“I hope your Christmas plans and preps are proceeding apace,” I wrote to a friend recently, “and you can relax and enjoy the ‘holidays’ as if they really are a holiday.”
As you can tell from my snarky ‘holidays,’ I’m a little jaded about this festive time of year. The potential for exhaustion has me opting out of many of the normal – expected, in fact – activities.
I go to few parties and host even fewer. I bake just enough for the potlucks I do attend. I buy presents for one pre-teen, two teenagers, and an adult child…and only if I have a brilliant idea (I had two this year!) do I purchase gifts for any other grown-ups.
This is not because I’m cheap (although I am pretty frugal) or lazy (well…). It’s because all of the planning, shopping, cooking, decorating, wrapping, delivering, baking, shopping, cleaning and shopping pile on top of everyday life which for me, as for most of us, is quite full enough, thank you.
We still have to organize family schedules, put in the hours at the day job, pack lunches, cook dinners and launder clothes…and on top of all that we’re supposed to iron tablecloths, polish candlesticks, and make room in the freezer for twenty-two pounds of plucked turkey?
And for what? I’m not a capital-C Christian, so for me it’s not about the man himself, although I’m on board with a lot of his principles. But because this started out as a holy celebration, I’m miffed that it’s morphed into a shopping extravaganza. In fact, I bet if I were crazy enough to go to my local mall right now, I could probably find a 14-karat gold-plated statue of a calf…. But I digress.
To me, this festive season has lost its charm because it’s no longer a holiday in either the original sense or its more modern meaning of vaca…
Hold on a sec. Perhaps I’ve been looking at this the wrong way around.
A vacation is an emptying of normal life, leisure.
A holiday, on the other hand, is a celebration.
Cards and letters from friends far away; family around the dinner table, eating food planned, purchased and prepared with love; reminiscing about some awful camping trip or teasing Dad about his mis-spent youth; laughing.
I stand corrected; that sounds sacred enough for me, after all.
I wish you all a holiday season filled with whatever makes you happy.