Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Holidays. A season of dread and loathing will be conquered this year.

I know there are people out there that just *love* the holidays.

All I can say when someone waxes rhapsodic about the joy of the season is: "Good for you."

Because they are clearly delusional.

For the people that are still recovering from Hanukkah, you are not alone - I have heard stories of the guilt that relatives shower over everyone else in the most passive-aggressive way possible, and how it seems to redouble with every candle lit, until by the 7th day you want to blow out ALL the candles in your family's  heirloom menorah and say "Fuck it. I'm done." and go eat some bacon. I am here for you.

If your Festivus celebration left you feeling as emasculated as George Costanza, if you hurt yourself performing your feats of strength, and all of the grievances seemed to be directed at you, just know that other people also had their ass handed to them by an old man with an attitude problem and a borderline personality disorder sucking on a mug of Sanka while his teeth soaked in the water glass by his elbow.

For all of you out there that are sitting around dreading Christmas Day - for whatever reason - I want you to know that YOU are not the odd man out.  The financial stress can be horrible (especially if you bought gifts with a credit card at Target, apparently). Anyone with dietary restrictions is challenged ("You don't eat wheat? Well, just try one of these rolls so you don't hurt my feelings.") The holiday music, with it's warnings about Santa watching you while you're sleeping, and borderline-pervy entreaties to stay out late even though it's cold outside and your parents will be worried, tends to be creepy, depressing, and/or vaguely threatening. And that idiot walking through the mall in a Santa hat (see what I'm saying about delusional? I know Santa, and sir YOU ARE NO SANTA.) even that guy has some reservations about the holiday.

Or his relatives have reservations about spending the holiday with him.

If you return to the fetal position every time you think about your last holiday gathering, I send my sympathy - not everyone can spend Thanksgiving at my house, which is bathed in a joyful glow and covered in gravy and butter.

What? Not every holiday has to suck, you know.

I have long accepted Thanksgiving as my favorite holiday, and for 15 years I have loathed Christmas with a white-hot Christmas flavored passion. But not this year. This year, for the first time since before my children were born, I am actually looking forward to celebrating. It feels a little weird, I have to admit. I have professed my dislike of the holiday for so long, and with such fervor, that I'm a bit disoriented by my abrupt change of direction.

The vast majority of people have - at the very least - a few skeletons hidden in their closet next to the wrapped gifts. Mine is that my father left my mother on Christmas morning. Waking up to your mother sobbing in the kitchen, and trying to figure out 1. why your mother is crying into the sink instead of making coffee and cinnamon rolls, and 2. where the hell your father has gone and why he isn't in the kitchen dealing with your mother and hopefully making some fucking coffee because it's not even 8 am, you're still drunk from a night out with friends and not even close to capable of dealing with anything more than some mild bickering over which Christmas album we are going to play while drinking some coffee REALLY WHERE THE FUCK IS THE COFFEE MOM STOP CRYING JESUS H CHRIST WHAT IS GOING ON WAIT I GOTTA PUKE.

So. Christmas has never really been the same since then.

Before that Christmas, aka "The Worst Christmas Ever", all the prior Christmases were the usual exercise in consumption and consumerism and sitting around keeping track of who got better shit than I did. Which - for the record - was everyone, all the time. And soon after that Christmas, I moved 7,000 miles away and tried like hell to make sure I was always scheduled to work on December 25th. It was easier to just ignore the holiday altogether, than face it head on. Denial can be a beautiful thing.

But not this year.

This year, I want to give my kids a real, honest to goodness, fun-with-the-whole family holiday extravaganza. To that end, we are flying to California to celebrate.

We have never spent Christmas away from home. Everything will be new and different. We are taking the kids to Disneyland, and the San Diego Zoo. We will visit museums, and spend time with cousins, and friends. We will create memories, and maybe some traditions. The kids will see snow. And perhaps the holiday will get some of that peppermint-flavored, egg-nog soaked, fairy lit, tinsel strewn magic back.

Or not. But I'm pretty sure someone will make coffee for me on Christmas morning, and we can get through the day without anyone's marriage falling apart.

After that everything else is just a bonus.

No comments: