Even in the best of years, I'm just not a Christmas-y kind of person. When I was a kid, it seemed like holidays-- Christmas and Thanksgiving and Fourth of July-- had a Norman Rockwell sort of flavor to them. I had a big family. I was the oldest of a whole passel of kids. We lived in New England, which for some reason makes everything seem a little more Norman Rockwellish. But as an adult, I have admit that I could pretty much take or leave just about every holiday.
This year, I had a bunch of people over the night before Thanksgiving, and that felt more Thanksgiving-y than any actual Turkey Day meal I've had in a long time. New Years is overhyped and over-promised. And one of the many downsides of being childless is that Christmas just really doesn't feel like Christmas when there aren't little kids around.
But this year, my inner Grinch has been having a field day. Money woes and work angst have been amplifying each other into a feedback loop of crushing stress. In some ways, this Christmas was poised to be the least joyful holiday ever.
And I'm not saying I've figured out how to rescue it. I'm trying. Only time will tell. What I am saying is that I am going to work harder to have my long-lost inner Buddy Elf vanquish my long-standing inner Grinch.
Tonight I bopped on over to my personal Facebook page and saw that my Aunt KL posted this picture:
This is Christmas 1960. The tallest one is my dad. The other little dudes are his four younger brothers (Aunt KL is married to the littlest one). And when I saw this picture, I was floored.
Dad died when I was three; he was twenty-seven. I was born on his 24th birthday. I think about him a lot. But I don't really ever think about him being a kid. A kid who had brothers. A kid who enjoyed Christmas. A kid who had awesome big ol' glasses that hipsters in 2011 would covet.
And my lord... if you've ever met me, you're probably freaked out by the resemblance too.
Anyway, I kind of needed that kick in the pants. Needed to be reminded to be grateful for the holiday season, regardless of the feedback loop of stress. Needed to be reminded of how many more Christmases I've gotten to enjoy than my dad did.
So I'm going to try to do better, be merrier. I know so many people who are facing a far more challenging holiday than I am, so I need to do more than to just do better-- I need to be better.
Tomorrow I'm hoping to make some headway banishing my Bah-Humbugs by seeing Actors Theater's A Christmas Carol with The Guy. How do you bring cheer to your winter holiday of choice when you're just not feeling cheerful? Do you have any recommendations that are bound to put some jolly in my soul?