Saturday, December 23, 2017

My Love / Hate Relationship With Chrismas

As an adult, Christmas had always been a stressful unhappy time for me.   When I was a single mom with hardly any income, it was my JOB to put on a happy face and make good memories for my daughter.  So. I did.  It worked out well.   That is in the past. Family is grown and I’m married to the most wonderful man.  The financial stress and the duty to pretend to be happy happy is lifted. 

 Now that I have no little children living with me and it is an adult Christmas, there are still things that I love/hate about the holiday.

I love giving gifts. Searching for something that is uniquely suited for that person.  I like making things. Knitting. Sewing. Painting.  I don’t care if I get gifts. I just like giving.  I hate shopping for gifts.  I hate shopping in general, but to wander around the Mall, cluelessly with hundreds of other clueless people….not fun.

I hate wrapping the gifts.  I’m not very patient or good about it and they end up looking like I used my feet to wrap.  I really suck at it and always have.  Why do people think that because you are the female, you should LIKE to wrap?  Actually, I don’t see much point in spending time, costs and energy on something that is going to be torn up and burned in the trash.  OK….it does look pretty and festive.   I’ll concede that point.  

I love to cook for the holidays.  That is the highlight of the season for me. All the new and trusted recipes that I can foist onto DP.  He doesn’t mind being my taste tester either. This year’s new pie is a Whipped Cream Peanut Butter Chiffon in a Chocolate cookie crust.  We will see if it is a success or flop.  If it flops, the raccoons get a treat! 

I love to decorate the tree.  I HATE to undecorate the tree.  In the past when having a live tree, I would take the ornaments off and just throw the rest of it away with the lights all tangled up. Too much work and I’m allergic to the needles anyway.  Our adult tree is a 3ft tall fake topiary in a fake ceramic pot with permanent lights.  Easy peasy.  Plug in. Throw on the ornaments.  Unplug. Take the ornaments off.  Stow the tree in the loft until next year, when we bring it down and shake off the spiders.  Nothing to clean up!

I love Christmas music, especially the classic and truly Christmas themed songs.  I just hate SO much of it on the radio and blaring at you when you are in the stores. I swear, if I have to hear Santa Baby one more time………

I love the magic of Christmas that my Grandchildren are enjoying right now with the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon that seems to be the rage right now.  The excitement of Santa coming. That is the very best part of Christmas.  The innocent wonderment of the children.  It will be sad when, eventually, they figure it out and grow beyond the Shelf Elf and Santa.  

Until then Merry Christmas to everyone.  Find the magic in it that works for you. It IS there.

If this doesn't drive your neighbors aren't doing it right   :-)

Play in full screen to get the effect and turn UP the sound.


ricpic said...

Peanut butter and chocolate sounds like a taste combination that can't miss.

Maybe I'm listening to the wrong radio stations but I still haven't heard the "Fall on your knees" song. I know that's not right but it's the way I always think of it. The image in my head as a kid of the whole world falling on its knees with a giant thud!

ndspinelli said...

I'm a very generous man but the concept of gifts, both giving and receiving is foreign to me. I give cash to delivery people, regular waitresses, baristas, cooks, garbage guy, newspaper guy, etc. I drop big bills in the Salvation Army kettles. But going out and buying something for a person just doesn't compute. And you know what, if you're like DBQ and love doing it, God bless you. However, if people were to speak honestly, I would venture a solid 75% of people, or more, much prefer cash.

ndspinelli said...

ric, There's a singer named Josh Groban. When our granddaughter was a baby her mom would always have Josh Groban music on her phone ready to play instantly. His "fall on your knees" would calm the worst meltdown.

ndspinelli said...

At Thanksgiving we pull names out of a hat and do a gift exchange. I got my son. He told me he would like a new set of jumper cables, which I purchased last week. I can abide that type of gifting.

ndspinelli said...

My daughter has a good friend she went to high school w/. Every Christmas eve he would come over and watch Bad Santa w/ her. He lives in Denver now. That was a nice, but not typical, tradition.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

O Holy Night Celine Dion. One of my favorite Christmas songs.

Fall on your knees!!!!


Dust Bunny Queen said...

Fun gift exchange for Christmas.

One year we were in Puerto Vallarta, family 8 of us. We were given a limit of $20 to buy a gift in PV and wrap it for the exchange. There is always one extra for 8 people 9 gifts. The gifts are anonymous, no names. The nine gifts are piled in the middle on a table or the floor.

Everyone draws a number from 1 to 8. #1 picks a gift and unwraps it. We all either go ooooh nice a bracelet! or laugh at the ridiculous gift such as the stuffed frog in a sombrero playing a little guitar. #2 gets to pick a gift from the pile...OR...take the gift from #1 who then has to pick another gift. #3 gets to steal either #1 or #2's gift or pick from the pile.

