It's less than a week before Christmas, and I don't care. Not in that depressed way that people don't-care-because-they-might-as-well-be-dead-because-it-doesn't-matter-anyway. I don't care because...well...I don't have to. Our kids are grown. We have no money. The kids have no money. So instead we've decided to have a nice family holiday with good food...sort of Thanksgiving, Part Two.
It feels tremendously liberating. I'm not a Christmas person anyway...I'm an Atheist, so the Jesus part doesn't speak to me. I hate shopping, so the consumerism just pisses me off. Oh...and I loathe Christmas music. The only part of it I really like is the food and family, decorations with twinkly lights, and the smell of pine trees and a roast cooking.
I've been talking with friends and coworkers, and there seems to be a consensus brewing that Christmas isn't fun anymore. I don't know if it was ever fun for adults, really. Did our parents stress about the money too? I remember going to Chicago with my mother to see the Christmas display in the window of Marshall Field, but I don't remember the money part. I wonder if my parents put their heads together and tried to decide which bills to put off or which credit cards to max out in order to buy us Six Finger cap pistols and Easy Bake ovens.
My childhood family managed to fuck up holidays in much the same way we managed to fuck up every other event, so this is yet another place where I have only the vaguest idea of what "normal" people do. And I'm somewhat suspicious about the existence of normal people anyway. Who are the mythic functional families that provide the counterpoint to our dysfunctional ones? No one I know. Maybe there's an undiscovered pocket of emotionally healthy people who can enjoy their holidays without angst...I'd like to meet them. Maybe sit at their feet and learn their secrets.
So this year we get to have the parts I like without the parts I don't like. That'll make me happy, but I worry a little a little about everyone else. It's one thing to say we want our Christmas to look like this, but another thing to actually live it. I've had 45 years to hone my dislike of Christmas to a razor's edge. I sort of understand that the rest of the world may not feel like I do about it. I love my family more than anything in the world, so...I worry. A little.