So I’ve been on a staycation for the last two weeks. I always find it great to relax and unwind at the end of the year. But it all comes to an end tomorrow as it is back to the grind.
I always end up feeling a little sad when Christmas is officially over. To be fair, we still have our tree and lights up and I made a deal with my wife that we could have one more week. The tree isn’t dropping a lot of needles and she’s willing to vacuum them up. But, that is just hanging on to something that has already gone by.
I love Christmas. We’ve got three mantles and several shelves full of Christmas decor (yes, we are that couple). I love putting up the tree. Well, I don’t really love wrestling it in the house but once you get it put up, I do like sitting back and admiring it.
We have a vast collection of ornaments and most of them have a story. We bought a bunch when we were first married and a lot of them came from after Christmas sales or store close outs because when you start with almost nothing, it can cost a lot to build up a critical mass. But we have several from vacations we’ve taken. Yes, I’m the guy who buys refrigerator magnets and Christmas ornaments as souvenirs. I’ve told you I can be a hopeless, sentimental romantic and that’s just a sign of it. Every vacation is a memory so having something that brings it back once a year as we hang the ornaments is nice.
I have several that I took from my parents that hung on trees as we grew up. Some of them were hand made by my great grandmother. Some of them were ornaments my parents got from their parents. Some of them aren’t much to look at but they all tell a story.
One very strange Christmas memory I have is when my Mom was in the hospital when my younger sister was born. That left my Dad with three boys to do the tree. He must have picked a really bad tree or he forget to water it because it died shortly after it was put up and decorated. And by died, I meant it started to rot so it had to come down. So our tree that year had a shiny metal trunk with silver, glittery branches that we had to plug into various holes in the trunk. It was small and we ended up just putting on a lot of shiny pink ball ornaments because there wasn’t much space. I think of that because I took some of those pink ornaments. In later years, we actually dug that tree out and decorated it in another room because it needed to fulfill its duty as well.
I don’t remember much about presents that I received but it is just the memories and good feelings about Christmas that always come back.
Things just seem festive and lively. I even love the stores and their decorations and the aisles packed with all kinds of stuff that doesn’t really make good gifts but is there for impulse buys. Of course, as an introvert, I always go early in the day when the crowds are down. It is just something I do those days before Christmas when I’m not working.
And there is nothing sadder to me than stores after Christmas. All those gifts that were carefully stocked and presented in a way to get you to buy are now stuffed haphazardly on a couple of out of the way shelves with prices slashed. The displays are now filled with exercise equipment and diet stuff as people make their resolutions and Valentine’s candy since the stores know most people won’t keep them. The great retail cycle rolls on and it is like the stores just can’t wait for Christmas to be over. I suppose if you’ve worked in one and heard non stop Christmas music for six weeks, you’d be ready to have it end as well.
And, I don’t like that part of Christmas. The number of people who rush out on Black Friday to wait in line with the rest of humanity to save a few bucks buying stuff that the recipients may not even want just rubs me the wrong way. I know it is part of Christmas for some and I don’t judge but that’s not where the focus should be. A gift should be carefully thought out, not bought because it is a door buster.
There’s a line in the classic “Christmas time in here” from the Peanuts special that goes “Oh, that we could always see such spirit through the year …” I think that sums up a lot of why the end of Christmas can be a sad time for me. I know there is a lot that happens but it does feel like people are nicer and just in better spirits around Christmas (ignoring the shoppers who are elbowing people out of the way to get a bargain). Or, I could be totally off base about this because I can be an idealistic dreamer. But, come Monday, the real world intrudes again and people who’ve been off with family and friends will be back at it. You’ll be in rush hour cursing the person next to you who cuts you off. You’ll be complaining about that co-worker who does that thing that always annoys you. Your boss will still be a jerk (except me because I’m the world’s best boss) Most of the good feelings from the last weeks will vanish. I wonder why that has to happen.
(Author’s note: In case you are wondering, I have decided that I need to more fully explore this side of me. Too often, I allow the world to make me cynical. It is the dichotomy within me because the feelings I express here are real, but in reading some of them, I chide myself for being so sappy. But, I’ve decided I need to let this side out a little more. Don’t worry, the blog will still have a lot of ballroom stuff, but you may see more of these type of posts. Or not, it depends on which side wins out)