Friday, December 23, 2016

Is Christmas a Scramble or Is it Just Me? by Roz Denny Fox


As children the Christmas holiday is a most exciting time. I grew up loving everything from going out to cut a tree, bringing it home to decorate, buying and making gifts, hiding and wrapping them. All that was followed by the arrival of Santa, sometimes during the night, sometimes not until morning. And Christmas Day we feasted on ham or turkey and side dishes and homemade pies.

Fast forward to me as an adult. When my kids were small and growing up, of course I carried on traditions that came from both my family and my husband’s family. Many years we traveled in snow and ice to celebrate with grandparents and great-grandparents. For me the joy was still there.

Little by little over the past three or four years I’ve felt that excitement, anticipation and joy slipping away. And this year is a real bah humbug year.

Ads start and stores began to decorate for Christmas along with Halloween and Thanksgiving. Didn’t those three fun events used to be separate, but fun in different ways?

My kids grew up, moved away and married. Unlike when we traveled to grandma and grandpa’s homes, my offspring and their spouses who worked in retail, can never get away to travel. So it was always up to us to do the traveling. Sometimes on airplanes grounded by weather in unexpected places. Maybe that was catalyst for the bloom of Christmas to begin fading a bit. Now I really balk at holiday travel.

It’s also more difficult because my grandchildren are grown and in college or off working, too. Figuring out what to buy, wrap and ship to various addresses has become a challenge. And you have to ship early or risk weather delaying shipments. Oh, but hoping everyone will like what I bought, and trusting clothing items will fit gets more difficult as they lose or gain weight. And even me finding time to get the shopping done in a year when even the postal service is advising earlier dates for shipments if they are to guarantee delivery by the once-exciting holiday.

This year I bought Christmas cards in July. I began addressing them right before Halloween. (Really?) (Yes, really.) Then I found out I hadn’t bought enough cards so I was off to find more when stores had gifts out, but no cards.

Even as I write this blog post I wonder if I’ll have time to decorate. And will I have time to finish shopping, wrapping and mailing gifts? Because other things have come up. I stupidly or carelessly backed into a sign while taking my sister to an eye appointment. When does the company want to repair my vehicle---at a time I should be Christmas shopping. Then my sister’s eye appointment looks as if it will result in her needing eye surgery. I’m the designated driver, and the person needed to care for her during recovery. The surgery is scheduled a couple of days before I should be sending off those presents.

Oh, and I always fix our Christmas dinner, but suddenly my oven has stopped coming up to the temperature it should be. And one other thing, for over a week I haven’t been able to get email. Cox tells me there’s an outage someplace and they’re “trying” to find it. I can send, but not receive and that seems like something a good tech should be able to figure out why and why not. I’m really not someone who usually whines about small things like this when there’s so much real misery in the world. But…

Is the panic I feel in place of what once was great joy a symptom of aging or a sign that times are changing? Or just a sign I’m having one bah humbug year?

I’d love to hear how you all keep the magic in Christmas, because I want to believe again. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all. Truly!

38 comments:

  1. I know I get more pleasure from the anticipation than from the actual holiday, but I still enjoy it a lot. That being said, I have to work at enjoying it sometimes! I hope you find the magic again, Roz. Merry Christmas!

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    1. Liz, I plan to keep looking for the magic.

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  2. It's so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of preparations for Christmas that our enthusiasm wavers. Sometimes just relaxing with a cup of hot chocolate and some Christmas music, pulls me out of my funk. Or my old standby, watching White Christmas. Merry Christmas, Roz!

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    1. Jill, that's what I need to do---put on Christmas music.

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  3. Hi Roz...We'll burn a candle for you starting today. Read a good feel good Christmas book. I would suggest one by a friend of mine: A Montana Christmas Reunion. Maybe you've heard of it? And I send you this:

    Dear Ones:
    Although we are not Jewish, we have two Menorahs.
    We started the tradition shortly after Rob died.
    We burn candles in memory of friends who have passed
    and others
    who we keep close in our hearts
    (You, for instance!).
    They are not necessarily Jewish.
    They are no less important to us.
    We have Mormons, LGBT
    Fundamentalists,
    Sudanese Muslims,
    Catholics, multiple ethnicities.
    Our list grew past the capacity of two Menorahs.
    (I'm not about to buy a third!)
    Nor will we relegate those names who are left over to
    “et cetera”.
    Unfortunately, some have passed this year.
    and our list grows.
    The flames
    of the Menorahs may die,
    but the memory lives on.
    Blessings to you.
    Sam and Phyllis December 2016

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    1. Sam and Phyllis, thanks so much for adding me to your list this year. Most of the folks on your list are much more deserving to be there than I am. I burn candles for those I've lost and it seems this year was a year of losses.

