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…)
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.
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!).
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).
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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…