Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Grinch no more

Let me be perfectly clear. I am a Holiday Hater. Generally, some time in the fall (it gets earlier and earlier every year) I see the first Christmas decoration go up or the first ad for Christmas shopping and I suddenly feel like there's a stone weight in my chest. It dissipates some time in early January (for us the holiday season doesn't really end until my boyfriend's mother's birthday). But for months, I'm unhappy and tense and I make my boyfriend tiptoe around me and my children shift away from me on the couch whenever a Christmas ad comes on TV (which is a lot) with just the tension that is vibrating off me in nearly palpable waves. Plus don't get me started on all the weight gain . . .

I have tried and tried to get some holiday spirit, to find something in the season that didn't make me grit my teeth and growl. There was the year that I played nothing but Christmas songs in my car from Thanksgiving to Christmas because I love to sing and a lot of those songs are fun.

Didn't work. It just made my children start to cry every time they heard Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and gave me serious ear worms all day.

There were the years that I decorated the house inside and out because having grown up Jewish, we didn't do that and I always thought people's Christmas trees were beautiful.

Didn't work. It just made me trip over stuff in my already over-crowded house and gave me bad dreams about the Christmas tree bursting into flames in the middle of the night.

There was the year I thought I'd get in touch with the Christmas spirit by hand-making all the gifts.

Didn't work. It just meant late nights trying to get everything done and who really wants hand-made gifts anyway?

Suddenly, however, this year, I'm not feeling so Grinchy. I don't know what it is, but I've already decided not to spend hours stressing trying to get the perfect gift for each person. I'll do my best and if it's not good enough, well, it'll still have to do. I can sing a few Christmas carols, but it doesn't have to be constant. I can have a piece of fudge, but I don't have to bury my face in the dish and eat the whole thing.

It's early yet. My serenity could be stripped away from me. It happens. But at least the rock hasn't formed in my chest yet. I like the sound of Molly's Christmas story (what a surprise, since I think she's a fabulous writer and a terrific human being) and the idea of reading about someone who has a love/hate relationship with holiday traditions.

Happy Holiday to all of you. Congratulations to whichever one of you commenters wins a copy of Molly's fabulous book. And if any of you have any hints on how to maintain my serenity through the next few weeks, please let me know!


Molly O'Keefe said...

It's so funny isn't it, when suddenly you just change your position on something for no discernable reason. Zen is contanstantly slipping through my grasp but my one sure fire way to get it back is a super hot shower. So hot it hurts initially and then your body gets numb to the pain. oh man - it just makes me feel so good.

And here's another gift for you = chances are you are a devout follower already - but I am new to this woman and her pictures of kids and babies and cowboys and sunsets - kills me. The food ain't bad either...and she's funny. She reminds me of you Eileen.


Eileen said...

You are not the first person to send me the Pioneer Woman, but it's been a while since I've gone to her site! I'll have to look for that cookbook.

Maureen McGowan said...

Oh, I love the pioneerwoman, too. Although I don't visit as often as I should.

I've been a bit of a holiday grinch these past few years and I think it's a combination of the time pressure and the realization that the holidays have changed for me over the past 5 or so years. A lot.
I'm thinking the zen place is just embracing that change and trying to take the pressure off and just let the days be what they want to be.

(Plus, I think this year, I'll be working because of killer deadlines.)

Eileen said...

Ooh! I love the deadline excuse. "So sorry. Can't help. On deadline." It's a nice little mantra.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Used to love them, now I hate them. I think it has something to do with getting to old for gifts. I had the greatest Xmas as a kid. Piles of toys and gifts. Amazing cookies and food.

But my mother is too old to shop for me (I'm too old to get toys) and all I do give $$ to my nieces and nephews.

Xmas is a hassle. Nothing more. So you go sing your carols Eileen - I'll hold down the fort with figuring out to get those crazy HOOS!

Eileen said...

I'm fighting it, Steph, but I know what you mean. It always seems like so much work and I never felt like I'd done enough.

Sinead M said...

Gah, I'm the grinch this year too and normally I'm so excited for Christmas, but this year it's just work.
We don't have room in our overstuffed house for a tree, we don't have room for more toys and seeing family means my kids will be off schedule and more crazy than normal...

I want to go south with just my hubby and my drunk writer pals and drink my face off at a swim up bar.

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