Merry Christmas and Bah Humbug

It’s the holiday season.  To some radio stations it’s been the holiday season since November 1, which drives me crazy.  I want to call them and say “What about Thanksgiving!”  I can’t listen to Christmas music until right before Christmas.  If I listen to it too early, I get burned out and then just want the holiday season done.

This year, I didn’t start listening to Christmas music until Tuesday when I was home cleaning.  This was the same day I brought the tree up from the basement, which was easy.   We leave it assembled with the lights and a plastic bag over it so all you have to do is put the ornaments on it.  I learned that trick from my Mom.

I really haven’t been in the holiday mood this year, neither has my husband.  I’m not quite sure why.  I like Christmas.  I like driving around at night looking at the lights on the houses.  On our street almost every house has colorful lights or something in the yard lit up.  I say ALMOST every house because our house looks really dull next to the ones across the street.  I would love to put lights up but I don’t want to do it myself in the freezing cold and my husband doesn’t enjoy “home improvement.”

We’ve always sent out cards with letters.  We got fancy, made the letters look like a newspaper and then over the years took it down to pretty holiday paper.  I recently saw friends at Target and told them I wasn’t sure if we were sending out letters (again, not in the mood).  They said they always look forward to our letters.  This year, my husband and I haven’t wanted to write the letter.  We haven’t even sent out cards.

I feel guilty not sending the cards out.  I will send to a few people who either I don’t have their e-mail addresses or they don’t own a computer.  Some of these people only hear from us once a year, so I know I need to send them something with a note to catch them up on what is happening in our lives.  The other people will receive an electronic JibJab card.

Last Christmas

Right now it’s Christmas Eve.  I just wrapped the presents, got my daughter’s stocking out from the basement and my daughter has the flu.  We won’t have turkey tomorrow or a honey baked ham, we are having spaghetti with the famous sauce my father-in-law created when he was a firefighter.  It always feels like we are honoring Norm when we make the sauce.

I kind of wonder if I’m not in the holiday spirit because there really isn’t any snow on the ground.  I’m from northern Iowa, where it would snow so much we would have problems getting out of the driveway.  Sometimes we would have a hard time getting the front door open, the snow would be so high.  This year I’ve been off work since Tuesday.  My office always shuts down from December 23 until after the first of the year.  This year I decided to add a few extra vacation days to make it a nice long, almost two week vacation.

One of my favorite memories of Christmas was being home from school for two weeks.  Staying inside, lying by the furnace reading a book.  I always loved just hanging around the house with my family, watching holiday movies and shows, reading books, sleeping in, making holiday cookies and playing in the snow.  A family tradition was always going to church Christmas Eve to the midnight candle light service.  Singing Silent Night with candles lit and then coming home and opening one present.

Another thing I enjoyed was lying under the Christmas tree with all the lights off so I can see the pretty lights on the Christmas tree.  If you have never done this, do it now.  Turn all the lights off in the house, turn the tree on and then get on the floor and look up the tree.  It’s pretty cool.

The negative Christmas memory I have was when I was four or five and Santa and Mrs. Claus came to our house.  They scared the crap out of me.  So I went and hid behind the couch.  My dad dragged me out and made me talk with them.  I know there is a picture floating around of me in Santa’s arms with my face in my hands crying.  Whenever I think of that memory I’m right back behind that couch.

And of course, every year you have to watch the holiday shows.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas (I taped it on Thursday), Frosty the Snowman (my favorite), Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, I want a Dog for Christmas Charlie Brown and of course It’s a Wonderful Life (yup, taped that tonight).  I have always made sure to watch the shows every year.  I have missed a few this year since it seems like they are getting broadcast earlier and earlier so they’ve been on before I realize it.  I think they should be on the week of Christmas.  Not December 1st.

My family minus the oldest sister.

The holiday season is about family.   But lately I’ve been thinking, why should it be a must to travel to see family at the holidays.  I find it stressful deciding which family to visit instead of staying home.  I think we should make a point to see family several times during the year.  As we get older and busier in our adult lives, the days get away from us and next thing you know it’s been six years since you’ve been home to see your parents.  You never know how long any of us are going to be around, so take some time in 2011 and visit family.

So enjoy this holiday season and take a little time to relax, breathe and look at a few colorful lights.  Don’t let the retailers make you think you have to give a bunch of gifts.  We all don’t need any more material things.  Instead, volunteer your time, donate money to a charity which will help families in need or adopt a child or senior citizen who doesn’t have anyone.  The holiday season isn’t about the presents, it’s about helping others.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat.