typically, by this time of the year, i've been working for a while in the giant middle of retail holiday season, have had the christmas tree in the stand and decorated, and all presents purchased and wrapped. what happened this year?
is it because this is my third - i repeat, third christmas not employed in the retail sector? have the dazzling lights, loud music, and tedious window decorations finally worn off? it doesn't seem fair that i never grew tired of the holiday season the ten years that i worked through it, and now i'm growing apathetic.
is it because the boy is a scrooge? the only holiday that he participates in is halloween, and reason he hands out candy is to prevent our house from being egged, so he says. he'll help decorate the tree if i ask him to, if only to try to keep me from hanging the hilarious ornaments that his first girlfriend made for him. he'll help me make cookies, if only to ensure that they are made to be proper man-sized cookies. he'll go out and buy his own gifts, but only because i refuse to be "that" woman who takes all responsibility for gift-giving in the relationship. these are his contributions to christmas. has his "what's the big deal" attitude started affecting my childish joy?
is it simply because christmas isn't really happening this year, in all the ways that i've learned christmas to mean to me in the last ten years?
we received our official un-invitation in the mail last week for the seven fishes extravaganza that we have attended on christmas eve every year since... high school. we knew it would end one day, and as much as we sometimes rolled our eyes at all the older drunk guests fawning over our dredded friend year after year, as much as we grumbled about dressing up when it's oh!-so!-cold!, as much as we discussed starting our own party, it's with sadness that we received the news that our friends who opened their home and their kitchen to herald in the holiday in a most-official way can no longer pull off the feat of feeding seven fishes to seventy friends.
my sister won't be home for christmas for the first time ever (excluding her year in germany) this year. last year, she didn't make it home for christmas day so we held off and waited to celebrate until she could join us the following week. this year, she was home for thanksgiving, instead - which was wonderful! but kara really makes christmas morning extra-special. she may always be late... and groggy... but she jumps into all aspects of gifting (giving and especially receiving) with such wild abandon that the rest of us get giddy just from watching her. sadly, my visions of christmas morning without kara include lots of yawning and blank stares. what ever will we do without her?
lastly, jesse decided she couldn't "do" christmas this year. at first, i thought that i would still go ahead and do stockings for everyone ("everyone" being my siblings: jesse, kara, and troy) so that we weren't just sitting around staring at each other. last year was the first year i didn't do stockings, and that's because i was cooking dinner for 16 on christmas day for the first time ever, and it gave kara a chance to feel the joy of stuffing stockings. i have since changed my mind and have decided to only send kara a stocking so that she doesn't feel too homesick. i will ask her to call when she opens it so that we can at least hear the fun. maybe one day, we'll all have computers and webcams and we won't feel like anything/one's missing. aside from that, i took my mom to see the nutcracker last week. that was the gift that i bought for her before jesse made her announcement. i was not about to renege! we went, it was wonderful, it was christmas-y. my mom was really very happy. i have no qualms with sharing that experience with her and calling it a christmas present. i may take troy shopping for some clothes and shoes. he needs it very badly. i got the boy a present for the first time in years... keeping that one a secret for now! so, that leaves... no gift for jesse. which i will feel badly about, and give her something, either made or purchased. so even though we're not "doing" christmas, it's been done, being done, and will be done.
i haven't turned on my lights (which i leave up in the windows year-round because it's so much easier). i haven't bought cards to send. we're not getting a christmas tree. i have one present purchased. in my heart, all i can feel is, where's christmas??