So This is Christmas...

Arrive at Airport
Wait in Airport
Fly from Nashville to Cincinnati
Wait in Airport
Fly from Cincinnati to Newark
Drive to Garfield
Drive to Erie
Drive to Nana and Papa’s
Drive to Uncle Clark’s
Drive to Jennifer’s
Drive to Kimberly’s
Drive back to Nana and Papa’s
Drive to Aunt Linda’s
Drive back to Garfield
Drive to Newark
Wait in Airport
Fly from Newark to Cincinnati
Wait in Airport
Fly from Cincinnati to Nashville

Okay, so that’s not representative of my ENTIRE Christmas holiday but, man, it sure felt like it! Despite my overwhelming (some might say annoying) enthusiasm for the Christmas season, the actual "day-of" holiday rituals just leave me bone-weary and stressed. For as long as I can remember, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have been all about traveling and bustling around in an insane effort to see as many familiar (and sometimes not-so-familiar) faces as humanly possible. This ridiculous phenomenon has only become more pronounced the older and farther away I get. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to enjoy a relaxing Christmas holiday on my own schedule; to celebrate how I want, when I want and with the people I want. I know that sounds selfishly Scroogey, but after reading Joanna’s blog, I felt a fierce wave of envy over her simple and lovely Christmas celebration.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my families and my friends AND I like being able to see them and spend time with them…I’m just not sure anymore if Christmas is the time to do that. I mean, in reality, I got to see everyone for about 20 minutes each – and that’s an incredibly generous estimate. So, not only did I NOT get to spend any quality time with anyone (except for Bethany – and thank god for that or else you would currently find me wallowing in the depths of despair instead of in this shallow tide-pool of self-pity), but I completely wore myself out doing it! It’s a lose-lose situation, people! And instead of those warm, fuzzy Christmas feelings of peace on earth and goodwill towards Man, I ended up with soggy feelings of vague guilt and unspoken obligations. NOT a very satisfying culmination to six weeks worth of Christmas-inspired joy and delight. Anti-climactic, one might say. I realize Christmastime is all about tradition, but when those traditions are unhealthy and unfulfilling, something has got to change.

Thus, I have committed to doing things a little differently next year. I haven’t figured out all of the details yet (or any of the details really), I just know that I cannot keep celebrating Christmas in this crazy head-less chicken way. Enough is enough I say!

How awesome would it be to relish the Christmas season; the decorating and the shopping and the baking; the watching of the Christmas specials, and the admiring of the Christmas lights; the holiday parties and general festivities…and then, instead of dreading and commencing upon my normal whirlwind Christmas schedule, boarding a plane to meet Bethany at some relaxing vacation destination? Or how equally awesome would it be to bask in the aforementioned holiday delights and actually decorate my apartment and have a tree for once, and spend Christmas cooking a meal and enjoying it in front of my fireplace with Bethany and my cats? Like I said, details need to be worked out, but I can come up with many alternate scenarios that do not involve the stress and guilt of my historically stressful Christmas traditions.

So, if next year, you receive your Christmas gift in the mail along with my sincere regrets at not being able to personally deliver it, please understand that my decision to utilize the US Postal Service is not a personal attack or a lack of desire to see you over the holidays, but merely my own efforts to preserve some degree of sanity and to treat myself and Christmas with the gentleness I feel we deserve.


boty said...

I'm glad you are starting to see things my way...the less interaction around holidays (or any days really) with family the better!

Anonymous said...

I can not even begin to describe how wonderful it felt to be out of the deadly loop of Christmas Obligation and Routine this year. And to be doing things for myself, because I wanted to, instead of because I felt like everyone else was expecting me to--it was the best Christmas present I could have possibly given myself.

You have so much love for Christmas, I am sure that you can come up with some excellent plans for you and Bethany next year.

Alison said...

"I realize Christmastime is all about tradition, but when those traditions are unhealthy and unfulfilling, something has got to change."

Well put. I spent Christmas in my hometown but defending my decision to move 2.300 miles away. Talk about stressful...

You've had a blog all this time?!?

SPAM said...

Want to trade next year? I had to wait until 1 am Christmas morning to get my wife out of the hospital, come home and cook all the food for 8. No tree, few presents, no time to look at lights. I did make it to Christmas eve service at church, but had to go by myself.

cathryn said...

yeah Alison...never thought I'd be a "bloggy" kind of person, but one of my friends from Erie insisted I start one on Yahoo so we could keep up with each other. And being fans of yours and Joanna's blogs, I agreed to give it a try. Recently, Yahoo started acting funny, so I moved here to Blogger.

Sounds like I'm not the only one who celebrates a stress-filled holiday...sad.

boty said...