Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mo' Blah

Christmas used to be my favorite time of the year. I loved the planning, the decorations, the baking,  the decorating, the shopping (well, sort of), the wrapping, the whole surprise of the thing.

Note I said "used to be." 

Why the change? For one thing, as an empty-nester, it means your heart is far away. (Mine lives in California.) Kids love Christmas, but with no kids, it's a bit hard to get excited, or even get stuff done. I used to have a large artificial Christmas tree, but as I got older, I couldn't get it out of the basement by myself. Then it got to be a lot of work just to put it together, and let me tell you, trying to decorate an 8 foot tall tree by yourself is a real feat. Waiting until you can get some help isn't always fun. Asking for help is less fun. When it's viewed as a chore, it stops being fun altogether.

So the big Christmas tree went away, and I trimmed down my vast collection of ornaments and decorations. Nobody ever comes to my house to celebrate Christmas. It's always at my Mom's house (and she doesn't have a tree, which bugs me.) Why not Christmas at my house? I cook for Thanksgiving, so everybody comes here for that.

With the arthritis in my back significantly affecting my movement, I've put on a bit of weight, so I certainly don't need the temptation of freshly baked cookies.

With more and more gifts becoming small squares of plastic, shopping (online or otherwise) is not as exciting. And with more of my favorite people scattered across the country, Christmas presents get wrapped up and mailed, and I don't get to enjoy watching the recipient open the gift and see the reaction. (If you think I'm nuts, make yourself a cup of coffee and READ THIS STORY.)

(and if you want to know why a chinese food takeout box is wrapped in ribbon and is a traditional Christmas tree ornament at my house, you HAVE to read that story.)

All of this is a roundabout way of saying I'm having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit. I ordered a small 36" pre-lit tree on line, and it will be in by the end of the week (I hope). I've bought a couple of poinsettias and dug out some Holiday decorations and hung the Christmas stockings.

There are many more things I HAVE to do, and I don't feel like I've got enough time to enjoy it. This year it seems more like a chore than anything.  So last night when I got home from work, I picked up "The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon," one of the Number One Ladies Detective Agency books, sat down and read.

I love this series.  There's no violence, and everything always ends well. I love the characters, the people, the sense of place. The books are soothing and life-affirming. I love them so much, that when I get a new book, I try to read one chapter a day, so I can prolong the pleasure. 

Last night, after I finished my chapter, I didn't put the book down. I kept reading. I read until I finished the book.  I felt much better about everything. I had set aside the HAVE TO's and substituted the NOURISH MYSELF.

Which was interesting, because rummaging through a drawer on Sunday while looking for a battery, I came across an old newspaper article on getting through the Holiday season. Here, in a nutshell, is what it said:

Step One: Make a Plan.

Step Two: Cut it in half.

I feel better. Maybe I'm still not "feeling it," but at least now I'm not going to let it bother me.


MB in MI said...

I'll bet the tree will be just the ticket! Christmas seems to have come up fast this year. Wishing you a nice one. Thanks for the tip on a good book!

Pat said...

Oh, boy can I ever relate to what you are saying. Quite a number of years ago I was preparing to drag out all the decorations and then thought ... Why? ... I do this by myself. No one ever comes here. Then I get to take it all down by myself. Well, that year, I didn't do it and since then, I've gotten rid of almost all of it. It actually gave me more room for fabric, lol. And I do always find myself wondering why I always feel so rushed this time of year when, really, I'm doing so much less than I used to. Must have something to do with age. I will try your book, though. It sounds like fun.

Quiltdivajulie said...

I need to check out that book!

Keep us posted on the new little tree . . . and I love your "nourish myself" approach (which does NOT mean rushing out to the mall - I had to go there last night and BLECH, I couldn't get away fast enough!)

Hugs from afar!

Camp Stanhope Happenings said...

I've had the same problem with Christmas! Even when my kids were young (they're 27 and 26 now and married) we didn't get to have Christmas (even Santa most years!!) at our own house! Oh well. LOVE the suggestion about the Ladies Detective series--have heard about the books but hadn't read one yet. I am definitely hitting the library this week!

P. said...

I totally get it. I'm about to go bring up our pre-lit 36-inch tree from the basement, and that'll be about it--and that's okay! Nourish yourself is a good philosophy this time of year, and any.

Terri said...

Same trouble here. No Christmas visitors... One set of kids live in Alaska, one in WA and the close ones always go to her family, even though we will not be here next Christmas. (Then they wonder why we are crabby...) They are all getting a small box of homemade fudge and a $20 - keeps the shipping charges down, and we can't afford much more.
My favorite holiday is Halloween. Kids get a candy and a plant I started from seed or a cutting. They are so excited about their plant that they sometimes forget the candy...LOL I don't have to worry about sizes, and they are all appreciative. Love that!

Lori R. said...

Lynne, I love following your blog. My artificial Christmas tree went to Goodwill a month ago. I lost my husband in Jan. and I had no intention of trying to figure out which branch fit where by myself. I have been lucky to be surrounded by good friends. One, who will be gone at Christmas, lent me her pre-lit tree. Three other friends came over and helped me decorate it. Family will be with me Christmas week. It will be OK, but I know what you mean about the lack of energy. LUCKY I HAVE TWO CATS!!

Derby, Ducky said...

To cheer herself up, mum uses Grampie's little table top tree, so that counts as family.

Plus she spends the day with furiends who are her family now. And we have to accept that how we do any holiday changes as our lives continue.


Megan said...

Lynne - I haven't been 'into' Christmas for more than 40 years. We try to get agreement in our little family on 'no presents' - some years, however, we are outvoted. This year is a good one - everyone feels that we all have enough 'stuff', so we're all very happy to have no presents. Decorating is: some paper streamers on our (very large) parsley plant (just for a giggle). I reach into a cupboard in the loungeroom and pull out three standalone fabric ornaments and plonk them on a shelf and it's all done in less than 15 seconds.

Sydney, Australia

Quilter Kathy said...

Me TOO... in every way!
Thanks for the smile and for the knowing that I'm not alone!

sewyouquilt2 said...

I TOO have toned down the holiday. we moved into a small mobile home with no place for storage etc. The kiddos will come over Christmas Eve to celebrate so I will get to see them open gifts etc. But you are right! those trees are tough to get down and decorate all by yourself. so I too have a small 3 footer in the living room and it serves its purpose. it is the only thing lit now as I stare and drink my coffee. just a different kind of Christmas is all.