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Monday, December 12, 2011

Overcommitted, Oversubscribed, Over Holiday

I have turned into quite the cynic in my later years.

In my early ones (years) the holidays were chock full of traditions. My late father was a minister of music at a large church and our christmases were decked with beautiful music all the way through. There were advent songs (To this day O Come O come Emmanuel is one of my favorites, keep yer smart a** comments to yourselves I am TRYING to be serious here), candle light services, Handel's Halleluia chorus, Caroling parties to nursing homes. I danced. So The Nutcracker was de rigueur.  To this day nothing gets me in a bit of a holiday mood like the Dance of the Sugar Plum fairy.
'cept maybe THIS guy...

My folks threw epic gatherings, full of home made food, cheap wine (these were small college professors), games, laughter, music and massive amounts of stressful planning and clean up.

After a month of this, we'd pack the whole shebang up and head to my grandparent's on the other side of the state of Kentucky where we'd indulge in long family card games, sitting around the fire not drinking alcohol because my blessed and saintly grandmother who is still alive and chatty at 98 years old will go to her grave believing that poison has not touched these lips.  (I try not to imagine what would happen if she knew EVERYTHING I did).  Huge breakfasts, lunches and dinners were launched, relatives greeted and played with, and the orgy of Christmas morning gift wrapping paper was, in a word, spectacular for a kid.

Still don't know how my folks pulled all that off.

In the way of young families, I used to do a lot of the same, minus the travel.  I baked, dragged kids to church and ballet, decked our Crowe family halls within an inch of its life no matter what country it happened to be at the time and threw epic parties (see above).

Lately though, I've slipped.  With all that goes on my life now (see: Beer Wench plus writer) I'm sitting here staring at a 2/3 decorated tree and a living room still full of unopened boxes of decorations.  And the manger scene is still tucked into its special storage container.

I'm no grinch.  I smile when I hear certain tunes and do love the Christmas Eve service at our church here.

But the realization that I have exactly zero presents bought much less wrapped reminds me that there are times that this whole holiday thing is one large pain in my rear end.  Never fear. I shall rally, usually after my birthday which is this coming Saturday in case you'd forgotten.  I am a notorious super last minute shopper.  As far as I'm concerned I still have 2 weeks left! Talk about a glass half full gal, eh?
OH There goes Hans again (see Wench's Muse), trying to get me in the mood....might work, no?

Have the holidays become more or less meaningful to you? In what ways? Does it concern, or liberate you?


Paris said...

Try as I might to get into the spirit this year, it's been a wee bit tougher. I was sick of the commercials urging me to buy this or that (the car ones have me shaking my head)before I even thought about putting up the tree.

I'm just happy when the family gets together for a day of fun and munching goodies:)

Cara Marsi said...

Love the pictures, Liz. The holidays have become less meaningful to me as my son is grown and lives 2500 miles away. We probably won't have a tree this year. In the past, I worked full time yet managed to buy lots of gifts, decorate, bake cookies. Now I pretty much put out a few things and watch hokey Christmas movies, which I love. I stopped baking cookies when my son was a teen. He and my husband confronted me and begged me to please not make any cookies. I'm a terrible baker. I miss the running around at times, and the anticipation. On the other hand, Christmas is so much more relaxing - a few family parties and church, my movies, and that's about it.

Cara Marsi said...

I wanted to piggyback on something Paris said. The Lexus car commercials with those people buying each other cars really get on my nerves. Very insensitive in today's economy. Off my soapbox now and back to whatever I'm doing.

Liz said...

I know! please, a flipping LEXUS with a bow? spare me.
I do love the one where the Caddy drives the guy to Jared tho...pretty funny.

Jessica Subject said...

This year has been tough for me as well, for a multiple of reasons. Now that there is snow on the ground, it's a little easier to accept Christmas is just around the corner.

Harlie Reader said...

I miss going to church on Christmas Eve. Don't get me wrong, we are there every Sunday but somehow with the travel that we have to do to the inlaws, I miss it. Our son knows the Christmas story and in fact the town Santa Claus goes to our church. Yep, he walks right up to during communion and says Hi Santa! Our son knows the difference, sorta. He thinks its great that Santa goes to church.

Pretty soon I'm going to insist that Christmas be spent at our house. My brother and I did that when we were younger and we stopped going to Oklahoma. Still traveled but after Christmas.

Harlie Reader said...

And yes, the Lexxus commericals are terrible. I'm having car trouble today and we CAN NOT afford a car payment right now. :(

Great post Liz.

jean hart stewart said...

Loved this...I've given up a real tree but have a beautiful (little) artificial one that's prestrung. I take everything much easier. Pork loin instead of turkey, etc. and cut out a lot of the work and strain. Still feel Xmasy though, and will as long as my kids keep coming for the day. LUV to all! Jean

Molly Daniels said...

Here's to December birthdays Liz:)

Lately, with strained finances, our 'Christmas' comes at tax refund time!

No, seriously, I decorate the house and buy what we can for the kids, but the best presents are taking a warm shower at my mom's house, or helping to fix dinner in a kitchen with lots of counter space. Loading a dishwasher. Or even what happened two years ago: I was a given a coat which was the wrong size. I didn't need a new winter coat, so after the holidays were over, I returned it and was able to buy myself several sweaters and even some jewelry with the refund.

This year, I'd love to have a haircut, massage, or even just a day of window shopping with my best friend:)

Vicki Batman said...

Hey, Liz. I've kept most things, but have ditched the holiday cooking. Most people bake tons anyway and I don't need to add to it.

I prefer Christmas breakfast with hotcakes, loads of bacon etc instead of another loaded dinner.

I'm with Cara. I watch holiday movies (Love, Actually yesterday) with an occasional man.

Sometimes, the simple things are so much better. :)

Sandy said...

It's been very tough this year and for the last couple of years. There will only be three of us together this year, so we're not doing much.

Your hunky Santa Clauses are great.

Liz, I hope you have a wonderful birthday.

Karen Cote said...

Great post Liz...Wishing you a lovely birthday this Saturday as well.

I'm actually feeling the spirit more than anything this year. My kids can't make Christmas but we're celebrating in January. Still...the magic of goodwill always fills me with wonder. Christmas always has and always will be about hope and love.

Presents and gift exchange certainly put pressures on what should be a joyous celebration. I recall struggling and heartbreak as a single parent in wanting to give my kids what other kids and commercials enticed them with.

Luckily the true joy of Christmas is free...just as it was designed. Why do we always try to mess with that Devine plan?

Merry Christmas dear friend. Thanks for sharing your holiday. My tree has lights on it but that's only because it is pre-lit. Haha Like you, my decorations are sitting beside it. LOL maybe today...

Liz said...

thanks guys! yeah, I have my lists, and will shop next week for certain. And our traditions like watching Love Actually and Elf still stand. But the older we get and more complex life becomes, it just seems easier to take it...well, easy!
And this year I have so many projects on my plate I find myself awake at 3 a.m. unable to sleep so next time that happens I'm gonna get up and finish decorating!!

Nina Pierce said...

Seriously, shouldn't we just somehow be able to skip this whole December thing all together. (Reference my post from last week.) Though I certainly did enjoy your Santas!

Nina Pierce said...

Seriously, shouldn't we just somehow be able to skip this whole December thing all together. (Reference my post from last week.) Though I certainly did enjoy your Santas!

Liz said...

I'd skip it with you Nina, if I could.

Katalina said...

We do so much less these days and the holidays mean so much more.
If its stressful I ditch it and offer something I would be willing to do in its place.

Tina Donahue said...

Love the guy with the shorts and the suspenders. :)

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