Fancy-Schmancy-One-Time-Only FTSF Co-Host

OHMIGOSH! I cannot begin to tell you how exciting this is – I’m a Special Guest Co-Host for the first ever blog hop I ever fell completely head over heels for, and have stuck with for pretty much every week it’s been going.

Absolutely THRILLED TO PIECES to announce that here – RightNow – is the beginning of FTSF (except it might not be *quite* yet, because let’s face it – they go live at 4am my time, so I’m ahead of the game and the linkie will go live at whatever magical hour the usual, wonderful hosts have set. And they’ll probably be a little pissed at me for butting in, but they didn’t tell me not to, so NeenerNeener – I got to TimeZone someone else for a change…)

Your co-hosts (the real ones who’re here every week and make it SOMUCH fun) are SantyKid, JingleBella, ProcrastiKate and MaybeAngel


So, for those of you who might not know – there’s a choice this week: “This holiday season I will…” OR “My favorite Christmas tradition is…”

I told you last week about my favourite Christmas tradition of years gone by – decorating the tree. So this week, the completion of the deal with my plans for the holiday season. Which, to be fair, reads more like a ‘to do’ list…because so far I’ve been in ‘to don’t’ mood, and have done pretty much precisely not one single thing – which is where the dichotomy of Christmas chaos starts.

Okay. One single thing. I got Niece and Neff to stick four bauble-shaped window stickers on the french windows to our chic balcony. That. Is. It.
Because Christmas is hard for me this year. In fact, I’m totally on the run from it. Completely as much as possible. But I know that for many good reasons, it needs to happen; I need to try to engage with it.


Cards
These WILL happen. We have the card blanks. We have the idea. We have the time(ish) on Saturday. We’re going to make them because a) it’s sweet to have a personalised card that someone’s put time and effort and energy into, and b) it’s cheaper. Then they need posting. This WILL happen. At least by NEXT weekend. I hope. But many of them will be ‘last minute cards’. But they’ll arrive.
Every time I look at that accusing pile of card blanks and think of the address list of all the kind and lovely friends-and-relations we have to send cards to (because it’s polite, it’s the done thing, and it’s Christmas, yo!) I cringe inwardly. I don’t want to be Grinchy, and sending cards with “F*** OFF CHRISTMAS!” written in black ink and signed with anger, is NOT the done thing. And at Christmas, we must all do the done thing. Or at least try to. Because Christmas (yo!).

Presents
Thank GOODNESS I’m vaguely organised in the year. I’ve been stock-piling (some) presents as the year’s gone on. Only because I’m usually (though particularly this year) so hideously disorganised that if I don’t have a plan, and a book with everyone’s name in it, and a space to write the present next to their name, and to know that it’s done and dusted and all I need to do is wrap it and deliver it…it just wouldn’t happen. 
Buuuut there are still a few people with blank spaces next to their names! Which means I need to go shopping. Which means I need to enter the hell of ‘Christmas Threw Up At The Mall’ and go get them. I’m not looking forward to that ONE BIT. Maybe they’d all like Happy New Year presents instead…

The Work ‘Do’
A time for fun and bonding with new colleagues and wearing out my fancy dress and VERY fancy shoes and having a nice meal in company with awesome people. Right? RIGHT? Oh, and it’s TONIGHT, by the way. So I’ll be coming home, showering, changing and hoping that all will be well and that I’ll get to stuff my face on yummy food and enjoy the live music and company. Probably.
As long as we don’t talk too much about Christmas. Or plans for Christmas. Or have to listen to music about Christmas. Because I think it will be very, very easy to start the night with a protective, armouring drink. And possibly another one. And there comes a point when everything’s light and bright and hilarious, and it’s the best idea to DRINK ALL THE DRINK. And I really must remember that I have to face these people again on Monday. That they are instrumental in me keeping my job. And whatever else happens…I…must…not…cry…in…front…of…them. 

Decorating the house
There’s those bauble stickers. That counts, right?
Forever for me a time of family and of making the house beautiful and revelling in Christmas Festive Cheer. And I’m desperately short of that this year. We’ve had two Christmas cards so far, and it’s taken Capital-E Effort to take them out of the envelopes and stand them up so I can see them. We have an advent calendar which we haven’t been opening the doors of. I don’t want the house to look Christmassy. I don’t want to be trying to enjoy and appreciate festiveness when it’s the furthest thing from what I feel. But I’ll see how bothered Husby is. And if he wants it, I’ll do it. Because he’s doing SO much for me…(read on).

