Christmas spirit – or lack thereof

I’ve been trying to get in the Christmas spirit this weekend.  After all, it’s a new month (December!  How the heck did that happen?), and Christmas party season is already in full swing.  I’ve attended three so far and the month has barely begun!  But I’m not sure that my Christmas spirit has yet found me.  In fact, it seems to be more and more difficult for me to locate with each passing year.

I’m having trouble figuring out why this is.  When I was younger, Christmas was my favorite holiday.  And I don’t just mean when I was a kid, either, which shoots Seymour’s theory of all play and no work in the foot.  The music, the food, the happiness that seems to fill the air and everyone around – I love it all.  I love the decorations and Christmas trees and the hot apple cider that the Hardin County Auditor’s Office puts out for visitors to the courthouse every year.  Most of all, I love spending time with my family, especially the people I don’t often get to see.

But as I get older, I find myself becoming a little more Scrooge-like.  More and more often, preparation for get-togethers leads to stress levels that I would rather not think about.  Maybe it’s no wonder I have headaches all the time.  And it causes me to wonder if things were always like this?  I find myself paralyzed by the fear that I’ll be judged negatively based on my tuna casserole or the missed booger on Thumper’s cheek that is still stuck there because the kid is so twisty and squirmy that he can put contortionists to shame.  (Also, he’s got a wicked cold.)  These are things that I didn’t used to worry about, even when Tomcat was a baby, but which bother me now, and which zap me of a lot of my enjoyment of the season.

I’ve been having this trouble for some years now and as I was thinking about it the other day, it finally occurred to me that maybe the reason I still loved Christmas, despite the inevitable stress that goes along with cooking and cleaning and trying to keep four kids clean enough to call them presentable, is because I only had to deal with one family: mine.  Well, my family and my husband’s family.  I guess technically, that makes two families, but it was normal.  You go to one family one day and the other family another day.

Then I got divorced.  Now all of a sudden, I have custody issues to deal with and disappointed relatives on all sides in addition to all of the normal holiday stress.  Maybe it’s no wonder I’m beginning to dread the holidays?

And that’s the sad thing.  One of the best parts of my childhood, the one thing that my family actually tried to keep magical for me in the midst of something terrible like having my mother away for the holidays because she was in the hospital being treated for cancer, is now something that I barely look forward to.  I want my kids to have wonderful memories of Christmas and I feel like all I can give them are memories of a grumpy and cynical mom.

Today’s Christmas party was a family Christmas event, one we weren’t expecting to attend again because Seymour’s grandma passed away earlier this year and she was one of the biggest reasons people came.  Now it looks like we’ll do it at least one more year, which is great.  But we were listening to one of the all-Christmas-music-all-the-time stations in the car on the way home and most of what they were playing just made me kind of sad.  They played a couple of good songs, like “Christmas Time is Here” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio and “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby, but mostly I found the music depressing.  Since I’m usually the girl who changes the radio station to Christmas music on Thanksgiving, the fact that I’ve hardly listened to any this year so far is rather noteworthy.

I suppose this will only get worse as the kids get older, but hopefully I will be able to find my Christmas spirit again one of these days.  I don’t enjoy feeling miserly and I’d prefer to find my Christmas spirit without the aid of any spirits.  Maybe if I watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and A Garfield Christmas and The Muppet Christmas Carol and White Christmas enough times, it’ll come back to me.  Until then, I guess I’ll be singing Christmas carols till I’m blue in the face.

Thanks for letting me get serious for a post, guys.  I’ll be back to blathering on about my usual nonsense soon enough.  Does anyone else out there share my Christmas blahs?  What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?  Anybody have any suggestions for beating the winter blues?

(c) 2012.  All rights reserved.

13 thoughts on “Christmas spirit – or lack thereof

  1. *tara says:

    Serious, introspective posts always welcome.

    Although I still love the season, I understand that feeling of getting older and having to fight harder to find the magic in things that once came so easily. It’s a shame that some feelings don’t come as naturally any more and I find myself thinking about it a lot. My motto is going to be fake it till you make it. 🙂


    • Kay Kauffman says:

      I guess it’s like that scene in Dogma where they’re talking about faith and how as an adult, it takes more faith to believe than it does when you’re a child. But I’m sure there’s still hope for me – after all, I just watched the trailer for The Muppet Christmas Carol and it put a big ol’ smile on my face, so clearly I’m not beyond saving. 😉


    • Kay Kauffman says:

      I used to love it all, and I miss loving it all. Well, except for the snow part. And the crowds when you’re shopping. But maybe having little ones again will help me rediscover my Christmas spirit. Maybe taking them to see Santa and watching old Christmas specials and singing Christmas carols with them will help me find the magic that I’ve been missing once more.


      • Roger says:

        I’m going to be spending Christmas day alone, and I’ve got to admit that I’m quite looking forward to it. I was invited out to my wife’s family meal, but the peace and quiet will be just what I need.


        • Kay Kauffman says:

          I’ll be spending Christmas at home, but not alone. I could do with a few days of peace and quiet, though. I like to think I’d actually get some writing done, but I have my doubts. I’m in a wedding the weekend after Christmas for one of my best friends and, while I would like to get some writing done in between festivities, I don’t think that will happen, either, because I’ll likely be just too tired.


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