I’m a little of both.
Christmas these days seems more like an assault.
I’ve been listening to Christmas music since the first week of October; a huge assault on my sense of hearing, not to mention sanity. Don’t get me wrong, I love most Christmas music. But the reason they call it “Christmas music” is because it’s supposed to be shared at (drum roll) Christmas. By the time mid-December arrives, I’m so sick of it I could scream.
The season brings an assault of Christmas commercials. Some are pretty cute but most are far from it. I think I’ve seen at least 90 diamond jewelry commercials and I barely watch television. I’ve seen Christmas advertisements for cars, cleaners, electricians, clothes, guns, shoes and home roofing. And by the way, these ads started in late September. It’s enough already!
Christmas has become such an industry. Buying the tree (good luck finding one under 75 bucks), cool tree ornaments, wrapping paper, presents, cards, more presents, food, liquor, decorations, gift cards, tips, party dresses (complete with new shoes, of course), office gift exchanges, the assault on our wallets never ends.
When you’re a child, Christmas is about the wonder of the season. It’s about visiting Santa, licking the bowl when cookies are made, warm fires and lots of friends and of course, Christmas morning and opening presents.
When you’ve past a certain age, Christmas stops being about expectations and tends to be more about change. Lots of it. If you haven’t gotten there yet, let me share with you that Christmas future is nothing like Christmas past.
In days of old, I would decorate our 3 story house to the hilt, light up the outside of the house so that flying aircraft could identify it, wrap each splendid gift elaborately (and there were many of them) and have many a Christmas gathering of friends and neighbors.
These days I barely decorate at all; a wreath on the door, seasonal candles in the candles sticks and some lit garland on the staircase. If I do put up a tree it’s not real. No fresh pine smell, no needles clogging my vacuum through July and no water stain on the carpet (actually it’s pretty awesome).
I am no longer assaulted by the ignorant notion that bigger is better. I no longer have the 6,000 square foot house, the large parties, the extravagant gift giving. My Christmas is celebrated more calmly in less square footage, with less hoopla and with a lot more heart. I now share my holiday with my Hanukkah loving man. An adjustment to say the least but as they say, change is good. They were right.
The fact is; the family I began my life with is not the family I now have. Deaths, divorce, the moving of friends, the growing up of my beautiful daughter, it is indeed a different day. My family now is what I’ve gathered along the way, mixing old and new, friends and relatives, beloved pets. It took effort and yet it was effortless and what I am left with I am blessed to have.
It’s groundbreaking for me, but I am breaking out of every Christmas tradition I’ve known and this year I will spend the holiday traveling. Traveling big.
I’ve never been to Europe, I’ve always wanted to go. I’m not sure what I’ve been waiting for, but I’m thinking it would be good to go while I don’t need a walker to get around.
The wonderful man I share my life with and my daughter and her wonderful man will be embarking on a trip to Spain in a few days. We will spend our holiday abroad. What an awesome new tradition!
So for the next couple of weeks I shall be in incognito (um, that means out of touch). I shall miss chatting with you, and I will garner some wonderful topics to talk with you and I truly hope you will be here when I get back.
Until then, I hope that you have a most wonderful Christmas and Hanukkah or whatever else your heart celebrates. I hope you survive the assaults wailed at you during the holiday. I wish for you to find yourself safe with those you love and with hopes that you are able to put the stresses of the year behind you as you gear up for 2012. But most of all I hope you enjoy the moment of Christmas present, for it will never come again.
Happy Christmas, Merry Hanukkah and a glorious holiday to all!