The Tree
No tree yet. Traditionally in my world, it doesn’t come in and get put up til Christmas Eve. So we got time…we got time. I just need to organise us into getting the dang thing. Which I’m not sure how is going to happen. At all. Because next weekend we’ve got Niece and Neff to stay, and no WAY will it fit in the car with us all in there. Nor do I have a roof rack. Or the inclination to go this weekend.
I just don’t think that with all I’m already asking Husby to give up this Christmas (and bless his heart, he’s doing it so cheerfully, so willingly and so supportively – I’m truly blessed) that I can ask him to give up the tree as well. Not for our First Christmas in our New Flat. So I truly hope that when the time comes, I can engage in the ‘tree-ness’ of it all, and try not to think about what should’ve been or might or might not be, but that I can just somehow live in the moment and enjoy it for what it is.    
  
The Traditions
This year we’re creating some new ones. The chickies have both flown the nest, and now Sis has her two littlies, it seemed time to begin creating ‘Our Generation’ traditions. So on Christmas Eve, once Husby and I finish work (half day – YAY!) we’ll be going over to hers for a buffet lunch, to watch The Snowman, and all snuggle up on the sofa to read The Special Rudolph Book. This book was read to my Dad, when he was a little boy, and he’s read it faithfully, every Christmas, to Sis and I. A little over a year ago, there was a ceremonious Handing Over of the book, when we inherited it between us, so that we can pass the tradition down. It’s going to be gorgeous.
A bit of the old and wonderful, and a bit of the new and lovely. I think I’ll manage this bit. This part doesn’t strike any kind of terror into me. Mostly because I won’t be at home for it.

Midnight Mass
Well okay, not Mass, because it’s prot as they come, but it’s still something I’ve gone to every year since I was old enough to be allowed to stay up late. And it’s always full of wonder and joy and a strange, still, expectant splendour which is unmatched in the rest of the year. Quite simply, it’s a deeply spiritual, magical, amazingly profound event. I really want to be okay with going to this.
So much want to be okay. But perhaps I’ll sit at the back, upstairs, where no-one can see me, so that if I suddenly find that the usual thing has happened and the thoughts have flooded in and spilled down my cheeks in raw tears, no-one will see…

Christmas Morning
In years gone by, this has been a time (variously) of church or stockings and presents or having a lie-in before cracking on with lunch. This year I think it will be a year of having Special Christmas Breakfast (not sure what, yet) and spending some time quietly together before getting on with our day.
No, this is okay. Because no precedents have been set. It’s been more than ten years since there was a properly set pattern to Christmas Morning, and I can quite happily manage the flux and whatever it brings. 

Christmas Dinner
Again, no real traditions here, and thank goodness, because I’ve come up with a Plan, which Husby (again, with HUGE greatness of spirit and supportiveness and sweetness) is happy to go along with. We’re going to go to a local church where they organise and serve Christmas Dinner to the homeless of our city. I have training to attend this Sunday, so that I know what to do and how it all works. And that’s where we’ll be. Hiding from my fears and anguish and anxiety by trying to make other peoples’ day better. It’s not noble. It’s not laudable. But it is necessary.
This (along with the Tree and the Decorating and The Whole Shebang) was the Panic Point I’ve been dreading most. Because slaving away to create a delicious Christmas meal, I can do. Eating and enjoying said meal I can do. But it will be at a table with just two of us, where there should have been three. It will be at a table where there might forever more be two of us (and that hurts so, so, so much). And even if I’m pregnant again by then (small hopes, but you never know) I’m too scared to make any ‘Happy Christmas Pregnant’ memories only to face the bitter, mocking reminder next year if once again I don’t manage to carry my baby beyond a precious few weeks. And then there’s the afternoon…stretching out interminably…when I’d either be on Facebook, desperate to connect to anyone else who’s hating Christmas, upset that I was ruining the Christmas Spirit for Husby, and quite likely drinking myself into not-caring. Which would end badly. Because it always does. So no. I’m not up for this. Not this year. And that’s why my seemingly amazingly giving gesture is tainted with selfishness. But it’s still necessary. 

