Sunday, November 30, 2008

All that glitters

It must be some sort of record that there's a tree in my house before December. It's only half-decorated, but I'm hoping early for some of the magic of the lights and baubles to improve what is lately a hard time of year for me.

At some point, the holidays became less about magic and hope and celebration and more about rushing around and obligations and ridiculous expectations. I feel terribly selfish for it, but I almost want to just skip the whole production.

Scandalous, I know.

The DH has had his radio tuned to the *24 hour-round-the-clock-make-you-insane-all-Christmas-music-all-the-time* radio station for two weeks now. I've growled at him often enough that he just quietly changes it to something less offensive in my presence. He reminded me the other day that we practically wore out a tape of favorite Christmas music on our honeymoon. Our Christmastime wedding, all hollyberries and seasonal cheer, guarantees that I should forever have the Christmas spirit, right?


I'm less confused by my change of heart than he, but can't easily explain the tarnish that's come over the season. There's a lot less innocent belief, less love for the ritual, less hope for the power of one day on the calendar to make things what we wish them to be.

What's left feels false. And forced. And not at all golden.

This horribly depressing post brought to you courtesy of days of rain and gray gloom. Rather than the twinkly lights of a Xmas tree... I think I may need a raging bonfire to improve my mood... or a short vacation to the tropics.



bunnygirl said...

Maybe you just need a hug and some time with the critters. :-)

bobbie said...

The sad news of shoppers trampling people, etc. certainly hasn't added to the festivity. Terrorism and war do not help us either. I think we have to take a deep breath, slow down, and remember that No - this is NOT what it's all about. Try to simplify your approach to it all. 24 hour Christmas music does NOT help!
You tree is going to be lovely. Hug your husband, and think happy thoughts. Then tell me what I'm going to do about it.

Kallen305 said...

Some of these feelings are normal. We, especially as women, tend to over stress and worry around the holidays. We want them to be perfect and put the buren of perfection on ourselves. Just take it a day at a time and keep doing the things you enjoy (like looking at Christmas lights). I have a feeling some of this will lesson in a week or so and you will start feeling like your usual self again.

Go on over to Jayne's blog and see what she is doing to lesson some of the stress of the holdays. I wish I could do that, but I am too much like you and will try and tackle everything at once.

Jennifer said...

Oh believe me I can relate! I can be quite the scrooge at this time of year. I actually love Thanksgiving... it seems like a more sane and thoughtful holiday. The commercialism of the rest of the season sure can get me down... Though I do like the way our downtown looks with all the twinkling lights and snow...

Jayne said...

It just came upon us so much faster this year, or maybe it's that I am getting older? This is the first year I feel absolutely NO stress about it all. Wishing you some warm sunshine on your face Laura, even if it's frigid outside! Hugs to you!

Ruth said...

"rushing around and obligations and ridiculous expectations"...
That ruins it for me too. I think men take on less of the garbage that is associated with the season. A nice bonfire by a cabin deep in the woods...I wish.

Yolanda said...

I totally agree with you. Then money is slim for us and also since losing my family except for my husband and sister it hasn't felt like christmas in years.

Barbara said...

Take a "Christmas" vacation....but not necessarily one that requires you to leave the house! I am also a person who usually runs around and tries to do EVERYTHING and to the utmost of expectations. But a favorite quote from Wayne Dyer comes back to me...."just allow". So I agree with the other posters who have suggested the "simple" things. If you don't want to do it, then don't! Skip a party, skip the normal rituals - do it YOUR way. If people don't understand then that is really THEIR issue and not yours. I also suggest taking a meditation class if you haven't tried it. Then "just allow" the season to unfold as it does without you trying to steer it in a direction that you feel is "required". You may be surprised...
And don't forget, you are not alone! Many of us women have come to exactly where you are - guess that means it's time to change something about the holiday to better reflect your life and current thoughts about it. Take care and if something doesn't make you feel good or add a positive in your life, change it! :)

NCmountainwoman said...

Quit rushing around, forget some of those "obligations," and lower your expectations. You do not have to display every Christmas decoration you own. You do not have to attend every cocktail party with people you may not even like.

Make up some little white lies such as "Luka got into something and has been throwing up and I don't want to leave him." Use the lies to keep you home when you'd really rather not go out.

In short, condense your activities to things you REALLY WANT to do and dismiss the others. Sit back with DH and Luka and relax. It's your anniversary and your Christmas. Don't let other people's expectations ruin it. Relax and enjoy.

Hmm...perhaps I need to change my name to wise old ncmountainwoman. :)

ReluctantChickenFarmer said...

I have always harbored this fantasy of strapping a small Christmas Tree to the roof of the car and driving to some "ski lodge" or something of the sort and celebrating Christmas in a quiet kinda way. No hustle. No bustle. No trampling of shoppers to get that $5 bargain. No traffic jams. God no shopping malls. Someday, maybe someday, we could just pack a couple of decorations and head for the hills and celebrate the the holiday its meant to be celebrated. Quiet, warm, cozy fire, twinklie tree, eggs, bacon, pancakes and cocoa. And of course Brian breaking somebodies gift. LOL

ReluctantChickenFarmer said...

