Friday, November 23, 2012

Bah Hum Bug.

     I'm not a big fan of the holiday process.  Don't get me wrong, I love to spend time with my family.  And I'm thankful for the few times a year in which spending time as a collective whole is made a priority.  But I feel as though the pomp often outweighs the circumstance.
     I don't look forward to decorating for the holidays.  Because my idea of simple decorating doesn't usually coincide with the rest of my family.  For example, I'd be perfectly content with a tree, stockings and some carols during the Christmas season.  But somehow that never seems to happen.  The kids want more.  Craig wants more.  They want to "go all out."  In theory, that's fine.  In reality, that means wasting one full weekend pulling boxes out of storage, tearing the house apart, and then putting it back together again.  All the while dreading the day after Christmas knowing that we'll have to repeat the process to take it all down.
     In the meantime, I get overwhelmed with the gifts.  The fun of giving is often negated by the expectation of the gift.  Then, there's the pressure to be thankful enough.  Because too often I notice that part of the reason people give is for the praise they'll receive after the gift has been opened.  I certainly don't want to hurt any feelings, but how many times can I say thank you for a cell phone cover?   Are cartwheels necessary?  There's nothing worse than when you feel like you've disappointed a gift giver because your reaction isn't quite what they expected.
     As I type this, I know I sound like a real downer.  And it's not because I'm a grinch (well maybe a little.)  But my favorite gift of all is time.  Because of this, Craig no longer buys me birthday gifts.  The only thing I ask is for him to play hooky from work on my birthday.  Every year he pretends it's not possible.  Every year he delights me when I wake up and find out for sure that he was only teasing.  And then we spend the day doing whatever we want.  No agenda.  No expectations.  Just time.  It's always one my happiest days of the year.
     Even Thanksgiving kills me.  I want to spend my time being thankful, not annoyed that my feet hurt from all the time spent in the kitchen.  The production of the meal and the clean-up required after always puzzles me.  I'm usually not thankful that I'm working my butt off on a holiday.
     So there you have it.  Those are the reasons I drive my mom, the Queen of Pomp, crazy during the holidays.  Because she claims that everything I just complained about makes her happy.  I can't wrap my brain around her way of thinking, and she certainly doesn't understand my point of view.  I laugh when she teases me about my annoying anxiety leading up to the holidays, and she laughs as I insert one-liners wherever I can that make light of her over-the-top party-planning extravaganzas.  In the end, we find ways to merge.  She comes with cheer to help us decorate for Christmas, and I make sure she's never standing at the sink alone.  And we always have a good time.  For this, I am the most thankful.

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