christmas is canceled

I left it up to Twitter as to what I would update with today: sad, deep thoughts or random pictures of shiny toys. Most of the votes were for both in one update, so that’s what you’re getting – a twofer. Sad words and shiny toys ahoy!

I’m fairly certain I had many years of typical happy Christmas times with my mom and dad – there is photographic evidence of this, and I still have a few cherished items I received when I was little. The human brain is funny, though – all it takes is one powerful negative memory to define something, and it’s done. I only have vague recollections of jolly family Christmas goodness with my parents, but I remember the time my mother told me I ruined the holidays because she didn’t like my gifts with brilliant clarity.

Whatever, we all have bad memories lurking in our brains somewhere – that isn’t the point here. What you do with those memories is often what defines a person – I can spend each holiday wallowing in sadness for the Kodak Moments I never had, or I can try to build some NEW happy times so the warm thoughts are bigger than the bad.

I’ve been trying for pretty much my entire adult life to do exactly that; to build some new traditions that I can look fondly on when I’m old and gray. I’m never going to have a big family to do this with – there will never be a pile of children in the other room too excited for Santa to sleep; no grandchildren to shower with toys and baked goods in front of a big tree. I’m okay with this; I knew what I was in for when I became President of Team No Babies – but that still doesn’t change my yearning for ridiculous and trite Happy Family Moments to erase the bad memories that just won’t shake loose. I’ve been trying so hard to build something happy, but it’s just not working and I don’t know if I see a point in continuing to try.

Ed is really the only person I get to buy gifts for, but he doesn’t make it easy. Each year I try to find out what he’d like for Christmas, and each year he gets angry because I ask. He doesn’t want or need anything; he doesn’t care; stop bugging me. This morning I asked about stockings – they’ve always been my very favourite part of Christmas – and it turned into a fight because he doesn’t WANT little stupid things already so could I just stop asking.

Each year we do less and less in terms of general holiday merriment, but I’ve always fought to keep stockings alive. Even if we eventually decided to stop exchanging the more traditional gifts, I’d always planned to still do stockings – it’s a small thing; silly little presents for the sake of bringing a smile. It would mean so much to me to even have this one stupid thing I can claim as a tradition of our own, but no one else sees it that way. It’s a huge chore to have to think of things to ask for, to have to buy things for others, to pretend to care about any of it on Christmas Day – this isn’t festive, it’s a pain in the ass so just cut it out.

So, here we are. Why do I keep trying? No one appreciates it, and my gestures are only reciprocated out of obligation, not love. What’s the point? It would be better for everyone else if I could just get over my desire to build a tradition of happy times, since no one else has fun with this. It sucks, though. A lot. Enough that I’ve gone through a dozen tissues since 8:30 this morning, making my nose even drier than it already was.

Okay, so Christmas is canceled. What about the random pictures of shiny toys?

katamari is how i roll

retro active

in lesbians with you

Using the DIY tool on the Gelaskins website, I made some custom iPhone 4 screens complete with wallpaper. They are pretty awesome; I’m pleased with how they turned out. It was super easy to do, and now my phone is totally mine. Score!

12 thoughts on “christmas is canceled

  1. For the record, I am totally with you on this one. I LOVE finding great gifts for my people, and it really wouldn’t be Christmas without the stockings.

    Last Christmas was kindof a stinker for me in various ways. And I cried.

    I finally managed to explain to Neil that it’s not about spending a bunch of money, it’s about doing thoughtful things for each other (and appreciative of those “gifts” from others) on the holiday. And that’s important to me. Not that it was entirely (or even mostly) his fault, but it happened to be a year of people showing in various ways that they would rather be cynical on Christmas that really bugged me.

    We do have quite a few little traditions that don’t revolve around gift-giving that keep the Christmas spirit alive, at least in our tiny slice of the world. And that helps.

    But I agree that anyone who adopts the “oh god, the buying and the obligations and the rush and why bother” when it would not take a lot to buck up, chill out, and be a tiny bit cheery because it makes SOMEONE ELSE HAPPY really deserves a particularly festive punch in the nose.

  2. I am all about the stockings. That’s what I asked for this year. To help, I had Doug give me a theme – snowboarding. So whatever I put in his stocking will fit with the theme. I figure that makes it a little easier, and I might actually stumble upon something he likes.

    BTW… I have a present for you. It’s totally cheesy, but when I saw it I knew I had to get it for you. You should come to Seattle for burgers and mail and presents. :D

  3. There was a time, not so long ago, when I was WAY more enthusiastic about Christmas than I am now. It was so much easier to be when I lived with people who were all about it (my parents) and/or I lived in the same city as most of my family and all of my friends and/or I had a lot more disposable income with which to spoil all those people.

    It’s definitely not easy trying to keep the enthusiasm up when the person you live with is decidedly UNenthusiastic about the whole thing, and then you add on the fact that money is super tight and just the idea of being as generous as you want to be is stupid stressful.

