Thursday, December 9, 2010

the tyranny of christmas

I'll be the first to admit: I don't deal too well with this season. But truly, does anyone, really? It is custom-made to drive us collectively around the bend. The pressure to produce the perfect: tree, gifts, decorations (inside and out), wrapping, cookies, parties, phototastic events, cards... the list goes on and on.

And over and under it all: the non-stop drumbeat of buy, buy, buy, buy, buy.

No wonder my family spends the entire four weeks of Advent eyeing me as if I am a pressure cooker with my little steamvalve rattling away, just wondering when I am going to blow in spectacular and messy fashion. I think it's all about the entertainment value once I eventually erupt. The other option is enduring the Christmas marathon of house to family to church to family to house with one mother of a backache, probably due to holding on tight to all that pressure.

I know I'm not alone in this, despite everything that every possible source leads me to believe about the absolute fulfillment inherent in putting together the "perfect" holiday extravaganza, guaranteed to put stars in my kids' eyes and everlasting memories in their hearts. I have to keep reminding myself that I am not a bad mother because I don't buy 100% into the B.S. illusion.

This is not to say that I don't enjoy Christmas. I do. I just need to vent about it every so often to keep it in perspective. I try to do it out of the hearing of my family, but I don't always succeed.

However, last Sunday in church, we sang a hymn that gave me my Charlie Brown Christmas moment for this year:

People look east, the time is near
of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able,
Trim the hearth and set the table.
People look east, and sing today --
Love, the Guest, is on the way.

That's what this is all about! Preparing our houses, our gifts, ourselves, as a manifestation of love. (Well, in the case of the garbagemen and newspaper carrier, maybe more along the lines of my heartfelt appreciation, but you get the drift.) Your own religious views may be vary, but no matter what they are, if you celebrate the holiday, I humbly submit that this pretty well sums up what it should be all about.

So I am trying to do just that, remind myself that Love, the Guest, is on the way. Not get too torqued about having the decorations just so. In fact, so far, they have been pretty much single-handedly put up by this Christmas elf:

who accomplished most of it by himself, on his own initiative, while I was ferrying his brother to an orthodontist appointment. (Geez, no wonder my Christmas cheer is lacking -- it is direct proportion to the amount of time I have.) He did a great job so far and is somewhat disappointed by my lack of followup, but I will be working on that this weekend...

All to show how much I love him.

1 comment:

  1. Food and Wine magazine just did an article on 19th century food/drink. I ripped it out and will mail it to you if you want - it had some pretty interesting recipes and ideas - just wasn't sure if that was too "modern" for your interest. Let me know.