Friday, December 27, 2013

So This Is Christmas

Christmas is supposed to be the best time of the year, right?

So why don't I enjoy it?

It's been years since I could say, "Man, this was the best Christmas yet." They are actually getting better, however. This year we only had two Christmas parties to go to, one of which was cancelled due to weather and has been rescheduled as a post-Christmas party at a time we can't go. We stayed home at Christmas, with a small group. Three people I invited to spend time with us never responded to my invitation, so we remained just me, Lynda, her mom, and her brother. Small is good, right?

This year we put up Christmas decorations, which we didn't do the last two years. I decorated a nice tree, put out a nativity scene, and put some garland inside in the translucent window by the front door. Of course it fought me, not wanting to stay in place with tape. I didn't want to put hooks in the wood. Last night one string of the garland finally fell, and I'll leave it on the floor. But the house looked good.

This year I cut out one major source of yule strife: the Christmas letter and cards. My wife and I never could agree on what should go in a Christmas letter or the style it should be written in. And of course Christmas cards take a lot of time. Our card list had shrunk from somewhere around 150 to around 50 last year, and I'm the one who always did the lion's share of the work on them, at least for the last ten to twenty years. This year I said the heck with it, told Lynda I wasn't doing them, and so we haven't sent any yet (though I know she worked on sending them to those who sent us cards). No Christmas letter, no Christmas cards, two less Christmas headaches.

One reason, I think, that I don't like Christmas is so few of my family's Christmas traditions survived and have found their way into my modern Christmases. The tree is thematic, not random. The decorations go up early, not late. No candy house. Different dinner menu, and time. Yeah, that was 40 years ago, and you would think I'd be over it now. I don't think that's the only reason, but it is surely a contributing factor.

I actually dislike, almost to the point of hate, all the gift giving activities. It seems such a waste of money. People who can't afford it give so much at so much expense that they are in debt for months afterwards. I think the person who gives only what he/she can afford, and the child who receives a meager amount from their parents but an amount that is out of love, are much more blessed than the child that receives everything.

Sorry for the rambling. I'll be 62 in less than a week. Hopefully I'll have a few Christmases left, and will find a way to enjoy them.


vero said...

Yes, you will have more Christmases, and they will be better and better.

Susan said...

I'm with you on much of this. I get missing childhood Christmas memories -- and yet, don't you think that actually being a child is a large part of what makes them so great? At least, that's my thought ... I agree also about the stress of gifts. One side of the family insists on continuing to exchange gifts with each family member. It takes lots of time, effort, and money. And yet ... I've seen a family member post items I've bought for her kids on FB -- for sale! Really? As for loving Christmas Day itself, I haven't for a long time now. I love the season. The day itself is often disappointing. Here's to a happy new year.