    It’s not that I want to be a shrugger-offer of the holiday season, it’s just so much easier to I guess. But I do value the time spent with friends/family and I like the idea you had of doing Girlmas this year so that those of us in our immediate crew (ie, the girls) who want to care have free reign to (and screw the boys and their bad attitudes – though to give my boy credit, he’s usually the one to suggest that we should decorate, etc). I have it in me to be enthusiastic, I just need to work back up to it again :)

  4. I’ve been trying to use my need to buy presents for people for good – as I predicted, I’m trying to single-handedly buy the entire wish list for our adopted family. I used most of my Got Craft earnings to buy them presents (I think I’m up to 7 tags myself), but I told my coworker not to let me buy any more – I still have a mortgage to pay, even if this is more fun.

    • One thing that worked well when I was in charge of a Christmas family was collecting cash from colleagues who didn’t want to shop. Buying lovely presents with other people’s money, FTW!

  5. My Mom was the hugest Christmas nut ever. She loved it. She loved picking a tree and wrapping presents and planning the holiday meals. She would hum Christmas carols for the entire month of December, and handmade stockings for everyone in the family. And, by extension, I loved Christmas too. It was exciting, it was fun, it was family.

    She passed away suddenly almost four years ago. We tried to do a family Christmas the first year, but it ended up being Black Christmas. Seriously, looking back on it I laugh hysterically because it was such a bad idea and we were all so miserable. I spent the next two Christmases trying to start a new holiday tradition of drinking until I passed out on the couch.

    This year it’s something different: the dysfunctional Vegas trip! It’s me, a friend whose mom is in a coma, and a friend with recently divorced parents (presents this year: bitterness and drama!). We are all childless. I am starting a tradition of us few, lonely Christmas rejects getting together and spending Christmas morning drinking vodka cranberries and slipping dollar bills into the waistband of someone’s underwear.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that Christmas traditions don’t have to be Christmassy. Go out for a really nice steak dinner (or whatever protein you prefer) and make that a tradition. See a movie wearing Christmas hats, and make that a tradition. You don’t need to adopt any common Christmas stuff, particularly if your spouse isn’t game (neither is mine, I understand). Even a “traditional” Christmas stripclub trip is fine! It’s the spirit that counts.

    PS: Sorry I wrote a lot. Dud Christmases are a favorite topic of mine.

  6. Last Christmas sucked too. I was stuck wtih my parents, single for the first christmas in a few years, with no one to buy for but my dad (who is the hardest in the world) and my mom (who is easy to buy for).
    But you know what shined in my world last year? Festivus. A bunch of knitters, most of us that only know each other in passing through Ravelry (and some of us that don’t know each other at all but in our avatars) trade names and post what we’d like (whether we want knitted goods, what little snacks we like, etc). We keep it to under $40, all in, and we all meet for one night at a pub where we all meet and be merry. None of our sig others are involved, everyone has a shared hobby, and we have a great time. Like secret santa but with people who understand my obsession with crafting :)

    What I’m trying to say is, that sometimes you can’t rely on the other silly people in your life – make the traditions with the people who like them. And if none of your friends are interested in small gift exchanges, set one up yourself. I use Ravelry because I knit and hang out with knitters, but my roller derby girls are also doing gift exchanges (really, I can’t afford to participate in more than one!). I have friends on Ravelry that participate in worldwide swaps. They literally send packages to Britain and get yarn back from Alabama and Mexico. They don’t know any of the people, but there is some great stuff that comes along with it! Hey, isnt’ there a gamer site or something that is similar? :)

  7. My mom will shop all year for stocking stuffers. Opening up the stocking from her is the funnest part of Christmas. I have aimed to do as good a job, though I don’t shop all year.

    I don’t see what Ed’s problem with stockings are. There are small useful items you could put in there. Pens? Joints? Sexual aids?

    Your mom is weird. How can crap gifts from kid to parent ruin a Christmas? Really crappy behaviour, maybe, but that chick’s got a strange sense of priorities.

  8. I guess I don’t get the need for Christmas. I mean, I’m a childfree atheist who lives more than 3000 kms from any blood relation.

    Christmas stopped being a pleasant holiday when I learned that Santa wasn’t real and my parents were not going to buy me the most expensive gifts like my friends got, so I really didn’t like xmas.

    I really started to hate xmas when my sister or uncle would insult me at the table in front of my grandparents because they didn’t like me. I now avoid the season like the plague because it’s just so filled with hurt and anger.

    Since I am an atheist, it gets easier and easier to let go of Christmas when I remember that Jesus is the reason for the season, and I have no time for that.

  9. I agree with Shan: it’s hard when the other half HATES x’mas (like Pocket Barry), but I used to have really wonderful memories and nostalgia about Christmas. Now, I just get bummed out that it’s not as fun as it used to be or that I’m as excited about it. Although, I did talk to Barry about it and he said he was looking forward to us hopefully spending it with you guys this year again (if you’ll have us), as we really enjoyed the orphan Christmas last year :)

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