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!