Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fighting the Bah-Humbug Attitude

I can't remember if I've written this on this blog before, but for the last 20 or so years I've had a somewhat bah-humbug attitude towards Christmas. The main problem is the busyness that comes with the season. First there's decorating the house indoors and outdoors, a chore of carrying boxes up from the basement, finding the right stuff in them, and getting it the right places. A lot of work. Given that Lynda likes a thematic Christmas tree, and I don't (I prefer mixed light colors and styles, mixed ornaments), and I've given up fighting her on it, I don't really enjoy the tree, with its one color and style of lights and its coordinated colors and styles of ornaments. Yuck.

Then there's the round of Christmas parties that start the first weekend of December and seem to go non-stop until a week before Christmas. The office, the department within the office, the church, the Sunday school class within the church, the support group within the church, the ladies' group within the church, the writers guild, the civic club, etc. The last several years it's been better. We blow off some of these parties. With the kids grown we don't have rehearsals for children's Christmas program. And since we don't participate in organized choir any more, that's dropped from the schedule.

Then there's the Christmas cards and letter. I normally draft the letter from scratch, and Lynda improves it. She sends it to the kids to make sure we get their info correct. Then comes the printing, two sides of a sheet, with misfeeds, smudging, wrong number of copies, folding, stuffing, etc. Signing the cards, labeling the envelops, finding the stamps we made a special trip to buy, getting them to the post office in batches, remembering to hold out those to weigh for overseas postage (not many of those any more). This isn't hard work, just one more cog in the wheel.

Then there's preparing for the trip to Meade Kansas. We'll be there four days, I think, and will swing by OKC on the return trip. Oh, did I mention the usual sudden tasks that crop up at work in the days immediately preceding your vacation days? Oh, and I haven't even mentioned shopping. Of course, we don't have much of that any more, and I can usually duck it and let Lynda have charge of something she loves to do. Although, since everything about Christmas seems designed to drain the checkbook and savings account, there's still stress and worry attached.

Normally by the time Christmas comes I have mellowed out. The main activities are behind me, and I can enjoy the day with whatever family we have around. I have time to reflect on the reason for the season, to read the story as many times as I want, and to recall the work of Jesus in my life.

This year, it hasn't been so bad. We went to a couple of parties we skipped last year. I served a group of 112 women at church on Monday night. We're going to the company's management party tomorrow night. The Christmas letter (my part of it) will be finished tonight, and probably ready for printing this weekend. The cards, at least most of them, will go out before the 25th. Our schedule for the Meade trip is set, even some extra visits I'm planning to make with Lynda's brother. Yet, with the activities, the stress of the season hasn't seemed as bad this year. Maybe I have somewhat learned how to deal with this and not let it get me down.

So as we near the day, I'm in a good equilibrium. I'm not worried about producing much writing. If I find the time, I'll get an article or two done, or maybe a thousand words in a novel, or maybe a couple of passage notes or appendix paragraphs in the Harmony of the Gospels. I might even get to read Dicken's Cricket on the Hearth this year, which is the next one of his Christmas stories I'm scheduled to read. At least this year I'm not sick with pneumonia. My rheumatoid arthritis isn't acting up and I'm not on steroids. 'Tis the season to be jolly. Well, I may not quite be jolly this year, but at least I'm not stressed and depressed.

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