The house is decorated, and this year I didn't have as much fun doing it as I usually do, though I don't know why. It sort of felt like a chore. A bit of me feels detached from it all, like I'm outside looking in, and I'm hoping I can pass it off as a touch of the Holiday Blues and get on with it.
Holiday Blues: the by-product of a combination of the over-commercialism of Christmas and the stress induced anxiety one may experience before gathering with family during holiday season. That's my definition; Webster can use it if they want to.
The commercialism I can deal with and actually kind of like: have you seen my yard at Christmas time...it's the Griswolds all over again. Part 2. The pushing and shoving, over-priced items and long line ups I can do without, hence online shopping makes up 50-75% of my gift buying.
But the sometimes tense or stressful family gatherings are something one really can't avoid, unless you are willing to avoid spending any kind of time with your family. Which I am not.
The fact is you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family, and I'm not just speaking for myself but for everyone I know. I absolutely love my family. Both sides. I couldn't imagine my life without them and they mean the world to me. That isn't to say there isn't tension from time to time during family gatherings, not just at Christmas time but at any given time. I think people just feel more blue during the holiday season because they want it to be special, perfect, and filled with wonderful, traditional memories. If you add tension and stress to the mix, then eventually that warm fuzzy holiday glow will disappear over the years to be replaced by continuing stress.
If you start talking to friends or other family members you know, you will learn that everyone has a story about differing levels of holiday blues, and the stress it creates. Some people will tell you they don't know what you are talking about because they have perfect families, perfect holidays, with perfectly cooked turkeys every year. Either they are extremely lucky, extremely clueless, or liars. I pick the latter. Besides, they may just have a polite family who keeps resentments or complaints firmly locked away behind their lips. Not a bad thing, all in all, I have to agree.
Bottom line is this: no one is perfect; everyone has flaws that get under another's skin from time to time. But the secret is remembering that you yourself aren't perfect either, and knowing what your flaws are don't flaunt them. Having the maturity and heart to love each other despite or even because of these flaws are what make individuals a family. A unit.
Think of it this way: each individual in that unit was raised a different way with different ideals, traditions, and up bringings. When we marry we start a new family and new traditions and ideals are the result of mixing the ones we grew up with, thus creating a unique dynamic all our own. This being a fact, when everyone gathers under one roof, dynamics may clash and sparks may result.
Does knowing all this lessen your Christmas stress? Not really? Mine either. But it helps me to deal with it, put it in perspective, and move on. Why? Because I love my family and they love me too.
Just in case I depressed you, here's some things to get you in the Holiday Spirit!
|One of the many angels my grandma made and passed on to me quite a few years ago.|
|Some kids in the village display building a snow man|
|Santa's long lineup in the village square.|
|Love the little guys on the hill...the kids make them crash into the carolers below every year.|
|Downtown in the village.|
|Isn't this a postcard?|
|See I told you...The Griswold's Part 2|
|The scene almost looks ludicrous without any snow...we have zip, nada, none.|