I’m sitting here watching it rain buckets, but the town’s “Blinkie” lights and the Moravian stars are keeping my mood festive. I am not a big celebrator of holidays. That probably comes from the whole commercialization aspect that has taken hold of our celebrations. I hate shopping and dislike the obligatory gift giving. I would much rather buy a gift for someone at a random moment that would actually be special than having to figure out what they might want or need at the end of every year. And who doesn’t like an unexpected gift? That is much more fun for the giver and the getter than the Christmas gift gluttony.
Having been the Grinch/Scrooge many times over the years I finally decided I needed an attitude adjustment. I quit beating myself up for not having a budget for extravagant gifts. I discovered Etsy and Amazon (no affiliates here folks) thus ending the need to fight through crowds. I simplified the decorations to what I really liked and took little time to put up. I stopped trying to cook ridiculous amounts of goodies that none of us needed. Instead I perfected my Chex party mix recipe and live off of it for one month, once a year. I quit trying to win Most Beautiful Package of the Year with my gift wrapping. Now I don’t even put on bows. They just get squished. Most importantly, I quit looking for Christmas “cheer”. The expectation that all was wonderful and bright about the season. Ok that sounds pretty Grinchy but let’s be real. It’s stressful not cheerful most of the holiday season.
All these changes had the effect I wanted. I’m rarely stressed now at the holidays. Instead, I get to appreciate what Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year should be about in my opinion. If you thrive off the hustle and bustle, go for it and celebrate on! I’m a low-key, introvert, borderline hermit.
Yesterday my Christmas came early. Not the gift giving, but the Christmas spirit. We celebrated the life of my uncle Chester who passed on Saturday. I know that sounds strange, but bear with me a few more minutes. First, Chester was 88 years old. Most of those 88 years he was the life of every party and a prankster extraordinaire. For about the past year he had been confined to life with a feeding tube. I don’t think any of us wanted him to continue on that way for much longer.
His funeral was more laughter filled than tear filled as just a drop of his many antics were shared. The Christmas spirit part for me was the time I got to spend with family and old friends. I rarely get to spend more than a couple of hours Christmas day with my aunt, uncles, cousins frantically trying to catch up on each other’s lives. Many have stopped coming to the family gathering as their own families have grown and new traditions are made.
The funeral was held at my home church in the community where I grew up. Thanks to Facebook I manage to keep up with some people there but so many others I don’t. Though very brief, the hugs and conversations were wonderful. I even discovered a couple of them read this blog. Thank you, my highly patient and tolerant friends and cousins! I left the funeral with those all too rare warm and fuzzy feelings that come from tears, laughter and love. I think uncle Chester was enjoying it immensely too.
Have a wonderful hug filled week!