I used to love Christmas. Like LOVE it love it. Like Buddy the Elf love. I’m not sure if it’s a simple symptom of growing older and more cynical, or tired, or just that as time passes situations get more complicated. I miss the days when my brother and I used to sleep on the pull-out couch in the den on Christmas eve, watching Christmas movies and waiting for Santa (even though he was so much older than me and already knew) while my mom worked away in the kitchen finishing up her pies. The next morning all I had to do was roll out of bed and head for the Christmas tree, and my brothers and sister and aunt and uncle would be there and we’d open presents and eat a big dinner and laugh a lot. I could go the entire day without putting shoes on.
Then people paired up, moved further away, and had families of their own. My parents sold the house and there was no longer a central place that made sense for everyone to go. And now I have a husband and in-laws and my own house, and it’s decorated all nice and cozy and I don’t particularly like to spend time away from it over the holidays. And my family doesn’t quite enjoy spending time together like they once did, and it all seems like a chore. Everything is, “Well you know, we’ll try to make it but the weather…” or “We’re so busy…” or “It’s such a schlep…” Getting together just doesn’t seem worth the effort for anyone anymore.
I’m also a victim of the blogosphere, and am therefore saddled with this idea of having to make everything so *special.* I have a hard time doing half-assed gifts for people, everything feels like it has to be so meaningful and personalized and hand-made and thoughtful. A scented candle just doesn’t seem to be an ok gift for me to give, even though I personally like to get them. So I stress about getting gifts for my in-laws, that it’s never enough, and Greg isn’t really helping. So then I get annoyed at him. And meanwhile I’m baking my ass off to put together giant assortments of cookies for various people, near and far, but cookies don’t really seem like they count as a gift, which means I still need to worry about doing more more more.
On top of the stress, I just feel lonely. I haven’t seen my family in ages, and every time I try to get my mom to come down for the weekend so we can do fun holiday stuff she has some kind of excuse. I worry about her because she’s alone in this house in the middle of nowhere, and so I try to figure out how I can juggle things to make time for her. Then when I do make time, she’s not willing to make the effort to come down. But then even when I do see my family, I’m reminded how strained everyone’s relationships have become and then I’m sitting right there in the middle of them feeling lonely in a different way. Greg is only marginally into the holidays and only really wants to do Christmas things after like the 20th. And I feel like most of my friends are just acquaintances that have their own things going on, or my good friends are either far away or also have their own things going on. And so I’m left to my own devices to try to be in the spirit. Like I’m trapped in this sad snowglobe all by myself.
I was baking last night, and listening to Christmas music, and trying to throw myself into the spirit. And I started wondering why the holidays are meant to be this wonderful time of year, where everyone is a little kinder and more thoughtful and spiritual, and yet for so many people it yields the opposite effect. It’s like everybody is walking this razor’s edge between ecstatic joy and cosmic melancholy, and if you don’t feel the right amount of joy, it makes for even more melancholy.
And then as the icing on the cake, I committed a Facebook faux pas last night. I stupidly posted this status chain where you tag a bunch of people, and I kind of forgot how far reaching the ripple effects are of tagging on Facebook, and then everybody was annoyed. So even social media is working to make me feel like shit.
So this must be what it feels like to be the Grinch. Except I’m not sure that my heart is going to grow three sizes anytime soon.
Or maybe I’m just PMSing.