Tuesday, December 19, 2006

rethinking the season

I had an unexpected, but not entirely unwelcome day off work today. Mr. Attitude came down with the fever and stomach bug that seems to be going around, but as he put it, "I'm glad I was sick so I could skip preschool." He looked so miserable for a while, though, that I don't know if it was really worth it. He has said that he's tired of preschool and "it's time to move on to bigger and better things!" There's my Attitude. He's feeling a bit better now.

I spent my day doing a few items on the "to-do" list, but being pretty laid back about it. I spent a couple hours setting up The Hermit's new printer/fax/copier/laser ray gun thingamajig. It's nice that the funding for his position has a little bit built in for such necessities. It prints photos really nice, all you have to do is put the camera memory card in the printer and voila! I'm thinking I might just get a nicely laid out Christmas letter with photos done...before New Years.

But alas, I'm starting to get the tightening feeling in my abdomen that comes with the holidays. I think it's because Christmas is a time of ideals; every magazine and newspaper and TV show has "tips" for the perfect celebration. Confession time: I used to adore the December issue of "Good Housekeeping". A long time ago. But when it comes right down to it, everyone's family is dysfunctional in its own way, and the perfect get together is just a Good Housekeeping myth. If I can keep that thought in my mind, it might make things easier. Holiday Hint #1: You and your family won't miraculously morph into the merrymaking agreeable souls you imagine them to be.

Holiday Hint #2: Create what you want. If it's a Solstice bonfire, or at least a ritual skate on the pond followed by hot chocolate for the kids and hot toddies for the adults, go for it. I have to keep reminding myself, I'm the Mom. I'm in charge of creating memories!

Holiday Hint #3: It's a blessing to have a husband who will endure standing in line outside the electronics store to fill the kids' wish lists. But it's going too far to have to camp out overnight in front of the store to get the #1 must-have Christmas present! The new game console will have to wait until after the holidays, until after the corporations have staged their annual "look how far people will go to buy our product!" holiday abomination. We're just not going that far. The Hermit reports that tempers were flaring, and one woman who showed up a bit too late was heard to shout "Jesus F-ing Christ!" Merry F-ing Xmas to you too. :) But The Hermit was able to bag a couple other highly-wanted gifts; there will definitely be smiles Christmas morning.

Holiday Hint #4: Must...bake...cookies...


Anonymous said...

Taking notes. I'm feeling positively Grinchy about The Holiday today, but maybe once the day arrives I'll get into it.

Floridacracker said...

Well, I was tempted to just post some ditto marks, but I wasn't sure that would make sense.

It really is about making memories (the magic I often refer to). I thought that the day you posted about cleaning and then skating with the kids on your pond. It hit me that your kids were having a Currier & Ives type traditional snowy pond skate and that is probably a rare thing these days for the majority of the country. It probably seems like a fun, yet regular thing to them now, but in time it will probably become a most cherished memory of their childhood.

And, ditto on the waiting in line and making good attempts at special things, but we draw the line at going to extremes. Especially when the market will be flooded with them after Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Bake cookies? Nah. I just roam around and eat them and bring home assorted trays of leftovers. More diverse memories that way!

LauraHinNJ said...

I find myself doing less each year and feeling happier - go figure!

I saw those crazy people camped outside of Target the other night. Can't help but think of lots of better ways to spend time (and money).

pablo said...

For certain "heart-felt" reasons, our holidays will be considerably scaled back this year. Our attention will be focused on the truly important things this time around.

Still, if cookies weren't now forbidden at my house, I might beg and plead for you to send me some.

Anonymous said...

I have made a strong effort the last few years to change my expectations of the Christmas preparations. Art takes a day off work and we shop for the kids during the day when crowds are thin. I've also gotten pretty good at internet shopping. Luckily my kids are beyond the popular toy/game age. I don't do cards any more, and we bake cookies after Christmas during school break. It works for us and has saved my mental health!

Anonymous said...

psst. your tagged!!! 5 things we don't know about you.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog. I have a son north of Bemidji who also blogs, his spelling is horrible but it is part of the charm of his hillarious blog. They they share many of the same experiences you have living in northern MN. I too think Christmas is over-rated. When I was a young mother, i worked myself into a frenzy trying to make everything "just perfect!" Now I don't care what someone's house looks like, what's on their buffett table, or what they'r wearing: I am only so gratful for my family and friends, they are my true blessings and gifts.

Tracy said...

I know that tightening feeling in the abdomen. I spent this past weekend almost dizzy from stress, and finally got over it on Monday night.

This summer, I heard a speaker who said that stress is the disconnect we feel between what we expect and how things really are. That one comment comes back to me again and again, reminding me to live more in the moment and less in my head. It's much easier said than done, though!

Sandy said...

I like the way you think, Deb.
We have simpler holidays these days, and find ourselves enjoying them more.

Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Deb said...

Note to self: next time I respond to ten comments, make double-dog sure the phone cable hasn't slipped out of the DSL modem!!! I'll try to re-create my thoughts.

madcap- I go through the grinch phase every holiday too. I try to get over it, but with the darkness and all, it ain't easy!

FC- thanks, I hope the kids get as much out of skating as I do...I think I'm just a big kid that way!

And, great timing, I think the Game Cube may have died tonight. :( I hope there's a glut of Wii's after Christmas!

arcolaura- Now there's the way to do it! My body certainly doesn't need full batches of cookies.

laurahinnj- Yeah, why make it stressful? The simpler, the better.

pablo- no...cookies? Remember, all things in moderation. And, a little red wine is good for the heart. No doctor will tell you, but alcohol does wonders for HDL cholesterol (the good kind). From my latest HDL test, I have been drinking enough.

lynne- those sound like good suggestions, and I'm glad you have found a way to keep sane throughout the holidays!

dragonfly- Tag noted, and will respond shortly!

anonymous- Thanks for commenting, and I would love to read your son's blog, if you wouldn't mind sending me a link through a comment or my email address (on my Blogger profile). I lived up by Park Rapids for a while, sort of in the area.

tracy- I have been thinking about the expectation thing a lot lately, and what prompts me to have these expectations about the holiday...maybe a long walk in the woods on Christmas morning would be the best thing I could hope for!

sandy- thanks! may your holidays be full of joy! (that goes for everyone!)

Anonymous said...

I'd like to read anonymous' son's blog too! Would she/you share the link?