And so on until the last person gets to both gifts in the pile left ...or steals a gift, say from #4 and then that person gets both gifts in the pile.

My daughter ended up with TWO stuffed frogs, one playing a guitar and the other a saxophone. We laughed very much at her "lucky" picks. We spent the next day getting her the rest of the band.

The Dude said...

Childhood is a magical time. My nieces and nephews ask "Uncle Sixty, tell us again about how the fully decorated Christmas tree ended up in a snow drift in the front yard!", or "Where was Grandpa during Christmas week when dad was born?" And we laugh, and tell tall tales about times long ago and far away.

My brother just left and this kind of ties in with the giving experiences theme - we went to the range yesterday and tried out this year's gifts. No one's eyes were shot out.

The Bumpus hounds live at my house now and they did not run off with the roast beef. My Christmas tree is in the front window and after a bit of discussion about the best way to debug the system, all the lights are now operational. I observed and simply removed one power strip from the circuit, replugged the strings into a known-good power strip and resolved the conflict. That naturally led into a discussion of how Pop used to fix such problems - fraggle maggle mufu fraggle blagdag lights - then a trip to Purdum's gas station for a new string of lights. We laughed at the memories - times were much simpler then.

This is truly the best of all possible worlds. At my advanced age I find peace at Christmas time and enjoy the heck out of it.

edutcher said...

I tune out the parts I don't like. And I've learned how to wrap a gift in reasonably nice fashion (yes, there's something of a trick to it).

And, as my family has always been rather small, I don't have to beat myself up (of course, I go all out for you know who, but I'd do that anyway).

PS How did you like PV, oopsy?

bagoh20 said...

I love the Christmas season, the music, the extra getting together, the decorations and especially the memories of Christmas past, but I have to think that all the expense, work, and stress, which is substantial if you could add it all up, is simply not worth the result. Buying kids gifts is wonderful and well worth it as I can remember the absolute joy it brought me as kid to get that bicycle, BB gun, or road race set. That was a level of happiness that was rarely matched in life.

The adult gift exchange is much more stressful and much less valuable, and I think a net negative. I know it's not realistic, but it would be great if we could channel all that effort and expense into something more productive than searching out and buying adults things they usually don't want or need, and which they can buy themselves if they do. The arbitrary and stressful decision about who to include or not is really uncomfortable.

Christmas would be much better if we kept it for the kids, which it mostly was when I was young. Back then the holiday between adults was mostly about getting together to laugh and drink unusual alcoholic beverages and eat crap you never would eat the rest of the year.

bagoh20 said...

I do really enjoy the Christmas parties we have at work. Years ago it would continue all night, and really get out of hand with excessive drinking, gambling and even going to strip bars late into the night.

As I and the management aged, it calmed down significantly to just sharing food, and giving aways stuff. We work till lunchtime, then I hand out bonuses, and we always have a raffle to give away gifts, cash and paid days off. We are out of there by 1:30pm.

This year with locations in Nevada and CA, I had one party in NV where we threw knives at targets for cash prizes, then I flew to CA to have another party the next day with the people there, then drove a rental car back to Las Vegas - all in about 48 hours. I don't expect to have anything left in CA by next Christmas. Partying is hard work.

Chip Ahoy said...

My all time favorite movie is on. Guess which one it its.

Come on, be a sport, guess.


Come on, Guess.

GUESS I SAID! Okay fine. Fly Away Home.

It's a true story. I saw a documentary on PBS. It's all jazzed up with unnecessary emotional crap and little girl written into it. The actress playing has an acting range like this:

screaming --->.<--- screaming

Just kidding. She's cute. But the Canadian Artist saved the goose eggs and flew the powered hang glider and showed the geese how to migrate. Not his daughter. But it makes for a good fictionalized story.

And it really was the beginning of teaching cranes to establish new migration patterns.

My favorite part is the fictional AF guys who adopt the project in progress. Because they're really not like that. Base commanders are more concerned for their appearances to their own superiors. Everyone is. They cannot make decisions like that on their own. Their training disallows it.

ampersand said...

Merry Christmas to everyone. And all you lurkers out there, please post a message to let Lem know you're there.

deborah said...

I'm visiting my daughter. We watched Bad Santa last night and Moonstruck tonight.

Now that my niece has a baby boy, Christmas will shift to his generation. It came home to me at Thanksgiving what it really meant, 'Christmas is for the kids'. My mom's last grandchild is 18, time to ring in the next generation!

ndspinelli said...

deborah, Life is a series of adjustments. Those who are able to make those adjustments do well. Those who embrace those adjustments flourish. You always seem to me like the latter.

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

I like Christmas lights.

Trooper York said...

Welcome to the home base Dust Bunny Queen.

I hope we get a few recipes.