Christmas Evening
Not sure how long the Christmas Dinner will last, but I should imagine the evening will be free. Perhaps by this point I’ll feel enough in the festive spirit, and feel ‘escaped’ enough to go round to Mum’s (still not home) and indulge in a glass of wine and a watch of whatever’s on the box. And escape more. 
And if I’m careful, I can drag it out til past midnight, when I can tell my brain it’s officially Boxing Day, and I will have escaped Christmas…and I’ll be safe. And ready to start preparing for next year. When I really, really hope I’m in a better place and can start over – begin building Nice Christmas Memories At Home – and do it properly. Joy and Festivity and Loveliness in all abundance…please…            

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63 thoughts on “Fancy-Schmancy-One-Time-Only FTSF Co-Host

  1. LOL I'm glad it did, seeing as I stole it from one of your own updates on FB…hope you don't mind!

    You're so welcome for the co-hosting – I LOVED IT 😀 It was really fun, and thank you for the opportunity. Such a lovely thing you guys are doing, having guest spots on this.

    And thanks – that last bit is a reassuring thought. Happy Christmas to you 🙂

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  2. Crap, there's SO much here to comment on, so I'll just pick three. First, thank you for your sentence idea and co-hosting. 2nd – ProcrastiKate made me laugh. 3rd – I think what you're doing for Xmas dinner is a good move. If you know you're going to have a hard time, then focus outward – I think that's a really, really good idea. I think most of the things we do for others have a little self in them anyway. Merry Christmas, Lizzi!

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  3. Thanks Jean. I will get through. I know others who're in avoidance mode – we help each other out. And yes – I'll do it as little as possible. But I'm trying to be kind to myself and let myself off the hook for avoiding it at all. I'm almost sure I got this…

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  4. A. You can get through this season.
    B. Wouldn't it be nice if knowing other people grumped it out during the season too could make it all better. Not sorta but all?
    C. Sometimes, if taken in small measures, avoidance isn't a shameful or bad thing. Sometimes it helps with that whole self preservation thing.

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  5. I'm fortunate not to have a TV – I'm not inundated with adverts, and it's blessedly quiet and sane without one blaring away strident commercialism 24/7.

    Your Christmas plans sound quiet, enclosed and comfy. I like that. I hope it's really wonderful and enjoyable and fulfilling for you. And yes, you're on the button – I should be thankful for the things and the people I DO have. Some don't even have that.

    Letting go sounds good though. I'll try that. Let it happen, it will be whatever and however it is, and the day will end and be done with, hopefully with some Good done along the way. Thank you for these important thoughts for me to bear in mind 🙂 I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me.

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  6. LMAO.. Christmas threw up at the Mall!! My thoughts exactly! I have panic attacks just a store commercials. This year was lots about home made (blankets – on my blog) and 'cookie clubs' for the families with young kids (year round gift) I probably spend an extra $50 but saved that and more in time and gas money running to a hundred stores.. also a huge savings to potential psychiatric intervention. Empty nest holidays are all kinds of weird when finding tradiations.. I make a warm calzone, have that with some Chinese food appetizers like egg rolls and crab Rangoon, we find a good movie and snuggle up.. not much, but it's a comfy and quiet night. I do it alone on Christmas day with the running around.. husband hasn't participated in any family activities in too many years, be thankful you have someone to share your memories with.. but I practice 'letting go' and not trying to control the situation that day. I really need to look further into an act of giving on the actual Holiday, maybe just maybe my husband would participate in something like that. You are a good person and will find your 'way' this holiday.. remember.. there are NO RULES..

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  7. I'm trying hard to make it SOMEHOW work. Preferably for good. But it's going to be a bit different and a bit odd this year. Next year, when things are more stable, THEN I can start making memories. Thanks for dropping by, Tarana 🙂

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  8. You know, it's great that you're making your own plans for Christmas – not what it's supposed to be. If it doesn't work for you, just do what makes you happy! I really like the idea of feeding the homeless on the occasion, and the Christmas Breakfast sounds good 🙂

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