It's time for my annual Grinchy post about Christmas. I love Halloween. I can tolerate Thanksgiving. But I loathe Christmas.
OK, that's not quite correct. I love Christmas with my husband and kiddos. I love making it magical for the kids, even though they don't technically believe in Santa any more, and I enjoy getting them gifts and seeing their faces on Christmas Day.
What I loathe is the level of expectation. It starts in September. SEPTEMBER, for Pete's sake, before I've even begun to think about my son's birthday or Halloween or Thanksgiving or any of the stuff that has to happen before the blessed holiday is upon us. It varies from year to year as to who the person is, but someone inevitably mentions Christmas in September… and usually throws in an expectation along with it. "You'll be at my house this year, right?" "Are you doing X again this year?" "What are your plans for Christmas?"
I hate it.
And it only ramps up from there.
By the time December, let alone Christmas itself, rolls around, I'm exhausted. It's all I can do to keep up with the kids and their holiday stuff - which is the stuff I *want* to do - let alone manage all the stuff that I'm supposed to do.
And every year, I wind up loathing Christmas. It has taken on a year-round aspect at this point.
I know some people love the holiday. I wish I could be one of them. But I am not.
Because this year has been a year of many revelations and changes for me and I am finally making me a priority, I am going to do things differently. The following changes are now in effect:
1. I will NOT be going anywhere on Christmas Day. My children have already requested to stay home; my son wants to plan a menu and cook Christmas dinner for us. I want to let him do this. So I will be staying home on Christmas Day.
2. I do not intend to purchase gifts for anyone over the age of 12. If you are old enough to have your own income, expect either A) nothing or B) a gift card. My sister and I have already cleared this with each other, and I am hoping to follow suit with both my parents at some point soon. It's quite freeing to not have to worry about so many bills and wonder whether or not you've purchased the perfect gift for somewhere between 12 and 20 people, not including anyone who lives in this house.
3. I do not want any gifts myself (again, unless you live in this house, and that's only because I can't really stop them). I have what I need. I do not want extra stuff. Just send me a card to know that I'm thought of. I enjoy those!
If I'm perfectly honest, I'd love to give up celebrating Christmas altogether and just celebrate Yule/the solstice. I'll conform to the societal norms for form's sake, mostly because my mom, dad, and some of my in-laws are strong Christians (and I live in a town that threw such a huge fit over having a 'holiday' parade that for several years they had two parades just so the people who wanted a 'Christmas' parade would be happy), but I'd be perfectly content to follow my own pagan path and celebrate my way.
Maybe next year.
Because I really don't want to hate Christmas.