Christmas Rises Again

Feeling fashionably cynical about Christmas?  Puttin’ on the snarky tone when you talk about it?  Or (secretly) enjoying running the list down of things to do/places to go/concerts to attend/things to buy?  Not me.  Not this year.

Yes, I admit, I’ve been overwhelmed in the past and secretly thought how amazing it would be to slip onto a plane or a boat or into a car and head off for a private, quiet, non-stressful holiday somewhere like the middle of the ocean or the Snow Lodge at Yellowstone.  Exchange 1 gift with my husband, then take a nap.  Christmas in a hot tub….now that’s the spirit.

I spent years deliriously joyful about it all–baking every cookie and treat possible, giving multiple gifts beautifully wrapped, running church musicals, playing for as many as 5 services Christmas Eve/Christmas Day, and feeling like zombie woman long into January when I finally mustered the energy to take the (really grossly dusty) decorations down. 

The next stage was the slightly resentful downsized version–less decorations, less treats, still the same gifts, less concert involvement, more grumbling about the whole thing.  That wasn’t really the optimum way to enter the season.  Still working too hard at it but not enjoying much of it.

So I sat down and thought about it all.  What were the really, really good bits of it?  Sitting around the Advent candles in the dark watching my children’s faces as we talked about the prophecies of the Old Testament; ringing Salvation Army bells outside the mall with loud, insane groups of singing teen-agers banging on various assorted percussion instruments; looking at the tree in the evening with a glass of wine; eating the first piece of fudge (admittedly more shallow than the other things but truly a great moment in the holiday season).  So why not do more of that and less of other things?  Easier said than done, right?

So how to handle it this year?  Trying to put the first things first….scheduling the bell-ringing before other things jump into the schedule.  Buying less gifts (still unfortunately spending the same, though–young-adult children are EXPENSIVE!).  Changing up the decorations and simplifying (you mean you don’t have to put everything out every year?!).  Starting cards early.

Will it work?  I have no idea.  I’m sure I’ll still be rushed and a little resentful by the end.  I just think that if I put the big, good things in first, maybe some of the other little time-wasters will be displaced and just disappear, unregretted, without a trace.  After all, 7 kinds of treats are probably plenty, don’t you think?

Wishing you all a merry Christmas.  Peace and joy to you all.  No matter what your belief, I believe we all could use more of love and hope.  And besides–at the risk of offending you, the Baby was born to bring hope to all mankind.  That’s not a threat or fightin’ words.  That’s just a promise.  Image