Bah….humbug.

I am SO not feeling like Christmas.  I am one of those people who slips into an unavoidable depression during the holidays.  I hate the crowds.  I hate the money that needs to be spent.  I hate worrying that something isn’t enough…or maybe too much.  I hate all of it.

I used to love it.  When I was a Kindergarten Teacher every single day was overwhelmed with Santa activities and Menorahs and cinnamon ornaments drying and gifts to be made.  It was the same at home.  I used to take a day during our Year Round school break and do nothing but bake cookies.  And another day to decorate them with the kiddos.  And they had fun.  (I have the pictures to prove it!)   I used to be the one who assembled the fake tree and put the lights on in an orderly fashion.  I have a collection of moving decorations that used to fascinate the Prince.  A nodding Santa with a light up candle.  Prancing reindeer that bob to the tune of Rudolph as they pull Santa’s sleigh.  A whole realm of favorite ornaments for the tree.  I have candles and wreaths and crap to put everywhere.  It’s all tucked away in two huge Rubbermaid boxes stashed under our house…..where they are staying….for the second year in a row.  Last year we traveled out-of-state to visit family the day after Christmas.  This year we are traveling again.  It hardly seems worth it.

That and the fact that my family has lost the enthusiasm for all of the mess and confusion.  No one wants to help….with anything.  They laughed when I suggested baking and decorating cookies last weekend.  But they DO want to eat them.  I suggested putting up  half the tree – a smaller version than usual –  in the livingroom but no one moved to help pick up…or rearrange…or organize.  And since I am not in the mood to do it alone, why bother?

So what is getting me in the spirit this year?  Thoughtful things…BIG things…others have done for me.  Little gifts I am finding or making for people.  Oh, and the lights that line house on my way to and from work and activities. 

I LOVE outdoor lights.  I have always wanted them on our house but its never happened.  One year, when the Prince was about four, he and I put them on our little storage shed.  He loved that.  We would raise the blinds and sit in the dark at our dining table with cookies and hot chocolate and watch the twinkling lights outside.  And there was a stretch of main road on our way home from daycare where the residents are particularly obnoxious with outdoor holiday lighting.  BOTH my children remember how we would dip down a little hill and slowly drive up over the crest of the next hill into….CHRISTMAS TOWN!  Good times….

And music gets me in the mood.  I have cds with the obnoxious like ‘Grandma Got Run Over….’ and cds with funny like ‘All I Want for Christmas’ and cds with the beautiful…like Julie Andrews….and the Carpenters.  We start playing them after Thanksgiving dinner in November.  Princess and I were reminiscing about music in the car one day.  I told her how we taught the step daughters to sing the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’  by alternating lines when we would drive in the car.  So now she and I do that on occasion. 

And I love church  during the holidays.  ESPECIALLY candlelight music services.  When the kids were smaller , we attended a church service in which a live nativity scene was created outside the sliding glass doors of the sanctuary during the service.  It wasn’t till the Prince was 4,  that he suddenly realized what was happening.  His eyes opened wide and he hollered  ‘Yook Mom…it’s Mary and Jofess!’   And I remember holding the Princess up so she could see it on her first Christmas with us.  She was five and dressed in a fuzzy pink and white sweater and cap my Mom had made for her.  Cuddly and sweet, all she really understood at that time was that there were sheep and a donkey within her reach.  And she wanted to touch them. 

 For several years my family participated in a ‘Jesus Walk’ activity at our church.  Members of the church were costumed and rehearsed to create a series of stations where in the public could walk through and see the Christmas story acted out.  HRH was the priest in the temple who recounted the birth and naming  of John the Baptist.  I was the modern mom at the last station who tied the whole thing together and made it make sense while decorating  and talking with my ‘children.’   The pre-teens I was assigned and I always wore many layers under our ‘modern clothes’ and our fingers would be freezing while we pretended to be warm.  Our station faced the open windows of the church sanctuary where guests would finish their ‘tour’ with hot chocolate and cookies and carols by various music groups with the church.  Prince was generally an elf passing out candy canes in there or singing with the junior bell choir.  It was such a wonderful, wonderful warm fuzzy feeling to be a part of it.

But alas….like the enthusiasm of my children for the holiday decorating, the ‘Jesus Walk’ is no longer.  Too much work.  Christmas eves have been spent with my husband’s family –  none of them church goers.  Our get togethers were generally timed during anything like church services to accomodate young and old.  Granted, if we are home in time, my family doesn’t fight me too much about midnight service at the nearest church.  And we generally attend somewhere when we are out-of-state.  But it’s not the same.

Sigh.

I hate being a Scrooge.  But sometimes, its pretty darn hard to be the carrier of the spirit all alone.

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