Saturday, December 26, 2009

The day after the month before

There are some things about Christmas that I love and hate.  I feel it is very over rated and filled with fleeting sentiments which descend in December for a few days, then are gone again, like a cloud across the sun.  Maybe its the commercial aspect of the season that turns it into stress or the forced jollity and social gatherings that would never take place otherwise turn it from pleasant into unpleasant.

Before I'm considered a complete Scrooge, I have to state that there are good aspects of the season too. The ancient winter solstice gives people time to relax a little and reflect on the year that's past and what is to come in the future. Gatherings of families are rarer, as people are scatted to the wind these days in all corners or the world and Christmas is more often spent on the telephone or on some computer video messaging program rather than in person.

The lights that accompany the season brighten dark winter nights and roads and gardens look deserted and so dark again when they are taken down in early January.

My season has been quiet as most years are, but more so this year as I scaled back Christmas.  And the thing that I noticed most of all is that I enjoyed the scaleback.  No big indoor tree, no masses of decorations all over the house, no huge turkey with a month's worth of leftovers, no fruitcake.  Oh all the traditional food was there, but just not in quantities enough to feed an army.  For once, I don't feel as if I've eaten too much at any point.  Chocolate consumption has been minimal and I have a bottle of Madeira that hasn't even been cracked open yet.

I went to a Christmas party on Christmas Eve and people watched as I sipped my wine.  I watched and thought how child-like adults become at Christmas, with behaviours that we would not tolerate in children.  Alcohol loosens inhibitions and tongues in adults.  Children simply are born without any social restraints and have no need to imbibe to return to any previous form of behaviour.

I do not deny people their pleasure or celebration of a season that may or may not have any Christian religious significance, however, I think if I could let it pass by without my participation, I would not miss it much.  However, it is rather difficult to do that, as the world pulls you along with it into the season, whether you go willingly or unwillingly.


Sarah Wimperis said...

hear hear...I have a yule branch this year, that a friend gave to me rather than take it to the dump, it is just as lovely and you are so right about the food thing, why does everyone stock up as if for a seige when the shops open the very next day!!? I do think though that we all need a celebration of food and light in the middle of winter, and it goes way back, before the manger and bethlehem, way back to the deep dark woods...

Anonymous said...

I, too, downsized this year. (I'm out-of-town for Christmas, so my decorations consisted only of changing my porch light to a festive green.) Very freeing!

When it comes to the holidays, I do like that the idea of gratitude and giving is more prevalent that usual. Just makes me wonder how some of these groups in need make it through the other times of the year. I especially like donating time/materials/$ in the spring and summer, when others may have forgotten about them.

Sydney Harper said...

My Christmas has been extremely scaled back this year, mostly because my life has been in upheaval the past few months. Also I've been mentally and emotionally exhausted from the upheaval. I did a little decorating but nothing over the top. There was no gift giving other than a couple of small gifts I made. I only sent cards to a few people important to me. What I found along the way was that this Christmas has been one of my best. I actually had a chance to take a breath, reflect, and enjoy the season.

Jennifer Rose said...

to me its just another day so I don't usually do much. We did put a tree up, but with halloween lights on it lol and we did make a dinner but not a lot just enough for some leftovers. And we didn't put up any decorations, less hassle and none to take down :p
just going with the flow like any other day seems to work the best for me but you are right. unwillingly or willingly, a lot of parts of the world drag you into the holidays :/ and its way too stressful