Or, A Declaration of Christmas Cheer From One Known For Grinchness
I am not a holiday person.
Maybe it comes from eight years of living in Florida, where our Christmases are 80 degree weather and deck-the-palm-tree. As a child growing up in Maryland, I’m pretty sure I had more cheer. I remember counting the days until Santa would come, drinking hot chocolate, and caroling with Girl Scouts. Now, I work in a building that pipes Christmas music from November on, and I want to punch the next person who sings Frosty the Snowman to me. And then cover them in snow (it’s only fitting).
I was the high schooler who decorated the tree while listening to Garbage, so I don’t think my strange displays of possibly-not-very-cheeriness are a completely new thing. From about my first year in high school onwards, my mother appointed me “tree decorator” and if I wanted the tree, then I better get to it. When my husband and I first got married, it was my many years of solo decorating that made me immediately seize him and go “Look buddy. I’m not doing this alone. So help me God, you will decorate this tree within an inch of your life.” He’s a smart man, so he complied. For a year or two, there was something magical about setting up the tree in our very own home and celebrating.
But here’s the thing–I’m grown up, or at least I pass for one sometimes when I’m not inserting my foot down my throat. At twenty-six with no children, the holidays start to lose their meaning. My husband and I give a few gifts, but really, if we want/need something throughout the year we save up to buy it and we get it then. This whole waiting until the 25th thing, for an impatient girl like me, is horrid. Our tree with its pre-strung lights is set up, but doesn’t have my usual collection of twenty Barbie ornaments given to me as presents in my childhood. (Barbie is timeless, people, don’t be judging.) For some reason, I just couldn’t be bothered this year. I told myself it was because we weren’t even sure if we’d be home for the holidays.
I’ve moved now to North Carolina, where it is a heck of a lot colder than Florida and for the first time in a long time, it feels like Christmas. Not the Christmas I remember from my childhood, where I’d scamper out of bed at three in the morning and demand presents, because so much has changed since then. My family has changed, with the loss of my father a year and a half ago. Yet though it is not the same, I’m starting to realize that maybe it’s okay that it’s different. Life changes us and so our outlooks follow suit.
My husband and I are headed back to Florida this year, for an impromptu holiday celebration with my family. We were supposed to join his family, but mine won out because my mother’s boyfriend is willing to let us stay in his rental with our two dogs. Since we got the news two days ago that my husband had time off this year for Christmas, I’ll admit, I’m starting to hum those dratted Christmas songs I’ve hated for so many years.
I’ll be home for the holidays. By the time you read this, the world hasn’t ended by Mayan apocalypse, so that’s one hurdle we’ve already jumped. I’m realizing that it’s not tangible items I want for Christmas–though I wouldn’t say no to jewelry, MrMonroe–but instead just the chance to spend time with family and friends. That’s what I hope for your holidays too, dear readers, that you are able to spend time with the family of your choosing. Because that’s what the holidays are really supposed to be about, I think. Reuniting with those that matter to us and showing our appreciation. So that’s my tribute. I appreciate all of you who have followed us here at Teatime Romance and I’m so blessed to know you.
And yes, Jennelle and Lisa, I was tearing up while I wrote that. Shut it.