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  4. Roz - What would the holidays be without Chaos and stress? This year I decided we'd short-circuit the craziness and only serve things we could get pre-made at Costco or Trader Joes :) - You are one of the people who truly keeps Christmas all year. (And if you need a break, there's brandy, egg-nog, and some canapes we can't quite identify going at our house!) -Vicky

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    1. You have the right idea about short-cutting craziness for ease. Perhaps we need a bit of chaos and stress to boot us forward into a new beginning of a new year. Thanks for your wisdom.

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  5. Oh, Roz, you're such a naturally positive person that this year's bah-humbug HAS to be due to unusual circumstances -- with all the ups & downs (well, actually just with all the downs) in your life this past month it's no wonder you're not feeling like your usual self!

    Good for you on SAYING that, though...you've just empowered all the other readers who feel that way to realize they're sure not alone. And I'll bet that at some point between now and the New Year you'll get some reminder of a blessing that makes you feel a bit better. :)

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    1. Laurie, well lunch with good friends is certainly going to go a long way toward cheering me up. (I don't know how to put a smiley face here--visualize one)

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  6. Hi, Roz! I'm so glad Laurie congratulated you for being honest. You're among friends here, so you're allowed to tell us what you're truly feeling. We're like some big, sunny circle (even in the dark of December!) that will close in around you and try to share our energy, Sorry about your sister, and the car, and that travel is getting to be so awful, not just as this time of year. I'd say, if you can, let that all go and just know that they love you, we love you, and I'll pray that getting your sister the care she needs won't be too difficult. Meanwhile - Merry Christmas.

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    1. Muriel, you are always a voice of loving reason. I so appreciate you.

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  7. I'm sure I'll be the odd one out here but guess what? I haven't observed Christmas for about 20 years now ever since I found out that it had nothing to do with Jesus Christ (his birth date is not even in the Bible) and actually has pagan roots. I realize that means little to many people, but it means a lot to me. My conscience just wouldn't let me continue observing it. No judgment, but it was a decision that my family and many, many of our friends made long ago. We find joy in giving gifts to one another out of love at any time throughout the year and it's so wonderful when it's not expected, and a lot less stressful. Not wanting to rain on anyone's parade of course. And if I haven't been present on my favorite blog lately, that's why. I've always been honest here and just wanted everyone to know.
    I'm sorry about how overwhelmed you've been lately Roz Denny Fox. I just found out yesterday that my senior cat has diabetes and needs insulin shots twice a day which requires all sorts of education that I'll have to make time for. Wishing you all the best, and that your sister's surgery goes well. ( :

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    1. Laurie, I'm so sorry about your kitty. My daughter had a cat she had to give shots to for a long time. And hydrate. I helped a few times, it's hard. Takes love and dedication. Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. Roz, No, it's not old age. Does seem it's the pile of awkward, daunting stuff- loved ones gone or far away, surgery for your sis, and that cherry on top of car repair with whipped cream of internet service outtage. Rehashing your troubles makes me think it is a long aggravating list. Time for a carol and a walk admiring the mountain view from your street. Oh, and when my dad was on his own, We ordered dinner cooked from the market and made our favorite sides to go along. Food cooked by others is such a treat, esp when things pile up. A big HUG.

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    1. Laura, thank you for the upbeat note. I know you've had tough times and still are cheery. I am thankful for friends like you and others here. I really am.

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  9. Roz, this isn't the first time I wished we lived closer to each other, so I could give you a big hug.

    I agree with Jill's idea about Christmas music...and I mean the traditional songs.

    For me, Christmas is about spending time with loved ones, and--although it sounds clichéd--I truly believe it's better to give than to receive. I feel sorry for my husband because I am a terrible person to buy gifts for, as I honestly can't think of anything I want or need. (Well, maybe another rescue dog, but please don't tell him that!) I start to feel the magic of Christmas when I begin to write Christmas cards and wrap gifts. It's even better when someone opens a gift I gave them and seem to genuinely like it! :)

    Roz, I hope you will find the magic of Christmas--even if just a little bit of it--this year, and I wish you a 2017 filled with love, joy and good health!

    Love and hugs!

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    1. Kate, just having you on my friend list is like getting hugs. And we all have problems. My mom used to say: "All God's children have problems." Mine are relatively minor compared to many. I need to remember that and be thankful.

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  10. Rob, I read your post with some relief, oddly, discovering I'm not the only one with conflicting feelings about the hub-bub and frenzy around this very special holiday. I was appalled to see Christmas candy side by side with the Halloween displays in October and wondered if the trick or treaters would even notice what I dished out. But as so many people above have said, there are those quiet moments when we get a chance to sit back, look at the smiles of our lovely families and realize that yes, this is what Christmas is about. May you have many of those moments in the days to come! And thank you for your this post. All the best in 2017!

