The same poorly wired lighted Santa and reindeer are illuminated in my local park just begging someone to trip over the 4 spliced together cords used to hook them up. There will be lawyers, I think as I walk the dogs. Those are lighted from October-April, so it's hardly noticeable.
The 123 Bottle Shop owned by Ifty of Bangladesh has more employees than customers this time of year because he's expecting a rush like never before on holiday booze. I suggest that the real customers to woo are the loyal daily winos and not these annual amateurs.
Only minor adjustments to my local rural goofy small town rituals but not enough to make me think Weeee! Sugar plums!
I liked Christmas as a little kid, but around 13 I think I started wishing it were different. Better. As exciting as before. Or that my parents could fake it better that it was different, better or exciting. But someone (Dad) was always sulking. Drinking too much. Going to bed without opening presents from the kids. Ignoring festivities and watching the news too loudly while the rest of the brood over compensated with jokes and ate deviled eggs and nog and london broil. There's only so much you can drown out with Bing Crosby, but my mom tried. I really liked my older brothers, whip smart and hilarious if not a little scary. I liked the twinkly lights and of course the buffet spread, but at 16 I learned two things.
Humor helps everything.
The holidays are a source of tension.
Embrace one, abort the other.
So since about 1984, I checked out. I listened to people moan about annoying, therapy inducing family visits. Grueling travel with the masses. And putting up those goddamned lights every year, something my neighbor says each year like it's a government mandated affair.
At first I was rebelling. I'm not going home anymore. I'll visit in July. In college it was cool to be a loner. I was already a GDI by not joining a frat/sorority. A moniker I hated because if I wanted initials after my name I would have joined one of those things. I'd hang back with the Jewish kids or the ones whose parents had died or those who had to pretend like they had for one reason or another.
Then I got included on a few buddy holidays and those were fun. Comparatively anyway. Then there were boyfriend holiday inclusions and that's when I realized, it's not just MY family I don't want to be forced to hang with and be freakin' jolly, it's everyone's.
I don't like arranged engagements of any sort. Movies. Theater. Live concerts. Reunions. Weddings. Dental appointments. Save the date things. And I don't stand on tradition. I used to blame the fact that I was in hospitality for so long. Working for Hyatt Hotels we always had to work holidays but the pay was double. You're all in it together and prices were cheaper the weeks after the rush.
When I opened my restaurants the holiday thing was an irritating time that you wish would pass so you could get in and prep and start the booze orders for New Year's Eve. Any restaurant person will say the same. New Year's Eve sucks. Watching people get hammered while you wait for them to count down, blow a kazoo and get out so you can sweep up all the glitter and confetti they've heaved all over the dining room. Or worse.
But now I'm seven years out of that routine and I still feel nothing. I do nothing. Send no cards. Buy no tree. Hang no lights. I'm in fine spirits, but will do anything to get out of going to holiday gatherings, unless of course you hire me to cater the event. You have 51 other weeks you can invite me to your house. Don't start now.
My mother, who is elderly, called me Scrooge. I used to defend my position of not buying into the consumerist bullshit and hype but that seems a little unnecessary. I'm 47, I pulled off the grid 7 years ago and I live in the woods in North Georgia. I'm pretty sure no one is pouting because I'm not going to come over and drink hot toddies. "What did you kids do for Xmas Eve?" she asked.
We did this.
We stained the kitchen island down in the rental house. Red mahogany. Pretty right?
And I sanded the finish off a bathroom counter and redid the poly. Then I fished these broken shutters out of someone's trash and made this backsplash thing.
Not taking a stand against the day felt incredibly freeing. It's just something that other people do. Like Superbowl and Black Friday. I just don't get it. And that's totally fine.