Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oye vey, Christmas is coming

Believe it or not Halloween has come and gone. I say that because we still have enough candy to feed an entire neighborhood of eager trick-or-treaters. And do you know what that means? Have you been to a mall lately? A Hallmark store? It's the holiday season folks. Christmas is coming, get your jingle bells on .

I used to be a Christmas freak. I couldn't wait to pull out all the decorations and transform our ordinary home into a festive holiday wonderland. I insisted on a tree the day after Thanksgiving. I decorated with candles, poinsettias and ribbon. I hosted cockAdd Imagetail parties, and bought the latest Christmas CD. I was a bonafide Christmas Jew.

Over the last several years however, it as if someone was slowly letting the air out of my big jolly balloon, and this year, I am afraid I may fall entirely flat. As the holiday approaches I feel less merry and more stressed out. Perhaps this explains why every "Woman's" magazine features countless articles on simplifying the holidays from October to January.

I can't seem to help myself. When I think about the season I envision dragging out all of the clutter from storage-I have no space for my every day belongings, where am I suppose to put my fine collection of Christmas tree candles? I think about the pine needles endlessly falling from the tree. I think of all the shopping, so much shopping, so much money, money, money. Trust me, I love shopping, I adore giving gifts, and perhaps that is the problem. I always overspend, leaving me feeling guilty and guaranteeing that my husband and I will be caught in an endless battle of the budget each December. And please, no comments about crafty gifts for less, I am no Martha Stewart. I don't sew, I don't can, I don't preserve and don't use a glue gun, thank you very much.

Finally, I know children are suppose to bring the magic to the holidays, but to be honest, I found that since I have had kids I have felt a tremendous pressure to make Christmas special. To create amazing traditions and memories. Somehow my lame attempts at cookie baking never seem to measure up.

I know I am getting away from the true reason for the season. At the risk of offending my more religious readers, to me the true meaning of the holidays is family. Celebrations where you get everyone together, grandparents, cousins, sisters and brothers. Which is great. Except we live miles and miles and miles away from our families, so being together entails a lot of work and stress. It means packing, shipping gifts, finding pet sitters, and flying with small children at the busiest time of the year, (and did I mention flu season?) All of which quite frankly put me in a rather foul mood.

So here I am at the begining of November already full of dread for what used to be one of my favorite times of the year. So tell me, what's a girl to do? How can I learn to love Christmas again?


  1. Since I have always had a distant relationship with Christmas, I've always loved it. Christmas music in the shops and displays in the windows along with egg nog at a neighbor's has been the extent of my Christmas relationship, so luckily, it has never been marred with gifts/shopping/travel/stress. Plus, since we're so non-observant, I don't go nutty over the Jewish holidays either (we are all for a festive family meal but don't go insane cleaning for Passover like many do) so all in all, I've got the best of both worlds!

  2. Girl, we need ta tawk! I'll help ya out ;-)

  3. Well, obviously, super Jew here doesn't do Christmas. Around our house it's respectfully reserved for our non-Jewish friends. So, at the risk of sounding obnoxious, here's my advice: buy a lovely menorah and a box of candles, teach the boys the prayer over each candle on each day and let them marvel at the miracle of the lights. Set up each of the eight days for something special for the boys, from tzedakah to book days, to a family day to one in which they get their favorite toys, and you'd celebrate your own holiday.

    Why not? And you'd be doing something respectful for your Christian neighbors too: leaving their holiday as the celebration of Jesus' birth that it's meant to be.

    Now I'll shut up...

  4. Oh Chanukah a holiday I love to remember, a lovely day(s) , a happy day(s), it comes in December. Just saying.

  5. Linda,

    Perhaps I should mention that my husband is not Jewish, and grew up in a Luthern home... changes everything....

  6. You do what works for you and don't drive yourself meshugah!

  7. Hmmm, not sure I have any advice. Now that my little one is 'getting' what the holidays are all about I feel like a kid in a candy store with the holidays approaching. I can easily say there were times I may have put up very few decorations but not this year. Maybe your putting too much emphasis. Just let it happen and maybe by mid December you'll get that itch again?

  8. That's a tough one. One thing that we did is took a break from visiting the Grandparents. We live in Montana and one set lives in Colorado, and that drive isn't so bad. However, the other set lives in Iowa. That is a trip. So this year we're staying home. I'm still not ready for it, but I figure it'll all come together somehow. Half of my stress is all the worry in advance. Good luck rekindling your love of the holiday.

  9. Well, I do agree that the most successful interfaith marriages have to figure out their own way and what combination of the faiths is the right one for their families. I was intermarried before my current marriage and, though we didn't have kids, we had started our own brand of compromising, like stockings on the fireplace and Xmas eve at his parents' house.

    I hope you regain your spirit, and please accept my apoligies for being so obnoxious.

  10. No need to apologize Linda-you have a good point. :)