I apologize for the bad spelling and grammar in my last posting. Maybe my sister will get me a Thesarus (thats' spelled wrong I know it !)for Christmas. Sometimes you write and your fingers don't connect directly to your brain, but you still see the sentence the way you thought it. Strange the way the mind works sometimes. I could use a new one of those for Christmas too.

ReluctantChickenFarmer said...

Oh, and one more thing.....

To find Christmas again, you need to clear away underneath the tree. Lay down, with your head underneath and stare up through the decorated and lit branches. I always did that as a kid. Looks dopey as an adult, but who really cares what the psychiatrist thinks, you are on a mission to find Christmas again.

ReluctantChickenFarmer said...

Oh and in other words ...

If you are trying to rediscover Hanukkah, don't try doing the last post with a Menorah. Your face gets burned with hot wax.

KGMom said...

Try spiked eggnog. Oh, heck, forget the eggnog and just have the spike.

Susan Gets Native said...

I'm with Donna. Liquor is a great mood-lifter.

Good grief, Laura!
I like Chicken Farmer's suggestion. Guess it's lucky you aren't Jewish. You'd be on fire.
: )

LauraHinNJ said...

Bunnygirl: Maybe, yeah. Though they're all shedding now and making me sneeze like crazy!

Bobbie: Thanks.

(Thinking happy thoughts....)

Kallen: Thanks... I'm fine. Just like to play at crankiness once in a while.


Jennifer: What's funny is that there's not so much for me to do, actually, but more the feeling that I should be doing something!


I love the decorations that some towns do also... a nice way to cheer up the neighborhood.

Jayne: Yeah... I think I do need a little more sunshine!

Ruth: I don't know... anymore if the DH doesn't do it... well it doesn't happen so I can't complain about that. I think the stress is something we do to ourselves and can undo if we think of it right.

Yolanda: Yeah, there's that... realizing how many people aren't with you anymore can make it a sad time.

Barbara: Hi! Thanks for your sound advice. I try to be that way, really I do! It's the feeling guilty for it that's hard to take.

Yoga and exercise and time in the woods is what calms me. Important not to miss that stuff at this time of year.

NCMountainWoman: lol! You make it sound so easy, tho!


ReluctantChickenFarmer: Hi Kev. You keep talking about that running off somewhere idea, but it never happens! We've no excuse not to at least try it some year... the worst that could happen is maybe Judy gets lost in a snowbank?


I remember spending every night of chrsitmas vacation sleeping on the couch in front of the tree - it was such a treat to do that!

I'll try your suggestion... maybe take a pic to remind me, too.

(I think maybe you are turning into Neil in more ways than you probably care to admit. That "in other words" ran a chill down my spine!)


KGMom: I'll try your suggestion, too!


LauraHinNJ said...

Susan: lol!

The chicken farmer is my brother and he's pretty nuts. Has probably tried that menorah trick he mentioned, too.

Deb said...

Hi Laura- I tried to leave a comment yesterday but it wasn't working. Just wanted to let you know I feel the same way. Just the other day I was thinking how sad it was that I actually dread this time of year.

Mary said...

Laura, I struggle with the same feelings. We're not kids anymore but we do recognize Christmas Day for its real meaning.

I think what really bothers me is all the hype about a joyous holiday, full of parties and cheer, champagne, party dresses, diamond jewelry, and glee. We are bombarded with it through the media and everywhere we go, when, in fact, few of us experience that... At least I don't... So, am I disadvantaged, a poor old soul?

I'll decorate my house this weekend and hope to feel the spirit in a quiet way, like I always do. Twinkle lights :o)


Dr. Know said...

Hi, Laura,

Just stopped by to express my appreciation for your visit and inquiries as to my well being. I am alive and still here (drinking coffee from my Cape May Lighthouse mug). ;-)

Stopped blogging during the summer due to a decreasing amount of time available and a general disgust with the lunacy of the human condition. And as your post reflects, an aversion to the falsity and contrived nature of what people reguard as a holiday.

A spring day in a wooded area, surrounded by enlightened minds is more my idea of a holiday. Blind, media fueled, rampant consumption of pointless imported junk, bridled only by a tanking economy and job losses, is hardly anything to celebrate. And neither are publicly funded, trillion dollar bailouts given to the same traitorous maggots who precipitated our current situation. We have become a nation of authoritarian, narcissistic sheep ruled by thugs and criminals.

So you are welcome to call me Scrooge. ;-)

Have a joyous holiday season, Laura - really. And Thanks.

LauraHinNJ said...

Deb: Hi. Funny, but I imagine that living where you do, it'd be much easier to avoid all that crap.

Mary: Twinkle lights work magic!

LauraHinNJ said...

Dr. Know: Jeesh... it's good to know you're alive, at least!


(And in good form, I see.)

Best wishes to you, too. Think of that spring day in the woods, in the meantime.

Dr. Know said...

Sorry, didn't mean to offend with my openly hostile attitude towards the fallacy of the human condition. I think society calls my condition advanced curmudgeonness these days. And the only cure would be ernest compassion, and a genuine soulmate - which I haven't seen hide nor hare of since 1987.

My advise? Never trust a GA politician, nor a lawyer of any stripe. But I digress....

You are truly a sweetheart. Even if you do live in NJ. (Which seems to garner more than its share of criticism from the media.) LOL!

Warmth, hugs and kisses for your holiday season,