I have a confession to make; I used a Christmas hater. I never went out of my way to ruin Christmas for others so I wasn’t a full-blown Grinch, but with a few small exceptions, my Christmas spirit was pretty much non-existent.
Christmas music? Hell no!
Christmas movies? No thanks.
Christmas decorations? I suppose.
Setting foot in a store between Black Friday and New Year’s? Pretty much my nightmare.
Getting gifts for seemingly everyone? Ugh.
I hate the fact that stores start putting up Christmas stuff around, or even before, Halloween! I don’t like hearing the same songs over and over again for months at a time. I can’t stand the constant crowds and the bad attitude that so many people have. I hate the stress of finding the perfect gift for someone, of feeling like I haven’t spent enough on someone, and of feeling like I have to get someone a gift because they got me something. I hate being disappointed when I didn’t get exactly what I wanted for Christmas.
I never really understood why I disliked Christmas so much. I used to enjoy it as a child. Then last year I realized something: It’s not Christmas I hate at all. I hate the over-blown, commercialized monstrosity that Christmas has become. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not preaching the “Jesus is the reason for the season” line here. We already discussed how not religious I am. What I am preaching is a low-stress version of Christmas: a version of Christmas that focuses on traditions and quality time with family and friends.
All the things I hated about Christmas over-shadowed the things I actually loved about Christmas. This made me hate the season and everything that came along with it. Then last year I decided to stop giving a shit, and like magic, I started to like Christmas.
I realized I actually love the traditions of Christmas. I love going to my parent’s house for Gingerbread Fest. I love that Christmas totally justifies baking things for no seemingly “good” reason. I love Santa themed races. I love decorating the tree. I love the smell of the Christmas tree. I love getting on my parents’ roof to hang their outdoor Christmas lights because no one else in the house will do it (But shhh! Don’t tell them that!). I love the fact that on Christmas Eve my family gets together for what could probably be classified as the most indulgent meal ever. I still don’t love Christmas music, but it’s growing on me. I like new Christmas songs or truly unique takes on the Classics.
I stopped worrying about finding the perfect gift, and actually ended up finding the perfect gift for a lot of people. I stopped buying gifts for all those peripheral people. Since I wasn’t buying nearly as many gifts or as hell-bent on finding the perfect gift, I spent a lot less time being stressed out in malls and stores. Few crowds, fewer fights for parking spaces, less contact with the same terrible Christmas music. When I stopped worrying so much about Christmas, I was able to focus on the things I really loved: ya know, like getting together with my sister-in-law to drink an entire bottle of wine while baking.
I think simplifying Christmas and focusing on the things that really matter would help a lot of people be in much better spirits this time of year. Maybe I’m missing the boat here, but I feel like this is the spirit behind Heather‘s Handmade Christmas 2010.
I’m not doing most of the Christmas stuff this year – I’ll explain that later – and I actually miss it. I wish I had lights hanging on my windows and balcony. I wish I had a tree in my living room. I want to watch Christmas movies, and I’m even planning to find some Christmas music I like!
Slowly but surely, I am reforming my Grinchy ways!