You’re either the person who loves the Christmas season or you are the person who is over it before it starts.
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!
Judith Briles - I love Barcelona… have a fabulous trip… I’m with you on this one!
Liz - Enjoy your first trip to Europe. Spain is wonderful…..looking forward to hearing from you when you get back. Safe journey!
Happy Christmas and Merry Hanukkah to you all.
Laura Lee Carter aka the Midlife Crisis Queen - WONDERFUL!!! I LOVE Europe!
Never been to Spain, but Venice is my favorite place in the whole world.
Go make some new traditions, girl!
Love, Laura Lee
Tammy - Laura Lee, I will enjoy it all like it’s my job! Thanks for the post. Hope you have a very merry one!
Tammy - Liz, so very excited and nervous. I packed a little zip lock bag of goodies; candy, nuts, dried apples, etc. Just learned that I can’t take them past security. Bah-Humbug! And so it begins! Have a wonderful holiday with your family. We shall have lots to talk about when I get back.
Tammy - Judith, thanks! We will be spending a few days in Barcelona. So hugely excited and a bit nervous. I envision your lovely home, huge tree and every room in the house decorated to the max. Wonderful! A very merry to you, John and your family. Thanks for being here. See ya when I get back!
Joan Cooper - I remember my first ‘open your eyes now’ experience when I was a child and saw my first lighted Christmas tree. I don’t think I have ever had a more thrilling experience – and I have had some thrilling experiences.
Life today is exhausting. The media bombards us with so much we never used to hear, and our brains and hearts have to digest it all and we can’t. Years ago, there was a book called “Future Shock”. It was about the volume of information growing in our world and that we simply were not built to handle it. I realize that more and more. What better relaxation than to travel to a far off seashore and detach. Not detox – detach.
Have a wonderful trip.
Cindy buehler - Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah,
This is the ultimate celebration of the season and of life, to go on this awsome adventure with your loved ones. I truly believe God wants us to see as much of the world as we can. Be safe and be blessed.
Marcia Nichols - I just “finished” decorating….I know, it’s a little late, and before I know it I’ll be schlepping it all back to the store room. I tried to convince myself that I didn’t need the decor, didn’t need to spend the time prepping the house for the holidays. Then I realized that I love the garland and the little white lights, I love the smell of the tree and the memory that each treasured ornament brings to mind. It’s worth my effort and the back pain that results.
Some day I will stop. Someday I will go to my kids’ homes for Christmas, and I won’t be doing this anymore. Until that time, I’ll enjoy the memories in my home that come with each Santa and wreath and thank God that I’m able to do it.
Enjoy your trip!!! Barcelona is magnificent (don’t miss the harbor) and Madrid is magical (check out the Royal Palace) if you are heading that direction. I look forward to hearing all about it!
Mac - Tammy, nice post.
Welcome to Europe (when you get here). Even though Spain is going through a highly challenging time, right now, I’m sure you will enjoy it.
Barcelona is one of my favourite cities. You’ll love the architecture and the tapas.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year when it comes.
Best wishes, Mac.
Steve - Great post, Tammy—and, regarding your approach to the season, good for you. Have a ball in Spain…or at least a pelota.
Talk to you soon!
kellie kennedy - Tammy
Even though I will be ripping down the tree 30
seconds after January 1st, (due to being sick of looking at the decorations,dusting them, hearing xmas music)the holidays are my favorite time of the year. The holidays have changed for me over
the years, now only spending with
parents and one
aunt(dad’s sister) no other immediate family. The rest are friends. Being only single sybling ( no children of my own adds a different feel to the
Holiday. So I made my own. We will be celebrating this Xmas Eve at my parents house with a combination of their friends and mine … a new normal and tradition. Happy holidays!
Delia - Lovely post, Tammy! We’ve been keeping the celebration of holidays pretty simple… Of course, with kids, it is challenging. But I think that by talking to them, spending time together, plus a few little gifts on the side, haha, we are getting them to understand the real value of the holidays. Glad that you are taking the time to relax. Have a wonderful vacation!
