Something about December makes me want to wrap a festive string of lights around my torso and huddle under a feather duvet with a handle of whiskey and a bowl of melted cheese, and not get up again until I can walk around the house with no socks on and still feel my feet.
But you can’t do that. Not in December, you can’t. For one, if you stopped showing up to work your job would stop paying you, and then you’d have no money to buy more of your comfort food of choice. Let alone the replacement bulbs for that string of lights. For two, there’s just not enough time. In my house, particularly, we have so little time that we seem to believe it’s still October:
Two weeks before Christmas, and we are currently in the midst of celebrating our bountiful autumn harvest.
What can I say? The beau’s been traveling, things have been insane at my work, and we’ve just been… busy. Too busy to decorate, too busy to watch holiday movies, too busy to buy ALL THE GIFTS, to busy to wrap the nonexistent gifts, too busy to log into Pandora and choose a Christmas music station, too busy to light a “Home for the Holidays” candle, too busy even to pour peppermint Schnapps into my mug of hot cocoa. Hell, no. I just toss the packet of chocolate powder over my shoulder and pour the Schnapps directly into my mouth.
I feel like Thanksgiving was the holiday precipice off of which we unwittingly stepped, cheerfully hurtling into chaos, apprehension, and utter lunacy. Last weekend I had a baby shower and a birthday party to attend. This weekend we have two holiday parties AND an event put on by the beau’s rugby team in which we all dress up like Santa Claus and go on a pub crawl. You were probably nodding along sympathetically until I reached that part, weren’t you? Right. Aww, poor little baby is so preoccupied with putting on a silly costume and running up and down the street drinking booze that she just doesn’t have time for anything else!
You may email me your condolences.
This time of year makes me deeply nervous, because I always believe I am missing out on the good time everyone else is clearly having. The more pictures of lights and bedecked trees that people post in my social media streams, the more I fear that I’m missing the joy of shared experience. I privately refer to this as Farmers’ Market Syndrome, because farmers’ markets stress me the hell out.
Oh, it all starts out perfectly lovely, right? You show up with a list tucked neatly in your back pocket and begin browsing the rows, a cup of coffee in your hand and a self-satisfied look on your face. You even brought reusable bags, didn’t you, you little eco-minx! Look at you go. Maybe you should write a blog post about how cunning and prepared and environmentally aware you are. But wait, this stand has apples for a full $0.50/lb less than the other stand you already bought apples from. Blast! You hate overpaying. And you also hate how people keep jostling you with their elbows. A giant red wagon? Really, lady? She’s gonna clog up the walkways with a giant… oh, look at those bouquets of flowers for sale. Wouldn’t those look nice on the kitchen table? So colorful. So festive. Think of the compliments you’d get if anyone ever bothered to come to your house! You’ll take two. And look at those beautiful stacks of winter squashes over there! Should you buy some? Oh, and look at those snow peas. You should have dug up some recipes before you left the house, you twit. God, these bags are heavy. And you should have eaten breakfast before you came. And that man should really learn to actually play the trumpet before busking in the middle of the damn market. And you haven’t even been able to find a damn onion yet, why — wait — WHAT? Only three fucking dollars left!? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE $60 YOU GOT OUT OF THE ATM THIS MORNING!?
And so you finally retreat in an angry huff, your arms sore and numb from the dead weight of your stupid reusable bags. You somehow managed to miss half the stuff on your list, but you made a lot of impulse purchases based entirely on how pretty the vegetables looked instead of any genuine intention to prepare and eat them. You are nearly penniless, emotionally drained, and utterly unfulfilled. You have been… TO THE FARMER’S MARKET.
This. This is what the holiday season is like, for me. Lots of hand-wringing, lots of annoyance, lots frantic checking on the rapidly vanishing money in my bank account, lots of generalized anxiety about how I must be DOIN IT ALL RONG, BECAUSE THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE HAPPEEEEEEEEEE.
Actually, wait. That’s exactly what having a wedding was like, too. Right down to the “emotionally drained and utterly unfulfilled” part.
No wonder I just want to stay under the feather duvet.
It’s okay. I’ll get it sorted out. I’m certain everything will fall into place and we’ll get the place decorated and the gifts secured just in time for December 25. Then we can sit back and soak it all in. Make a mug of hot chocolate. Reheat our bowls of cheese. Spike our whiskey with… well, whiskey.
Relax. Unwind. Cherish. Appreciate.
Then immediately rip everything down again.
On to the next, on to the next.