Now that we’re officially on the other side of the ‘Christmas Holidays’ and the tail end of what was a particularly challenging 2018 at my house, I’m changing some things. Mostly my attitude….I hope.
I’m not doing away with the traditional cookies or opening gifts on Christmas morning. And I’m certainly not doing away with staying awake until everyone else is asleep so that I can lay out the overflowing stockings. Stockings are my very favourite part of Christmas morning.
What I think I’ll do away with is the expectation that when December 25 rolls around something will be magnificent. The reality is that the best part of Christmas is the lead up.
You know what I mean darlings; the dinners out, the gossip over coffee, the visits with people whom you should be spending way more time with because they make you feel special. By the 25th I figure that we’re all ready for the big meal, a good long nap, and a laugh. We mostly are ready for any expectation that people have for us to just fuck off and go take a nap somewhere with a big glass of rummy nog.
About mid-November every year I get the Christmas itchies. I put up the tree, decorate the house, and start setting up a wrapping station in the spare room. I like to be prepared.
What I don’t like to be is disappointed. As long as my kiddo is here on the 24th and 25th, it’s all good. The rest is gravy really, and I should, as a younger, hipper version of myself has often told me, just “calm my tits”.
What I’ve learned recently is that I’ve put a lot of effort in to the holidays for people who don’t appreciate it. I get drained and resentful. I’ve decided that as much as I’m willing to arrange get-togethers, I also expect to be hosted as well. I’ve decided that I’m making one Christmas dinner whenever the hell I want to. Since I’m the only one who makes it, decorates it and cleans it up, I get to decide when it is, based on whatever priority I have. If someone in the flock doesn’t like it, I’m more than happy to show up to a decorated house, a cooked meal, and leave afterward with a belly full and no offer to help clean up.
This year all I really needed was to have some of the kiddos favourite treats ready in small doses when he popped in to refuel for more socializing with his pals. I didn’t need to bake up a storm for anyone unless I really felt like spending the day in the kitchen. That leaves no resentment, only joy.
As the years pass, and what the Christmas season looks like changes for everyone. I like to think that I can spend more time with friends, opening the door to those kindred spirits who like to talk about life, art, and experience ,deep into the night around a table of fresh food and oodles of wine.
My holiday plans and expectations are different, but as the new year rolls in, I realize I’m the same old me. Happiest surrounded by the friends I call my family, having creative vision and goals, and still mumming my kiddo even though he’s all grown up.