Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Wishful Thinking

I really don't like December. I usually go into a depression on December 1st and stay there until January 1st. It's complicated, but I dislike Christmas. Not the reason behind it, but the shopping and the over-eating and the crowds and the rushing around at the last minute and the wrapping and the juggling of schedules and, and, and.

I haven't really enjoyed Christmas since about 1972. After that year my grandparents began to decline and could not host the big Christmas get-together any more. Shortly after that my parents divorced and it became necessary to have multiple Christmas events. It ceased being enjoyable and started being work. Or maybe it's because I finally realized there wasn't any Santa Claus.

I still enjoy certain aspects of the holiday season - the music and the decorations - but for the most part I secretly long to disappear from the scene until it's over.

I just finished re-listening to Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham. The plot involves a couple who decide to escape on a 10-day cruise to avoid the first Christmas without their daughter, who has joined the Peace Corp and is stationed in Peru. They decide to cold-turkey the whole Christmas thing and refuse to decorate, throw their annual Christmas Eve party or even attend the neighborhood social events. In the end, they discover they can't escape Christmas and must rely on the kindness of their neighbors to salvage the holiday. It's laugh out loud funny in places and you find yourself beginning to panic that you yourself won't be able to get things done in time for your own Christmas.

So I ran around North Austin at lunch and bought all the token Christmas gifts I will need for co-workers. And happened into one of those stores where you're met by friendly staff who act like they have all the time in the world to visit with you and make you feel like they are glad you stopped in to chat. One of those bright spots in a dreary stretch of time. For a brief moment I almost looked forward to Christmas.

It will find you no matter how far you run to avoid it. Might as well figure out a way to enjoy yourself.


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