9 days. I’ve got 9 days to finish everything. Wrap and mail packages to relatives far away. Purchase, wrap and hide gifts for the lights of my life. Finish putting up the rest of the Christmas decorations, which at this point feels ridiculous as I only have to take it all back down again in 2.5 weeks. At least the tree is up (sans the angel … where is that ladder??) and the stockings are hung (not necessarily with care …).
Year after year, I am a dedicated Christmas enthusiast. On the day following Thanksgiving, I implore my darling hubby to drag the green and red bins out of the basement and I set to the task of bedazzling every spare inch of my home. My husband refers to it as a “vomit of Christmas”.
This year, what the heck? I have no spirit. At all. Christmas Joy has left my building.
Partially, I am sure it is that we spent September through Thanksgiving in the throes of the kitchen remodel. My house was upside down and inside out. I finally got it all finished and put back together neatly just in time for the turkey festivities. The last thing I felt like doing was messing it up again in order to decorate. So, I procrastinated.
Another part of the dilemma, I am certain, was the loss of my beloved cat. I know, I know. He was a cat. But he was my cat and my companion for 19 years of trauma and joy. I miss him terribly. Still. (Pause to blow nose and wipe tears.) It kills me because I know it is illogical and that I just need to “get over it”. I also know that this is real mourning, and you can think me a sentimental old fool or whatever … but I need time to recover and Christmas “joy” is not part of that recovery.
Lastly, I ended up in the hospital a short time ago, thanks to eating crap food for several months. Apparently, when gluten is something you are sensitive to and you completely ignore that fact and eat whatever the hell you want, problems may occur. Big, fat, bloody intestinal problems. And pain. A whole lot of pain. It’s done now, the infection has been defeated with the use of some very effective antibiotics. I, however, am left with a very messed up digestive system and I need to find my way back to a completely gluten free existence. Quickly. When surrounded with Christmas cookies while facing a social calendar filled with Super Supper events, it makes things a bit less … joyful. That and the elimination of alcohol. Serious bummer that. Means I have to actually pay attention to the brilliant minds around me and am expected to involve myself in the intelligent conversation regarding things I have no interest in.
It was so much easier to just get drunk.
Here’s the thing: I am not ready for this holiday, but I have a son who I have raised to believe that all magic happens in December. For him, the fact that the house is half decorated is discouraging. I have 3 Advent calendars annually for him to enjoy. This year we started the Advent calendars on December 13th because I was that delinquent. One of them, the Lego one, I had to order online from freakin’ KOREA because they sold out here and I couldn’t stand the look of disappointment on my son’s face. He told me they were out the beginning of November. I couldn’t be bothered because there was too much else to get through. Live and learn. The 2nd is (now) a retelling of the “12 Days of Christmas” with little gifts and candies, one for each day … “On the 1st day of Christmas my parents gave to me …” etc. (I am a bit proud of that one as it makes the limited days of the advent calendar this year a little more fun.) The final is filled with quotes and messages from me to him. Every year, I find things I want him to know about himself, about the world, and write them on little sheets of daily wisdom for the 24 days of Advent. This year, only 12 days of wisdom. *sigh*
Despite my own desire to curl into a ball and forget this month exists, I have to find a way to make it wonderful and fun and …magical … because that is what I want for Ian. He is 11 … I don’t have many more years of magic. I lost Santa a few years ago, although none of us actually acknowledges it (when you quit believing, Christmas changes, so we all say we believe, no matter where the truth lies). I’ve not done a very good job of the religious aspect (a whole new subject for a whole new blog entry on another day) and we have no family near us. Just we 3, here, creating our own traditions.
- Christmas decorations up the day after Thanksgiving
- Advent calendars
- Christmas Eve Chinese dinner followed by a drive around town looking for the best light displays
- Open 1 gift each on Christmas eve (every year, new PJ’s, so we look nice for morning photos)
- Cookies & eggnog for Santa; carrots for the reindeer (we still do it, even if, well, you know …)
That’s it. I’ve messed up the 1st two, but hopefully I can make the last 3 better than before.
And maybe, just maybe, uncover a little of the joy that has been buried by circumstances.