Every year, the “holiday” stuff seems to come out earlier and earlier. Now, don’t get me wrong; I love the holiday season. All of it. The music, the lights, the decorations, the food…but the one little irritant for me is the timing. I like to revel in each one of them, to immerse myself in the fun and the spirit of them, but I like to do so one. at. a. time. Halloween is a favorite holiday of mine. I don’t want to hear Rudolph and his one horse, open sleigh while I’m carving pumpkins. No, no, and no.
Thanksgiving was just perfect this year. I worked at home on Wednesday such that I could supervise my amazing sous chefs. They helped me get the stuff that needed to be cooked in the oven done, along with a few other things. That way on Thursday, all I had to do was do the turkey and a few other last minute things. My family had gone to Golden Boy’s house, so it was just us and the Teacher. She has been with me every Thanksgiving for several years now, since her family is on the west coast. I love having her; she is part of my family. The Artist’s ex-boyfriend came too, because his fucktarded parents went to spend the weekend with family in NY and left him home, despite the fact that he loves going up there. Why, you ask, would they do such a stupid, mean thing? Because someone had to watch the dogs. It’s too expensive to kennel them. *blink* Yeah. That’s what I said, too. So anyhow, it was the 7 of us, and it was blissful. No stress, no drama, just relaxation and great food. The Teacher and I hung out on the couch and chatted, I did some online xmas shopping, scoring Black Friday deals without setting foot outside my door. (More on this later.) The Professor worked on calculus and a paper, The Ambassador watched football with the Scientist and trash talked his friend. The Artist chilled with The Ex and all was mellow.
I have been absolutely bound and determined that I would have a low-stress holiday season. People bitch and whine every year about “hating the holidays” and whatever; I don’t really listen because I don’t really care. I have three coworkers who are notorious for this; it’s almost become comical now, because we make fun of them quite a bit over it amongst ourselves. The holidays, like any other day, are what you make it. If you allow it to be an overwhelming thing, that’s your own fault. No one forces you at gunpoint to do anything. One of the coworkers is particularly fond of regaling us with stories of how stressed she is because she has to host a craft party for her neighborhood, and she has to have an open house for her entire family the weekend after Christmas, and it goes on and on. Stop acting like a damn victim and take some responsibility in your life. If you’re overscheduled, learn to say “No.” There is no excuse for getting in a snit over a season of friends and family and joy unless you personally get caught up in the bullshit that’s out there.
I know that my schedule is generally chaotic; I have an hour commute each way every day. Physically, my legs do not tolerate jostling crowds and long lines well. And really, my budget cannot handle doing all of the shopping that I choose to do for people in one month. So I get stuff ahead of time, I scour online sales, and I have nearly all of my shopping done. I scaled down my card list — if I don’t get a card back after two consecutive years, I drop your name. I’m not doing it to be snarky, but I truly want to exchange cards and photos and letters with people who actually want to hear from me and want me to hear about them. Like most people, I can be slack at letter writing and such, so the Christmas card can be used as a “catch up” kind of thing. Facebook has been a great toy that’s allowed me to reconnect with old friends from HS and college. I love hearing from them! So even if I don’t necessarily exchange cards, we can keep in touch there. I decorate in small doses, wrap in small doses, and refuse to succumb to the crap.
The holiday season is about friend and family. Take the time to tell the people you love how you feel. Stop whining about how you have to do this, and you have to go there. If your entire season is about you bitching about how you hate everything, then you, not everyone else, is missing the entire fucking point. Do not give a gift out of obligation. If you choose to give a gift, think about it. Give something that reminds you of that person, or something you know the person would love. Have a budget? Stick to it. Gifts don’t have to be expensive to mean something. Don’t want to give gifts? Then don’t. Sometimes your time is more important. There doesn’t have to be anything to it.
As for me, I have tube lights wrapped around the length of the ski racks on my van. People will make snide comments and roll their eyes at me, but then there are people on the highway who do a double-take and smile and wave. I’ve just improved their day for a second. We make a family outing out of going to the mountains to cut down a tree; it’s not about getting the biggest or best tree. It’s about spending the 2 hour drive with the kids talking, tramping around in the snow being goofy, arguing over the tree, coming to an agreement, and then spending the 2 hour return trip talking and laughing as a family. It’s about time, people. It’s about my kids remembering that their parents stopped their busy lives to focus on them for the whole day.
So my point, after all of my obnoxious bitching, is that the holidays are what you make them. And my holidays will be about the people I love knowing how much I love them. So the laundry will wait next Saturday while the Professor and her two best buddies come home for the weekend to bake cookies. I will choose sappy “mom” gifts for all three of my kids that they may roll their eyes at now, but somehow I think they will keep forever. I’ll stop on the way home to help my mom put up her decorations. I’ll hold my silence and attend the Scientist’s holiday dinner with a smile, despite my absolute abhorrence for his boss.
I wish everyone a fun, joyful, and peaceful holiday season, whether or not you choose to accept it. =)