Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Blues

Maybe it’s the expectation that gets me.  All year I do my best to fake normal when I’m just not feeling it. Oh, stop it.  I don’t mean all the time. But, you know, there are those occasions, those moments, when I know damn good and well I am supposed to be feeling happy or sad or generous and instead I just want to shake the holy shit out of somebody.

But, at Christmas time, it seems that every television commercial, every bell ringing Santa is demanding a degree of involvement with the human race that, much of the time, I am just not capable of giving.  It’s not about the gifts, I give very few of those and, long ago, stopped giving to those who suffer from chronic ungratefulness. It’s not about the birth of Christ.  I love the story of The King bringing long-awaited hope into the dirtiest, most common corner of the world and of us. 

So, what is it about this season that pulls me into a downward spiral?

No, seriously, I’m asking you.

 Does anyone else find this time of year a drain?  Do you walk out the door humming Emmanuel and come home cussing crowds and old people with those stupid coin purses that look like plastic mouths? Anyone else walk into church to kneel at the feet of the baby Jesus and leave knowing damn well your spouse is going to hate, I mean hate, that gift you were so sure when you paid too much for it they’d love? Do you travel hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles to be with family and, approximately four and a half minutes after you arrive, begin counting the hours until you leave?

This year, I give up.  No tree. No decorations. Maybe the season will surprise me and bring a teensy bit of that overpublicized joy.

If not, well. January is just around the corner.


  1. You are not alone, sister of mine. I think some of the problem is "they" (whoever they are)start in with Christmas before Halloween gets here. Thanksgiving? Push it out of the way to start the insanity of shopping. I'm burnt out on Christmas before it really begins. And the crowds! So rude. I don't remember all the hoopla starting so early when I was a kid. Tonight my brother is taking his grandson, who is 3, to look at Christmas lights. I'm tagging along. That is a simple, beautiful thing to do and I hope Christmas will rub off on me then. If not, there's always January. Just like you said.

  2. I'm right there with you. Sadly. Christmas used to be my favorite holiday. Now, it's my least favorite because of starting so soon ( I've seen decorations in August the past two years), because of the obligations, all the gifts--we buy for 20 people and that's with drawing names! We also have to ship many gifts to four states which is ridiculous, expensive and forces us to finish by the 16th or so. The music gets old and the time constraints are too many to list.

    I can't wait to get back to normal.
    Come on, January!!!

  3. Oh, my. I'm glad to see a little honesty, and I'm glad (but sad) that I'm not alone. I think it's a combination of the commercialization of Christmas that starts before Halloween, and the pounding into our heads of how joyous we should all be, and if we're not, there's something wrong. I wonder sometimes, if I always felt this way, but when my kids were young, I was able to look at Christmas through their eyes, which brought me a special kind of joy. So, Ruth, I'm guessing you'll feel better tonight.

    I think we all need to go have a drink and compare bah-humbug stories. If nothing else, it'd make us laugh.

    Hugs and smiles!

  4. For me, Christmas is not about Christ. Shocked? I don't think Jesus Christ is pleased about this holiday at all. If you look at the origins of Christmas and why He was dragged into it, you will see what I mean. He was most likely born in October, anyway.

    Christmas is about people. People who are in need, who are hurting, who need hope. You know how we get a shot in the arm to strengthen our immune system? Christmas is my shot in the arm to strengthen my resolve to see that need and serve others throughout the year.

    It is also an opportunity to have a great party with friends, to decorate and be whimsical, and to create magic for my grandchildren. I quit shopping a long time ago. If, while on vacation or pursuing the stores throughout the year I see something that shouts someone's name, I'll pick it up. But that is the only way I shop.

    Call me Pollyanna, but my ever-optimistic temperament still cries Yaaaaaay, it's Christmas!

  5. Hmmm. Maybe we need a grinch-aholics anonymous meeting. I'm the same way. I don't have a tree yet, and I even still have a kid at home.

    Yesterday I stopped and pulled a bittersweet vine to decorate my hutch though, and that's just the right amount of Christmas spirit in my kitchen. It's not exactly what most people would call *decorating* though.

    But this weekend coming the grandbabies are coming over to open presents at mawmaw's so I'm going to have to conjure up a tree between now and then.

    I think if I had more time, I'd be more in the mood because I love to cook and have the kids and their families over. And I'd probably love to decorate. The kinds of things I love most don't cost anything, like that bittersweet vine, so it's not even about money, it's more about time.

  6. I think part of Christmas glum for some of us adults comes from memories of our youth. Although many of them are happy ones, a few are sad.

    It was a time when any gift under the tree on Christmas morning was adored and accepted with joy.

    It was a time when homemade candies and pies were made for the family celebration.

    When the same decorations from previous years were used, even through several bulbs were burned out.

    It was a time of laughter, fun, and cheer.

    When the Christmas tree was real, but not anywhere near even.

    It was a time when an older sister tucked you in bed, after you fell asleep on the floor trying to stay awake so you could see Santa.

    It was a time when the simplest of gifts were given with a lifetime of love. Like a real silver dollar, or a home-made hand-painted tomahawk. I broke the tomahawk in a big battle, but I still have the silver dollar.

    It was a time when life was hard, but your parents kept that from you.

    It was a time none of us want to return to, but one forever burned into our memory.

    I wonder how my children will look back on Christmases past. Is there anything I've given them they'll treasure for a lifetime?

  7. I haven't felt the 'Christmas spirit' in 25 years. And it really irks me that people give me a hard time about it. So what? Give me a break. I'm not crazy about Thanksgiving, either. Or the Fourth of July, or Arbor Day, or... I can usually find something about any old day to make myself happy, even if it's just those increasingly rare times I can pile up on the couch and watch an old movie in peace.

  8. Sometimes I wonder where all these expectations come from? Our society has created some kind of mold and tells us we're all supposed to feel the same, act the same, and run around like little robotic elf clones.

    But I say;
    Christmas cannot be confined to a single day, and it certainly cannot be bought. You can't schedule it or prepare for it. Christmas occurs when someone reaches out in a genuine spirit of love and does something nice for another person without expecting anything in return. It could be April, July, or September, but at that moment, without any fanfare or commercialization, quietly works it's magic within the hearts of human beings.

    I wish you peace, love, and restful dreams. God bless you, my friends.

  9. I see I am not alone having trouble getting into the holiday spirit. I only just finished putting a few ornaments on the main tree so that it wouldn’t look naked when the family comes over later this week. I have yet to wrap a single gift. I’m just not feeling it. Where did all my spirit sweep off to? I used to get so joyous during this season. Now I’m just so blah.  Everything comes down to rush, rush, rush. I don’t want to feel that way. I need to just slow down and find the simpler things to take enjoyment in.