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    1. Janice, yes, I know it was those Christmas decorations mixed with Halloween that started me down this blog trail this year. I'll be better next year. That's a promise.

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  11. Roz, I hope your sister's eyes are healing, and your life is slowing down to a manageable pace. I get frazzled when a bunch of unexpected duties land in my lap at the same time as well. Sometimes it doesn't all get done, and yet Christmas comes anyway. Hope you find some peace and calm in yours.

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    1. Thanks for the encouraging words, Beth.

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  12. Roz, Merry Christmas. Sometimes, we just have to let some things go and enjoy the little things. I know this year. I did less decorating, and I didn't feel so rushed.

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    1. Merrillee, I know that's true as I put up bare essentials.

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  13. Roz, honestly, with all you have going on, it's easy to see why you'd be frustrated and not all that thrilled with yet more to do, wrapping and buying and decorating. For years, I've said, "Christmas was invented by men to kill women."

    We do all the planning..making gifts which starts in July and carries through till Christmas morning. The cards, the decorating, party giving or going. No matter how much I think I'm going to cut back or deal with less, it doesn't happen.

    I'll pray for your sister and you. It's so very tough to be the caregiver. Physically and mentally, it's a tsunami that can wipe you out. So please, watch your own health. That's first!
    I wish you a Happy New Year!!!
    And God Bless you for your honesty. Christmas is for the strong of heart, not just the child-at-heart, you know?

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    1. Catherine, bless you. When I read the news, much of it truly terrible for some folks, I feel if for no other reason I need to present a happy face. 2017 will be better.

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  14. Big hugs, Roz! I remember how everything used to seem magical at Christmas time. My husband and his family don't do holidays so celebrations are kind of muted in our home. But, from time to time I when I see my kids' faces light up at an especially imaginative holiday display or extravagant tree I can feel that zap of magic. I try and take them out to tree lightings and holiday displays. I hope they carry that magic always with them.
    In a side note, almost everyone I know has stated that 2016 was a weird, weird year. Some good things happened of course, but I think a lot of us are looking forward to 2017.

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    1. Shannon, I'll have to hear sometime why your dh and family don't do holidays. Do they have special events in their lives? This year should be quite special as several of the religious holidays converge in close proximity. However, mercury is in retrograde, so that may explain some of the unrest.

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  15. Hoping you find that Christmas spirit, Roz. Sometimes it's not easy because of all the stress that goes along with the holidays. I hope you find some quiet moments of peace and get to spend some time with the ones you love! That's what really make Christmas magical to me. xoxo

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    1. Thanks Amy, I probably wrote that blog at a time I should have kept my fingers off my computer keys. LOL

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  16. Christmas can be the hardest time of the year to embrace. There is so much expectation attached to it. And at our ages, so many who are no longer around. We miss them and Christmas reminds us of the time we had with them. So don't feel bad about feeling bah-humbish. And I'm praying you'll catch some of the magic of Christmas yet. :-) <3

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    1. Things are looking up. I got my January Heartwarming books and intend to find time to curl up and read.

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  17. Hi my dear friend, I so wish I was there already to give you a hug. I was so in your place about three to four years ago. I was all humbug and really dreading Christmas with all the stress that comes with it. But looking back, I can see it was so tough because I was battling so many circumstances. Sounds like what is happening with you. Christmas adds on chores, activities and events and all the normal chores tha tnormally fill our time are still there. so squeezing time for the new stuff is exhausting. The good news is, the sparkle will come back. What I did was really cut back on obligations, events, and presentations, etc. I learned to simplify and by doing so I have more energy to fight the battle. I still do all the thngs, but cut back. For example, I don't bake (don't need those calories anyway lol) I have a really small tree. Agreed with many family to cut back on presents. We don't need more stuff. Trying to get rid of stuff actually. This helps.

    Merry Christmas dear friend and enjoy. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

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    1. Sandra, you give some great advice. And I remember when you had a really bad year. Glad to hear your happy space is back.

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  18. Roz- As someone has already said, you have a lot on your plate right now. Cut your self a break. One thing I learned when dealing with all those health issues was to let some thinks go. Family understand and if they don't, they have a problem not you. You don't have to be perfect but you do have to enjoy.

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    1. Elaine, now you've had a bunch of "real" problems to deal with, and yet I've never seen you not cheerful. You make a good role model.

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    2. Roz I am not sure of a role model bit when I have friends like you tha5 makes things easier.

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