I’m having a hard time with Christmas this year. I spent most of the fall being grumpy about all the people who were focused on Christmas when we still had Halloween and Thanksgiving to celebrate. All that early hype is a frenzy fed by pure commercialism, so I get to feel superior for not giving in. I growl at all the people who genuinely love the holiday and get excited in October.
My superior position has its down side. I got so good at being grumpy about Christmas, that I was even cranky when I saw my neighbors hanging their outdoor lights after Thanksgiving. Here was someone taking the holidays in their proper order, and I growled at them. WTF?
This brought home to me how easily an attitude can become a habit. After three months of practice, December arrived, and I was a full-fledged Grinch.
I love the story of the Grinch, but the whole point is that Christmas wins him over in the end. He learns to enjoy the holiday and gives up his grumpy ways.
I don’t want it to be a fight. I want to be won over now. So I determined to give up being grouchy about other people’s excitement. Whenever I see decorations in my neighbors’ yards, I make a point of thinking “Look at those beautiful lights. I’m so glad they put those up.”
It seemed like the perfect way to “ditch the Grinch” and embrace the coming holiday. Only it’s not working. I’m still feeling grumpy about Christmas. And that’s got me thinking: Do I need to decorate, too?
While I’m pretty sure putting ups some lights of my own will make me happier about the coming holiday, I’m conflicted. We won’t actually be home this Christmas, and that always makes me think there isn’t any reason to bother. No party, no company, no need for a tree to stick the presents under.
With our upcoming trip and all the things I need to do before we leave, it’s easy to feel like I can’t spare the time to decorate right now. It takes me about four hours to put out everything, including the tree, but I can get a lot of other stuff done in four hours.
I sense that my best bet is to go ahead and put out some decorations. Candles and lights make me smile so much, I leave them out right through January. A change in the house, a red towel or stuffed snowman, can remind me that December is here and I have some fun times ahead. So I’ll get out Slushie the Snowman and some strings of colored lights and see if I can’t lift my mood by decorating for the holidays. With luck, I can smile the grinchiness out of my system before I see my family.
Do you decorate for the holidays, even when you won’t be home on the actual day? Why or why not?