My Love/Hate Relationship With Christmas

A few days ago (okay, maybe a WEEK ago), Christina tagged me for a Christmas MeMe of my favorite things about Christmas. I was gonna do it. I swear. Except the more I thought about it, the more I felt like a big fat liar. And since I’m trying to slide under Santa’s Radar of naughtiness, I figured I couldn’t complete the meme without getting put down on the naughty list for lying.

So, giving it some thought, I realized that what I have is a love/hate relationship with the holidays. I WANT to love the holidays, but there’s just something (about everything) that stops me.

So, with no further ado, my own Christmas MeMe of Honesty:

1) I love….the beauty of Christmas. The decorations and twinkly lights, the smell of fresh-cut fir trees, the colorful ornaments and packages.

I hate….the beauty of Christmas. Do you know how freaking long it takes drag the boxes of all that crap out of storage?? I hate the time it takes to decorate and second-guessing myself on what looks goods. I hate the fact that those lovely-smelling fir trees are like blow torches waiting to happen…I simply don’t get a single good night’s sleep as long as that thing is in my living room. I hate turning the lights on them, sure we’re going to get a short and burn the place down. (Solved this last year with the necessity to get a fake tree, but the feeling still lingers.) Even worse, I hate taking all that pretty crap down. Do you know how freaking long it takes to stuff all that stuff back into the boxes and drag them all back out to storage??? ONLY to discover a day later that you forgot something??? Last year we forgot a 1-1/2-feet-tall ceramic Christmas tree that lights up. We left it on top of the desk in the living room until we drug out the decorations again this year. And, no. I’m not kidding.

2) I love….the food. The frosted cookies, the home-backed goodies, the egg nog, the pies.

I hate…the food. How many pounds do I have to pack on every year during the holidays before I learn my lesson? Apparently at least another ten. At our family gathering a few weeks ago, I ate all this stuff I don’t normally get to eat until I was nearly comatose. Then, my cousins brought their traditional homemade English toffee, all sugary and chocolatey and topped with crunchy slivers of almonds–one of my all-time, once-a-year favorites. It was as delish as I remembered! Then, somehow I ended up leaving the party with an entire bucket of the leftover English toffee. Did I mention that no one in my house eats it but me? And did I mention that I ate almost nothing else BUT the English toffee for the next four days until it was finally gone?? Give me one good reason this is a GOOD thing.

3) I love…Christmas carols. They are so sweet and sentimental, remind me of childhood and goodwill and the real reason for Christmas.

I hate…Christmas carols. Because, you see, I have this sickening sentimental/emotional side, and when I hear said lovely carols that remind me of my childhood and goodwill and the real reason for Christmas…I cry. And, do I want to cry for the entire month of December? Not really. Ditto Christmas movies. The deepest Christmas movie I’ve watched over the last few years is The Santa Clause, and even that was pushing it. So, I’ve listened to exactly 1 Christmas CD this year, avoid it on the radio like the plague, and have managed to avoid ANY Christmas movies this year, even though Darling Daughter taped the entire 25 Days of Christmas Movies on Lifetime Channel and they are sitting on the TiVo just waiting to be watched. Not.

4) I love…gift giving. Ah. Finding the perfect gift for your loved one. Isn’t that the best feeling ever?! I know they are going to adore it, it’s what they’ve always wanted, or something they mentioned that I actually remembered they mentioned. I can’t wait to see their face when they open it and light up at the sheer joy of receiving this gift!

I hate…gift giving. Ennnhhh. The above never happens. I NEVER remember what people want for Christmas, except when it’s NOT Christmas, and by the time it IS Christmas, they’ve already got what they wanted, so I’m back to square one. What the heck is the JOY of calling up your family members and begging them to give you a list of what they want, while they beg you back for a list of what YOU want. Then, you go on your respective searches to fulfill each other’s wish lists, often unable to find what they want (because you really aren’t sure what the heck a “mandoline” is, for instance). You search high and low, check and recheck the lists, your budget, the UPS tracking system (to see if you are actually going to GET the gift you spent days tracking down before the holiday and could only find at some obscure dotcom which is probably just stealing your credit card number and not planning on sending you anything in return), and then wrap the suckers you aren’t even sure they are going to like. Um, wouldn’t be easier and a lot more joyful, if everyone just bought their own gift, wrapped it up, and opened it on Christmas?? It would save EVERYONE a boatload of hassle. (This is a reciprocal hatred, I’m sure. I have no doubt people hate buying for me as much as I hate buying for them.)

5) I love…spending time with my family. We have a blast together, enjoy each other’s company, and all get along. 

I hate…spending time with my family. At the holidays anyway. See above, #4. It’s all about the damn gifts. I think I got my brother a great gift this year (not something from a list for once), but the PRESSURE of wondering if he’s going to think it’s as wonderful as I think it is, or if it’s not quite right, or not the right color, or is missing feature he really would want in this item…the pressure is killing me. Why do we put ourselves through this??? I have much more fun with my family when we’re just hanging out and under no obligation to buy each other anything. My gift to them is my presence. (I can hear the snorting now!) So, call me Grinch if you like, but that’s the Truth about Christmas for me. And for all you who wax poetic about the joy of the Season…more power to you.

Shannnon