Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the most wonderful* time of the year.

No matter how you slice it, Christmas will never live up to your expectations*.  It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, surrounded by family or alone, December 25th leaves even the most jolly feeling melancholy.  Or maybe it's just me.

Dog knows I've got baggage when it comes to the holidays.  I want it to be perfect and for everyone to be happy.  That manifests itself into me spending all sorts of energy trying to figure out what I deem to be extremely thoughtful and lovely gifts that will tell the giftee (I don't think that is a word but it totally should be) that I friggin' LOVE them with my whole heart and then some.  I basically shoot myself in the foot before the gift is even unwrapped.  You see, the secret is that I absolutely expect you to react appropriately (according to my deluded vision of sugar plum fairies and whatnot) and show me that you think the present I have given you is the most awesome thing you have ever received and OMG HOW DID YOU KNOW I WANTED PURPLE HIGH TOP CONVERSE!?!.

Of course, this leads to a #giftee #fail because you open the box and think the beautiful afghan I have crocheted for you is a sweater and you are mildly horrified thinking you will likely have to don said sweater at least once and email me a picture of you in it pretending you think it is the cat's ass.  And yeah, that afghan would totally make an ugly sweater, but dude, it's a BEAUTIFUL afghan so wipe that deer in the awful-gift head lights look off your face and say "WOW!! This is totally beautiful Kat.  I really appreciate the hours of crocheting to Law & Order reruns you put into making my Christmas gift.  You are the best sister-in-law a guy could ask for".  Uhh, yeah, that happened.  We laugh about it now.  I'm over it, really.

The biggest piece of scuffed up, gotta-sit-on-it-to-close-it, hard core piece of Samsonite ass kicking baggage is my daddy issue.  He'll probably read this, and I'm okay with that because everything I write here I would say to his face.  I'm not kidding about that either - I've cried my heart out (drenching a perfectly good plate of sweet potato fries) in a restaurant in front of this guy.  He knows I have no shame.    As December rolls on through, I get edgier and edgier as I wait for him to call.  Will he want to see us?  Or maybe this year he'll just call on Christmas day and leave a message.  Ideally, I'd like to see him, for him to spend some time getting to know his incredible grandchildren. But it's totally a weird vibe because he lives 30 minutes away and visits maybe twice a year.  Do I need to dredge up all that emotional guck for the sake of tradition?  (The "tradition" being me feeling lousy about him calling or not calling.)

This year I decided to supersede the issue by proactively emailing him in November and asking if he wanted to come out for a visit during the holidays, and if so, when.  He responded that yes, he would like to come.  I emailed him back asking what size he is wearing these days and did he want some suggestions for what to get the kids?  That was last week.  I'm still waiting for a response.  So, I can't win - my daddy issues are biting me in the ass anyway (will he call? when is he going to call? why hasn't he called?).  Perhaps I'll bring this up with my therapist next time I see her.

Why the rambling post you ask?

I want you to validate me and tell me that I'm not the only one who has screwy feelings about the big C.
I'm not the only one who spikes my morning coffee before opening gifts.
I'm not the only one who feels that pang of sadness after all the dishes are washed after the big turkey meal that another Christmas has passed and bloody hell I despise taking the tree down.

Or maybe it's just me.


  1. Two things about Christmas that freak me out:

    1. I ALWAYS decide to hand make way too many of my gifts and end up rushing and stressed out and pledging to never sew again.


    2. I always feel a push-pull between wanting to rush around and see people and visit and wanting to stay home in my pajamas reading books by the fire. Once the holidays are done I rarely feel like I've done enough of either.

  2. Caroline7:08 p.m.

    so, maybe a little judicious lowering of expectations? If it's Michael you're talking about, the fact that he grew up in the Jewish tradition should be a huge clue. I have finally learned (often forget this, but try to maintain some connecttion to this knowledge) that I can only be responsible for my own shit, and everyone else has to take responsibility for their own. Has led to extreme lowering of my expectations of others for the hols, and thus an upping of my own gratification (since I am easily pleased with my fam around me and lots of sleepy-meat in my belly. A Terry's chocolate orange doesn't hurt, either.) You strike me as someone who, in other parts of your life, have mastered the art of defining your ownself, rather than being defined by others'reactions to you (or maybe you just fake it well) So, try to remember that part of your selfie and ignore the anxious wish to create the fictional "perfect holiday" doesn't exist until you let it. Hope you have one this year!

  3. @Jennifer - okay, how about I come over to your place, put on my pjs (the ones you sewed for me) and we'll hang out by the fire and read. Also, tea.

    @Caroline - not M at all. Him and me are solid. Talking about the OD (original daddy). And yes, I'm decent in some areas and a total faker in others. It's actually the faking that I'm trying to stop, because pushing stuff down isn't working out very well for me. I think this holiday season will be fine, but my inner eeyore will likely make an appearance.

  4. I hear all of this.. and relate. but my theory of late is: the family that you need to concentrate on is the one in your home. And sometimes its close friends and neighbors too. Those are the people you're creating shared experiences and memories with. I wouldn't lower expectations, I just wouldn't have them outside of the people you CAN control: husbands! kids! ha ha haha... seriously: Have a Merry Chrimtmas kat!!

  5. Anonymous10:55 p.m.

    Just last night I had my second sobbing session of the season. If I could cancel Chistmas I would- except that it would upset my family and that is really my big issue: trying to ensure that everyone is happy at Christmas. A huge stressor is deciding which parent gets us on the 25th. The 24th is the second place spot, and the poor loser gets boxing day. Can't have everyone together because of various divorces and general uncomfortableness. Lovely. I want all the parents happy (I don't even try to include myself in that) and of course I want it PERFECT for my kids.

    The best Christmas ever was the year we took the kids to Florida in an RV. She opened presents in the RV in the parking lot of the Magic Kingdom.

    This year we're back in Florida, but this time with my sister in law and their kids. Problem is that they buy WAY more for their kids than we do and how do you explain that one to them- especially trying to preserve the Santa thing. Crap I need a drink.