Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's Christmas Time Again

The holidays for me have changed a lot since I was a little kid.  Maybe I have to clarify that to the year 1999, just as the New Year had rolled in, because I remember very distinctly playing one of the Legend of Zelda games and fishing, showing my Dad how cool it was, very shortly before he died.

When you lose a parent at the age of 19, things can get pretty weird very fast.  Luckily I was still in college and even though I had an on-campus job, it wasn't a real job by any means so there wasn't a big disturbance from being gone for awhile.  My mom told me I needed to stay in college and that summer I picked up my first job where I'd put up a Christmas tree on Halloween, find myself in a mall on the day after Thanksgiving and find only one parking spot at the far edge of the property, and I had a Mom who didn't want to decorate for the holidays anymore.

My brother and I took it upon ourselves to pick up the holidays.  That was the first year that I made an effort (in the freezing cold and rain) to string lights up outside my house, to decorate the Christmas tree, and to get my Mom going when it came to making Thanksgiving dinner.  In fact, not too many years later, I'd started doing Thanksgiving all by myself (with a few helpful tips now and then) and eventually Mom even started decorating and getting into the spirit again.

But ever since that first Christmas in retail, I've been there, putting up trees around Halloween and not being able to enjoy a Christmas carol or tune because it's been played 50 Million times before December even hits.  Being one of the retail people can really suck any fun that Christmas once held for a person.  I try not to get into the spirit some years because I worry that I'll just wear out too quickly, and I usually do.  I wait until the last week or so before Christmas to shop, wrap presents, mail cards, etc. just so I don't get burned out.  It's hard being the numb one when everyone is having parties and exchanging gifts.  But I guess that's just the person I've turned out to be since my Dad died.

Maybe it would be different if we had a big family.  In fact, our family is so small now, at least the amount that can travel, we can sit around our little kitchen table.  I made Thanksgiving dinner in such a blur this year that I'm not sure how it all came together at exactly the same time, or how it was over so quickly.  I even got to watch the parade this year, albeit, mostly on the TiVo, fast-forwarding through commercials  Basically just my Mom, my husband's parent and grandmother, and besides a few aunts and uncles who all live out of state, it's a pretty small family, so holidays are rather brief I guess.

This year I decorated as I always do.  I think I get more enjoyment out of the process of decorating than I actually do enjoying the decorations.  Mind you, I do like looking at decorations I only see once a year, and maybe that's the reason I deck the walls like I do.  But we have very few people over to enjoy them, and when I mention 'oh, I should take a picture to show you', even my Mom shrugs and says, 'that's okay'.

But, even without people enjoying my decorations, at least I know that the cats are enjoying them.  They enjoy playing with the strings of lights in the windows...they enjoy chewing on the Christmas tree, they enjoy the copious amounts of treats that I've been giving them randomly...you know, the Christmas spirit and all.  They even have a stocking of their own we're working on putting stuff in.  It's the little things that count you know.

Boy....this really makes me sound pathetic.

I guess I should go work on Christmas cards.

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