I am not sure I can really pinpoint when I started loathing the holidays. I can clearly remember as a child loving everything about the holidays; but then what child doesn't love the holidays? I waited with anticipation for the time when we could pick out and decorate the tree.
The idea of making a new strand of popcorn garland for the tree, fighting with my brother over who got to hang the special ornaments, watching the bubble lights softly glowing in the dark, adding to and then putting up the Christmas castle, and all the other holiday traditions we had started driving me out of my mind in early November. What can I say, I wasn't good with patience.
Then that all changed. I think it was around when I was probably 12 or 13 that things shifted for me. My mom had gotten remarried, we were in a new city, and all of our old traditions were gone. We didn't have any of our old decorations or ornaments as they were all actually our grandmothers. We had to start completely over and make new traditions.
I just wasn't cool with that idea. Traditions are traditions for a reason after all. Plus I was that obnoxious age when you don't want to go along with anything and making everyone miserable is your goal in life. Add to that the fact that, unbeknownst to us, my moms illnesses were causing her mental problems, making her incredibly manic, and the holidays just weren't fun anymore.
By the time I had outgrown that phase of life, and mom was properly medicated, and we had actually happily settled into our new life, I just had a bad taste for Christmas in general. I still liked looking at other peoples decorations, and I liked giving an receiving presents, and I still loved to bake holiday treats, but for the most part I was a Grinch.
I wish I could say this changed once I got out of college or married, but it didn't. I for years just didn't want to participate. I baked cookies, I gave gifts, I went to holiday parties, I was still present for the holiday; you just couldn't tell by looking at my house.
Then two things happened.
The first one was a gift I gave the husbeast one year. You see he loves the holiday season. He also loves the decorations. Since I was never inclined to decorate, we never had. It isn't that I said he couldn't decorate, I just said I wouldn't help at all. He being on the lazy side just never got around to it. Year after year I watched him get very sad and pout about not having a festive home.
So one year, about 3 years ago, I sent him out to play board games with his friends, and while he was away I decorated for Christmas. I employed the help of my two best friends, and we quickly put everything up. Now I didn't go all crazy or anything. There were some pretty pine cone garlands around the house, some very natural looking twig and berry wreaths, a small artificial tree, and some pre-lit garland around the windows and doors. It took us about an hour to get it all done.
He walked in the door and made a happy squeeing noise that normally you only hear from small children on Christmas morning. You would have thought that I had bought him a puppy for how excited he was. I now decorate for him every year. The decorations go up in ten minutes and come down just as fast, but he is happy none the less.
The second thing happened the year before I started decorating. We had found ourselves with no time off for Christmas, and nothing to do for the holiday. We sort of decided we would exchange our gifts that morning and call it a day.
So there we were sitting in our undecorated kitchen, opening our presents in no sort of excited state, and then he played on his computer and I watched TV re runs all day long. I don't think we even ate anything special that day. It was really sort of depressing.
Between those two events I realized something. While I don't enjoy making a huge fuss over the holidays I still like having a holiday. I like having our friends nearby. I like having a sense of excitement and anticipation. I like being able to look around my house and see the signs of the season. I like to have some traditions.
So there might not be 8 Christmas trees around my house, and you probably won't hear much in the way of Christmas music playing, and you most certainly are not going to convince me that driving around looking at lights on peoples houses is a good time; the holidays are still there.
You will find me at my house, or a loved ones, every night from last night until the 26th. You will find meals that could be considered feasts at every turn. You will see presents scattered through the house. You will find that even in the mundaneness of watching movies it is done in a sense of togetherness and celebration.
You will find that I am not, so much, a Grinch anymore.