounds like I was being selfish, jealous and bitter. I was. I was so all of that. I admit it. Not proud of it, but I will own all of my emotions. Those were mine.
Another reason for my holiday grinching is that no one remembers what the holidays are about anymore. Everyone is so worried about what’s on sale where, how fast can they get to that store to get it, if UPS will deliver the gift in time or not, should they get the blue one or the red one, small, medium or large, and then complaining about how much money they are not going to have after Christmas. The commercialized Kool-aid is being gulped down by everyone, buying into this madness that they must get something for everyone that the actual “thought” meant to be put forth in buying the gift is lost amid the superficial frenzy that gift giving has become. They settle for a “meh, she’ll like that” gift because they’re too busy worrying about the adequate gift to get the next person on their list so they can further move on down the list to the next one.
The food. Can we talk about the food? Why does it have to be turkey, dressing, that nasty green bean casserole with the freeze-dried onions on top, and same ol’ pecan pie? Give the turkeys a break for a year. Prey on the beef. How about making that standing rib roast difficult to make, but nonetheless a labor of love. Remember? You found that pretty picture and recipe in that cookbook that someone probably gave you a couple of years ago for a Christmas gift? Or what about trying a menu inspired by a different type of cuisine? Chinese? Mexican? Thai? Indian? Brazilian? (Better yet, take a family vacation to one of those places!!!! Now, that’s my kind of holiday!) I don’t care, as long as it’s made with the intention of breaking tradition. I know for some people the holidays mean tradition. I’m not one of those people. We’ve been having the same meal for Thanksgiving and Christmas now for … well, for as far back as I can remember. That’s probably about 30-plus years. That’s a long time to have the same meal on the same day every year. Shake it up. Think outside the stuffing box. (I’ve never made stuffing out of a box just to let you know. Nor do we call it stuffing down here in the south. It’s dressing, either cornbread or oyster. Yes, I said oyster. Don’t knock it ’til you tried it.) And I don’t know about other families, but my family is somehow under the impression that during these meals, our family increases in size because they make copious dishes like they’re feeding the Waltons (or the Brady Bunch for you younger folks … or to be more relevant, the unbelievably nonbelievers in contraception Duggars who have 20-and-counting kids … don’t get me started on them). I know you’re supposed to give thanks, but give thanks in proportion. Don’t be wasteful.
Then there’s the descent. It’s been building since Halloween. You started seeing the decorations in the stores on November 1 (or prior to that in some horrid places). For two months, you’ve anticipated these days, shopped for them, cooked for them, planned for them, all to be deflated at the end of the Thanksgiving meal, when the last Christmas present is unwrapped, and on New Year’s Day when your head feels like the size of the Waterford crystal ball dropped in Times Square the night before.
So by now, you have me pictured as this little green troll-like thing with a Cheshire cat smile, a pair of fake antlers stapled to my cat’s head, stealing all the Christmas decorations from the village beneath my mountain cave. Well, you at least have the sentiment correct. I’m not green or troll-like, although I may smile like a Cheshire cat sometimes, I would NEVER staple anything to my cat’s head, but I cannot attest to whether or not I would steal a garland or the occasional ornament here and there … just out of spite.
But my feelings about the holidays now are best described by the title of a movie that I saw several times back in 1985-1986 with Emilio Estevez, That Was Then … This Is Now. This year I am looking forward to waking up on Christmas morning with My Love and our three cats. I am excited about spending Thanksgiving with my family (both present and future). I am happily ready to begin the new year at this point on my Paige Path. It’s strange to not feel the dread when I open my calendar to the last two months and see those holy, I mean, holiday days of obligation. It’s a great feeling and one for which I am grateful and feel worthy of festive celebration!!!
Now, if My Love surprised me with a trip for the holidays to some exotic locale which required a passport and swimsuit, I would once again, via geography, gladly avoid the holidays!!!!
P.S. I didn’t post any pics because everything I liked was pretty offensive and not in keeping with the post’s ending. But Spotify or iTunes the title song. Gotta love the blues!