Tammy - Joan, there is nothing that can compare to the childhood memory of Christmas. Life today IS exhausting and somehow Christmas has joined the fray. It was a time of calm, family, visitations and simple gifts. Not anymore. I’ve discovered that less really is more. Who knew!? Yes, we will completely detach. I’m not taking my computer. What? Did I really just say that? OMG, I’m breaking out in a rash already! Thanks for posting, have a wonderful holiday.
Tammy - Cindy, if you are right, and God does want us to see his world … well, I better get crackin! I agree this trip is so special because the people special to me are going with me. Have a blessed holiday and I’ll see you when I get back. Thanks for posting, love hearing from you.
Tammy - Marcia, I get you. Christmas decorating can bring tons of happiness and memories. I still have many of the handmade ornaments that Amanda and I made and some of the special ones that came home from school with her. I will part with those things when you pry then from my cold dead hands. You are right, some day you will be going to your kid’s house for Christmas. No rush, until then it sounds like you are in wonderful bliss continuing your tradition. It is worth it. A very Merry Christmas to you, Marcia, and to your beautiful family.
Tammy - Mac, oh, I’m so excited, we leave tomorrow. Perhaps we should look you up and stop by for dinner. Kidding, just kidding. Spain is having a very difficult time at the moment, not unlike the rest of the world. I read that the unemployment is up to 20+% and it makes me think that we American’s should quit our bitching. I am so looking forward to experiencing the beauty and wonder of the country, its people and their traditions. I am a first timer and am hoping to become a frequent visitor. Thanks for being here, love having you. And let me know what we can bring to dinner (hee hee).
Tammy - Steve, thanks, I will have a pelota for you, my friend. Have a wonderful holiday. Great having you here, hope I see you here again soon. Thanks for the post!
Tammy - Kellie, hahaha, they say that the two best days of Christmas is getting the tree and taking it down. I can relate. Kudos’ to you for making your own celebration! I am an only child and have an only child. I understand what it means to be a small family. I always told my daughter that we may be a small family but we are a mighty one. I suspect the same holds true for you. A very merry Christmas to you and yours. Thanks for the post…see ya when I get back.
Tammy - Delia, I must confess that I often was unable to meet the challenge of keeping Christmas the small meaningful holiday it was meant to be. Hard to do when you have a child. We all get caught up in the giving. A blessing and a curse. You’re right … it IS challenging. So happy to have you here and so enjoyed your post. I will enjoy our adventure. Am starting to get butterfly’s in my stomach – we depart tomorrow. Hope to see you here again in the future; you are a delight to be sure. Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Maureen - Lucky lady, I can’t wait to hear about Spain!!
Was in Walgreens last weekend…they have VALENTINE’S candy hearts available already…SHEESH, give me a break already!!
Kris Henderson - Can’t wait to hear of your NEW Christmas adventure!
cheryl - Tammy,
Have been thinking of you. Hope your trip to Europe was all you hoped for.
Glad the holidays are over except for missing Michael——–wish he would decide to move home——–not going to happen. It was a nice time, and, yes, it is nice not to feel the pressure to do all the decorating and cooking——-and shopping. We keep it pretty simple these days. For me, the holidays are a time to be aware and thankful for the life I have. In fact, these days I’m reminded of that often.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!
Tammy - Cheryl, Sounds like you had a peaceful and family filled holiday. Brings to mind that no matter how grown up our kids get, we still miss the hell out of them when they are not with us. Tough business. I think we’ve both discovered that holidays are a time to reflect and be grateful. You know this because you are wise. I know this because life beat me over the head with the lesson. I got it now and I’m grateful for the knowing. Happy New Year to you, my friend. Let us be hopeful.
Michelle D Keyes - Awesome post. I just had to comment because the date you posted this on (12/21) is my birthday. lol But I definitely agree with you about Christmas.
Tammy - Happy belated birthday, Michelle. Hope it was grand!