I am not a sentimental person, which consequently makes me a sub par “holiday-er.” All the traditions and expectations of a good time make me nervous like a meerkat bobbing up and down, frantically twisting my head waiting for it all to go wrong. I gird my loins and wait for the little elf shoe to drop. And don’t let the twinkle lights on my house fool you, I do it solely for my kids and to bother my neighbor Frank, which is really worth it if you knew Frank.
The precedent for my malaise was set by my parents who were not great “holiday-ers” either. Christmas was more like a modernization of “Apocalypse Now,” and I was a sweaty teenage girl whispering “the horror, the horror” in my yellow sony headphones. From loud family brawls to gifts from the gas station, it was not the most wonderful time of the year. I once ate a pecan pie on Thanksgiving, all of it, alone. I was 15. So when the season of sentimentality descends, according to television, movies, books, social media and every holiday advertisement ever created, I should feel like a miniature Snuggie has wrapped my heart. Meh.
I just feel out of my element. It’s not sugarplums dancing in my head but thoughts consumed about buying gifts, parties, gifts for parties, kids parties, gifts for kids parties, babysitters for going to parties, gifts for people not even at parties and making sure to wave to UPS deliveryman George every night. Thanks George! It’s so exhausting thinking of all these details, it brings on my narcolepsy worse than wine laden with Ambien.
Here’s the thing: I don’t think it’s just me. Who can feel anything when bombarded with Christmas music in October, buying a tree in 85 degree weather or endless lists of things to do? I know that sounds bah humbuggy, but I am betting many of you are nodding in agreement. It’s all too much Hallmark and too obligatory.
So how to tackle the “Tis the season” fervor? Embrace your bah humbuggyness. I do.In the end, it’s not about eating pie alone but it is about being real. Everyone should feel normal for buying the wrong gift (not saying my husband has, not ever), for cooking the turkey to the dryness of a dishtowel (not saying I have, not ever) and disappointing one or both of your children on a minute by minute basis for the duration (not saying, well yes, yes, we have). It’s just not unusual to feel unusual. Like Rudolph, maybe we all aren’t meant to play reindeer games, but that’s okay. Holidays are a recipe for emotional indigestion but the embrace them with humor and pie, make sure you have really good pie just in case.