Christmastime just isn’t the same as it was when I was little. Sure, it was always kind of disappointing, seeing as we were dirt poor and often received gifts that still bore dirty price stickers from the Salvation Army. Sure, gifts from our dad were usually things he wanted and would commandeer the minute they were unwrapped, under the guise of “showing us how it works.” Sure, I was usually in trouble for some reason and had only been taken off restriction as a special treat for the holiday. But man, did we have Christmas spirit.
We’d spend the weeks leading up to the holiday wearing bells on our shoes and practicing some sort of Christmas pageant. (Hello, poor folk have to make their own fun!) I’d invariably “direct,” which meant telling my brother and sister exactly what to say and getting horribly frustrated when they didn’t follow my vision. Heh. I was a party as a kid. We’d sing (constantly, and badly) and watch endless Christmas specials on TV and put tinsel on everything.
These days I’m just not feeling it. Here it is, Christmas Eve, and I can barely muster up a “Bah, humbug.” Not So made his traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner, which was delicious but so unlike the lovely White Trash holiday feasts of my youth. I don’t even remember the specifics of my holiday meals, but I know they involved potatoes. How can we have a holiday without potatoes?
It’s not the food, I know, but how do I generate excitement for the holiday when it just feels like another day? I don’t get a vacation from work. There’s no snow or visiting family. It’s just us, hanging around the house, trying to keep the baby from throwing a fit because his molars are coming in and apparently this engenders a great deal of wailing. Oh, the wailing. Maybe the wailing is trampling my holiday spirit, but I have a feeling it wasn’t hanging around in the first place.
We’re in this weird in-between state as far as holidays are concerned. Usually we spend Christmas with Not So’s family, simply because Not So has a family who gets together for holidays and I really, really don’t. They do this elaborate dinner/breakfast/gifts/more dinner ritual that I always found both comforting and foreign. But it was a thing, you know?
Last year we had Christmas here, but since we’d just had a baby on December 13th, Christmas was sort of anticlimactic. Gifts? Whatever. I just gave birth. And then we snuggled the baby some more.
So this is really the first time we’ve been genuinely on our own for the holiday, and we’re not really sure what to do with ourselves. Do we go all out and decorate, even though it’s only us? (The answer to that is, obviously, no.) Do we sing Christmas carols and watch Christmas specials and gaze beatifically at each other in the glow of the Christmas lights? (Again. Really not.) Or do we sit around like good little atheists, one of us on the computer, the other playing on the PS2?
I hope that by this time next year I’m busy baking Christmas cookies and teaching my kid to sing the in-between verses of Rudolph. We’ll have Not So’s Italian Christmas dinner and then we’ll have some suitably White Trash dessert (like a marshmallow pie or something) and then we’ll snuggle together on the couch to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas. And everyone will live happily ever after.
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