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What Does it Take to Get Some Christmas Spirit Around Here?

December 10, 2003

I love Christmas. I seriously, seriously, love Christmas. I start the Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving and play nothing else through Christmas Day. I make several trips to the mall, not to shop but just to soak up the holiday atmosphere. I make candy. When I have time, I make handcrafted gifts for a privileged few. My biggest regret in my adult years has been the lack of an extended Christmas vacation to enjoy it. I should be in heaven this year.

But I canít get in the mood at all.

Itís not the lack of funding to buy gifts. Before this layoff came up, I had already planned to clean out the overabundance of leftover gifts from past years, and warned people that they might be getting a strange assortment of gifts this year. Gifts are not a problem.

Itís not that the best half of my Christmas CDs seem to have vanished into thin air. I have plenty left. They might not be my favorites, but there is enough good stuff to keep me going.

Itís not that my beloved huge lighted stained glass star seems to have died. (Either that, or all the bulbs have finally burned out!) I canít find replacement bulbs for it anyway.

Itís not because there isnít much snow. The ground is white, and thatís plenty for me, seeing as I am the one and only snow shoveler for my household.

Could it be that Iím involved in so many projects right now that I havenít had time to even think about Christmas? Could it be that since Iím actually living life the way I want to live for a change (other than the lack of funds) I am not throwing myself into Christmas to try to fend off the melancholy of facing the end of yet another wasted year?

The other day I got the urge to bake cookies for Christmas. Now, I donít bake cookies. I make Christmas candy, yes, but that mostly involves candy canes, almond bark, and a microwave. Yet I was having (unrealistic) visions of giving out tins of a beautiful assortment of cookies for Christmas gifts.

Then I made my annual candy cane run. I absolutely have to have a Christmas mug full of candy canes sitting out, whether they get eaten or not. But this time, in addition to the peppermint ones, I got chocolate mint and cinnamon. And I have always thought different-flavored candy canes was kind ofÖanti-Christmas, you know? But theyíre good!

Maybe itís not that Iím not in the mood for Christmas. Maybe itís that there have been so many changes in my life lately that the old traditions donít fit any more. The first year I had my own place, I went out and bought a six-foot artificial tree, thrilled to finally be in a position to have a tree again. Then two years ago I got a kitten, and did not put up a tree at all. Then last year I got a three-foot tree and put it on my kitchen table. This year, since I wonít be using it at work, I plan to take the little tree I used to set up on my desk at work and put it on the hutch of my computer desk at home. Itís tiny, but I always enjoyed it more than the big tree anyway. And there is no dismantling. No untwining lights and repacking ornaments. I just dump the decorated tree back in its bin till next Christmas.

Wow, look at me, Iím finally making Christmas plans! Perhaps that was the keyÖ I need a change in that area as well. Iím going to go put up my tree now. Change is good. But, one word of warningÖ Donít eat a cinnamon candy cane without water nearby! Much more potent than peppermint!