My husband and I don’t always see things from the same vantage point, but this morning we were in total agreement: neither one of us could remember a Christmas when we had less holiday spirit than we did this year.
“What do you suppose was the reason?” I wondered, as we prepared to take the dogs for their morning walk.
“I think it’s because we didn’t do anything to get into the spirit,” he answered. “I would have liked to go to Greenfield Village, wander through the Village, have hot chocolate, or sit by a fireplace in one of the old houses. Or maybe drive around and look at Christmas lights somewhere. We didn’t even get to have our annual shopping day."
I think he’s on to something. Although there were plenty of pre-holiday festivities, none of them were of the kind that get us into the winter holiday frame of mind. That kind of laid-back, warm and cozy feeling you get from being relaxed, enjoying the sights and sounds of the season at your own pace. We did everything separately, too - his choir, my groups, all performing in different places and times.
Of course it didn’t help that my schedule was far busier than it should have been, and that once all my commitments were over I promptly fell sick with an upper respiratory infection, bad enough that my poor mother wouldn’t even come near me for fear of catching it (a fear I completely understand, because respiratory infections are pretty scary when you’re a frail 88 year old.) But it meant we spent Christmas in our separate houses, even though one of the reasons we don’t travel is so she won’t be alone for the holiday.
So not much Christmas sprit here today. In fact, at the risk of sounding like a complete Scrooge, I’m glad it’s over. I want my television shows back - The Good Wife! Nashville! Parenthood! I want some free days again - no more concerts or long rehearsals. I want the traffic to die down. I want to be able to get into a store without a battering ram.
I want everything to go back to normal.
I know. Scrooge. Grinch. All of the above.
I wish I were a Christmas person. I wish I were a holiday person. But holidays are hard for me. I feel pressured to be happy, to create some picturesque vision, to meet expectations, when really I just want to be left alone. And then I feel guilty because that’s what I really want. I always come out feeling less in some way. Less social. Less crafty. Less worthy. Less happy.
This year seemed worse than most in all those departments.
What was missing was a sense of connection with the season, the kind you get from rituals and practices you enjoy and find meaningful. I think Jim was right - we didn’t do some of the things we’ve done in the past, some of the quiet activities we enjoy as a couple that mark the holiday as special. We were so busy running around that we lost our connection with each other. (Well, mostly I was so busy.) And since we haven’t been attending church, we didn’t have those kinds of rituals to inspire the holiday feeling either.
So some lessons learned, some food for thought for Christmas 2015. Since it’s basically only the two of us for the Christmas season, it’s up to us to make it special by leaving time to be together, for creating and enjoying our own simple holiday traditions rather than tearing off in a dozen different directions all month.
But for now, I’m glad it’s done. I’m ready to move on, clear the decks, and get 2015 underway. I’m excited to see what the new year will bring.
Merry Christmas to all.
And to all, A Good Night.