I know it’s Christmas, but I just have to come out and say that I’m just not feeling it this year. I kept waiting for the spirit of the season to hit me, but it just never came. To be 100% honest, I’ve been a total freak lately.
Well, I should say lately as in, after we returned from our official honeymoon trip to Mexico. After spending a glorious week actually relaxing on the beach in the sunshine, it’s hard to come back to Chicago’s temperatures (sub-zero when you count wind chill). It was so important and refreshing to take a break and disconnect from work and emails. I barely looked at or posted on Instagram, I didn’t give a hoot about what people were putting on Facebook. I was just happy to BE where I was and experience what I was doing. We didn’t even take as many photos as we thought we would, but I find that’s always the case when I go on vacation. I pack up the camera stuff and a notebook, and have to force myself to even just get a page of writing done to justify bringing it along.
Anyway, this holiday season has been harder on me than usual. Sure, much of it is situational – I have less cash flow than years past, making gift giving harder. But I am also feeling bogged down by the whole “spirit” of the season. This idea that we have to buy and give each other things to tell someone “I like you, I appreciate you, I value you in my life.” The feeling of incredible pressure to find and buy the PERFECT gift for my husband was weighing me down. I am already an admittedly terrible gift giver, and combine that with the fact that MJ has a tendency to buy himself what he wants when he wants it… it’s a struggle. I don’t know what to get and so I wait until the last minute hoping lightening will strike, and then find myself scrambling. I think everything has to be infused with meaning, and the more dollars I spend the more meaningful it is. Forget about buying gifts for children…
Usually I love to look at gift guides by design sites or other bloggers, but this year, they all made me anxious. Nothing felt special enough, and I felt like a bad designer / blogger for not having created my own hyper-thoughtful and curated list of gifts to buy.
Standing in line at Joann (always a mistake around any major holiday) I was looking around at their impulse section:
Rows and rows of holiday (and other) scented soaps, lotions hand sanitizers, etc. It blows my mind. There is no way people are buying this much stuff. Where does it all go in January after nobody buys it from the sale bin? The trash? This is the kind of thing that gets my anxiety up. I literally rushed out of line, threw my items down into an empty shopping cart and got into my car to panic alone in the parking garage.
A few days later, wandering the children’s section at H&M, I overheard a teenage boy whining to his siblings and parents about how it’s unfair he isn’t getting the a new iPhone 7 for Christmas. “But you just got it in October”, one of them said to him. “Yeah, but that was Mom’s old one. It’s not new…” Are you kidding me right now? Hanging out with that kid is probably the most effective method of birth control out there today.
I told my dad I was having a hard time this season and his thinking was that I didn’t feel in the spirit because we didn’t decorate our home. This year, we didn’t put up a tree, and actually only today – two days before Christmas – did we dig up some lights out of a box and hang them. I’ve even tried a few times to listen to Christmas music but it just embarrassed me. I don’t know what’s up!
I mean, I kindof do. I realized I don’t have to participate in Best Buy’s version of Christmas in order to enjoy the holiday. I want to spend my few days off with people I love getting drunk on wine and eating lots of delicious food and not worrying about the calories. Right now I’m sitting here with a cat on my lap (he doesn’t even know what Christmas is!) and a space heater pointed at my feet. Later I’m going to start roasting vegetables for lasagna, and then will finally finish my knitting project. All of it is great, and my happiness about it relies not a bit on a present anyone got me or that I got someone else.
Happy holidays to everyone, I hope you all find a way to enjoy this time to it’s fullest – whatever that means for you!