Are you in the Christmas spirit? Or is it time to take a vacation?
By now, many of you have probably seen the infamous Vine (which Twitter may save) of a young toddler about to have a meltdown on a sandy beach:
This little girl has been my personal spirit animal throughout the entire month of December. I’m sure many of you can relate.
When I was a child, the holidays were a bounty of joy, mirth and coziness. I longed for the return of my favorite traditions: Christmas movies, cider by the fire, “munchie” afternoons, and decorating our 6 foot frasier fur tree. Gift exchanges were planned, concerts were attended, and Johnny Mathis played on a constant loop in our living room. I looked forward to everything with the purest form of enthusiasm that only a child can have.
But now, as an adult, I’m discovering that holidays aren’t exactly the same. It’s confusing. Everything looks the same…tastes the same…sounds the same. The frasier fur is in the corner, the snowball cookies are cooling on the stove, and Johnny Mathis is still playing on Spotify. There are gifts under the tree, a stack of Christmas concert programs on the counter, and gallons of cider in the fridge. Yet, why does “getting in the Christmas spirit” feel like a new Olympic event?
Christmas comes just once a year.
Every year, I am struck with an enormous case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) between the months of October, November and December, or, as I like to call them, The Big 3. Every holiday that matters falls somewhere between these months, and I have a special formula to determine holidays that matter:
- Are the decorations especially wonderful during said holiday?
- Is there an overabundance of food?
- Are there special beers to pair with the holiday?
- Does it bring me together with family AND friends? (it must be both)
You can see here how Easter, while special enough with eggs and baskets and white chocolate, doesn’t exactly have a special beer. (Side Note: spring beers are the Star Wars: Episodes 1-3 of the beer world.)
Easter also is typically a family-only holiday, so it doesn’t pass the test. The holidays that belong in that festive upper echelon are Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. All this needed to be explained because during these three holiday seasons, I don’t want to miss out on any special event. These months only come once a year! I have to get to Oktoberfest in Ellicottville because it’s a yearly celebration. I have to buy 20 DVDs at Target on Black Friday because I’m slightly insane. And I have to buy all flavors of Celestial Seasonings’ holiday teas because they won’t be around past December. I have to. I can’t miss out.
That being said, this frantic desire to jam-pack these holidays full of events, trips, and parties has left me feeling a little…tired. Not enthused. Not joyful. Not raring for more. Tired. We’re talking Rip Van Winkle level exhaustion here.
I feel bad. I feel like I’m sabotaging myself. I want to be in the Christmas spirit just as much as the next Muppet, but I can’t help wishing that the holidays would just hurry themselves up so I could get a little R&R.
Am I alone in this? Nope. I’ve spoken to too many people who feel the same way. We get so busy buying and shopping and caroling and drinking and partying and singing and dancing and watching and listening and egg nog-ing that Christmas just gets a little lost.
Remember that blissful time when your parents planned everything for you? Remember just showing up to school concerts because that was the entirety of your homework? Remember when you tagged along with your parents to parties held at other people’s houses? Also, recall:
- Your mother buying all of the gifts you would give to other people. You just had to sign the cards.
- Cookies magically appearing in the kitchen because Grandma made 54 dozen.
- The cruel irony of having a bedtime at 9 PM. Hated it then, DYING for it now.
- Having Christmas attire grace your closet racks year after year.
- Homemade meals ready for you (without the need of a microwave or mobile app).
I went to bed at 9:15 PM last night and nearly cried when I woke up 8 hours later. WHAT I WOULDN’T GIVE FOR A LIFETIME OF SOLID SLEEP!
When somebody else does something for you, we often don’t fully comprehend our gratitude for that action until it no longer exists. Mom, if you’re reading this/able to open your iPhone/remember your password, I just want to take a moment to say thank you for ironing my clothes, organizing fun outings, and grocery shopping. There’s more, but man, does ironing suck! Whoever decided a long time ago that wrinkles were undesirable is a sick and twisted individual.
I was able to enjoy the holidays as a child because I had not yet taken on the responsibilities of adulthood. Now they crowd around me like too many passengers on a New York City subway. All I want to do is get off the train…even if it is the Polar Express.
I want to enjoy the holidays again like I used to when I was eight years old. I want to have the kind of enthusiasm I had when traveling from party to party to party. I don’t want to count down the days until “things can get back to normal.” Watching my Advent tree fill up with ornaments this year has felt more like a marathon at times instead of a countdown.
What are your solutions for keeping the Christmas spirit alive? Is the entire month of December brought to you by Coffee: Just Make an IV Already? How do you stay sane amidst the hustle and bustle?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below!