This year I’ve had more invitations to holiday things than ever before. Or maybe I just have never noticed it before? Maybe Evite and Facebook have made it easier for people to invite ALL THE GUESTS, so I’m seeing more not because it’s my presence that is wanted but it’s just easier to invite everyone to everything? Meh. Regardless, I’ve turned down most of them. Not out of spite or Bah, Humbug, but because there are only so many hours in the day, only so many Friday evenings. I can’t go to all of them! Some of them I am legitimately sad I missed (Tuba Christmas, I’m looking at you) but some of them I’ve already forgotten to pretend to ask how the event was (dude on Facebook who invites me to three concerts a week, as if I’ve gone out three times a week at all for anything in the last fifteen years because I AM M OLD AND CRANKY).
Are we moving faster and faster? Are we really busier? I don’t remember Christmas being this busy when I was young, but when I was young my only responsibility was to stay out of the adult’s way while they got drunk and wrapped presents. And to help decorate the tree.
This year there were certain things that I wanted/needed to do. Decorate my aunt and uncle’s house for Christmas before they came home. Spend my dad’s birthday alone, off work, in the quiet, so that I could reflect on where my life is, where he was when he was this age, what he wanted vs what he got and what I want vs what I’m getting, maybe scan some old family photos, and be left alone for one whole day. Go to the ex-employee Christmas party that my first boss still throws. Do the last bit of Christmas shopping (I’ve been doing the Christmas Making all year). Make my yearly batch of Chex Mix, and also this year I wanted to make maple fudge. Go to the Vets for Peace Winter Solstice concert. Have Christmas. Help plan for New Year’s (more like stay out of Aunt Gay’s way while she takes care of everything that she just asked you to take care of, Hi Aunt Gay, I know you’re reading this). Spend time with our friends coming down from Boston. Have the yearly New Year’s Eve party. Breakfast on New Year’s Day, that bleeds into lunch and friends coming over for live music. Taking a donation to Hospice in my dad’s name, because he died on New Year’s Day. Celebrate my husband’s birthday.
For most of my adult life I’ve worked retail, and I’ve tried to balance doing all these things with working for the public at the busiest time of the year to be working for the public. When I started HaldeCraft I decided that would be my yearly vacation. For the first time, I could do all these family and loved-ones related things with time, mindfulness, and care, instead of rushing to fit them in here and there as I could. I could step away from work, take time, and really enjoy my favorite holiday.
Yeah. So. That worked out well. NOT.
I know I’m not the only one who’s said this season they just can’t seem to get their feet underneath them. Holiday parties, concerts, kid’s programs, vacations, shopping, more parties…. we all seem so busy, all the time. I’ve allegedly been on vacation since the 14th, but yesterday was the first day I didn’t bust my ass working. This is making me rethink my vacation for next year, but I’m not sure how. Just don’t bother taking one? When else am I going to take time off?! Take it, but take two weeks instead of three? Take it, but start it later and end it later, still taking three weeks off?
December used to feel like one long party. Bill’s birthday, daddy’s birthday, Christmas, and New Year’s… one for every week in December. Now Bill and Daddy are both gone, Christmas seems busy and harried instead of fun, and by Tim’s birthday he doesn’t even want to celebrate it because he insists everyone is all partied out.
I want the magic back. I want a big tree and so many lights you can see my house from space. I want stockings and the ornaments I made with G-ma all those years ago and Tim by god better eat the cookies I leave out for Santa because SOMEONE in this house still believes. Christmas is my favorite holiday – I know it’s got a lot of haters out there now, that people say it’s too commercial and too gift-driven, but I say it is what you make it. Sadly I feel this year it’s too late to get a handle on it, but I am thinking about what I want it to be, next year.