I have decided that it is possible to love the Christmas season, and yet be a scrooge.
And so, enter- me.
Yes, my house is adorned with all the normal things you would see. The lights, the wreaths, the tree, and I believe I may even have a stocking... or 8 hanging around.
And I love the look of the festive season, I do.
I even went to my Mom's the other week to dress up her home. I put up the tree, trimmed it, and stood back to admire my work of 2 hours. Mind you, I did receive a free lunch for my daughter and myself in exchange for all my hard labour; but honest, I would have done it anyway ;)
And please, do not even get me started on the baking, the egg nog, the music, and the time with family and friends. I love it all. I do. But I am a Christmas Scrooge.
This may not sound possible, but it is.
So what exactly is it that makes me a scrooge during this festive season?
I have a massive disdain for the pressure of this time of year. No, it's not a really a disdain, it's a loathing of sorts, it may actually even be a kind of hate.
I was speaking to my sister on the phone the other day, and I was glancing at my calendar.
Let me clarify, that I actually only do this because, to be quite honest, I am stuck there when I pick up the phone.
We no longer own a cordless; and really, most people call us on our cell these days, but there are the few who call my landline.
The few people that actually take the time to punch in those 10 (maybe 11 if they're long distance) numbers include people such as my sister, my Mom, and.. the telemarketers. Oh, and those few that don't have my cell number because I have either not given it to them, or we're just not that close that I feel it necessary that they have it.
I suppose now is the time to apologize to that friend who doesn't have my cell number, and calls me on my landline. If there is such a friend out there; I am sorry.
But I digress.
So, I was standing there looking at the calendar, and what I saw were 27 little boxes in December that were covered in ink. With my quick and brilliant math skills, I figured out that there are only 4 - FOUR - 4 days that were "free".
The events that encompass this time of year are things such as,
Class Skating, Donating blood, Christmas dinners, Christmas concerts, Kids sleep overs with friends, Christmas parties, Christmas Assemblies, Open Houses & Family dinners. Now on top of this, normal life continues on, and so enters Hockey, Volleyball, Parent/teacher interviews, Birthdays and birthday parties, and keeping up with friends. Are you tired yet?
Now, all of these things are great. They're fun, they're what remind us of the fact that the holiday season is actually here.
But I don't like or appreciate the pressure of what is expected of me.
I do not enjoy that some radio stations pressure me to listen to Jingle Bells on December 1st, because they have decided that NOW is the time to be festive.
I love Jingle Bells, and yet am not so convinced that I need to listen to it 24 days before Christmas as opposed to 7.
I appreciate the concerts, the parties, and the get togethers. I do not however, enjoy the pressure of feeling I must go to one party and leave early to go to another, because everyone, and I mean EVERYONE (in my head) is expecting me to be there.
I do not enjoy the feeling that perhaps I have let someone down and so I stretch myself thin. I go where I perhaps do not want to, and give myself to as many functions as possible, when all I really want to do is slap on my yoga pants, and watch netflix.
Oh, and the gifts!! The hideous pressure of gifts.
As a couple, we have decided that we are taking our children to Florida in the March Break of 2016.
And nothing was more liberating than sitting at the supper table one night with six faces around me and saying,
"Kids, you are getting NOTHING for Christmas this year, because we are taking you to Florida."
Now, after the initial tears, teenage jaws dropping and confused, deer-caught-in-the-headlights-look, they were actually ok with it.
Ok, and really, I was kind of lying. I am buying them games for in the car, perhaps one needs a swimsuit, and another flip flops.
But there will be no walking in a store aimlessly trying to spend money because I've spent $100 on my eldest and only $5 on my youngest.
The best part of giving gifts is that no one really expects them. OK, again, a lie. The kids expect them.
But I use to have a list the length of my arm, or maybe my leg, or maybe both put together. It included my parents, his parents, the piano teacher, the teachers, the coach, the mail lady, the bus drivers,etc.
That my dear readers, are a LOT of gifts.
Why is it not sufficient to give a card with a candy cane and say THANK-YOU. Or, as I do quite often, write a poem and give them maybe a little bag with some hot chocolate and marshmallows.
I fear we have become enslaved into thinking that if we want someone to know we love or appreciate them, that we have to buy a gift. And not just any gift, NO. The PERFECT GIFT!
Well, I do not appreciate that pressure.
I would rather buy all 6 of my children a canoe together for the summer than buy 6 shirts, 7 toys, candy, a slinky and maybe that playstation game which doesn't work, because I forgot that I got rid of a perfectly good playstation 3 to upgrade to the 4 because I needed to waste money for Christmas one year.
So where does all this leave me?
As a flamboyant Christmas Scrooge.
I love the season, but I loathe the pressure of trying to "keep up with" the season.
It's supposed to be a time to reflect on Christ's birth and spend time with family, and friends.
So here is my apology to all those I may offend this holiday season;
If I do not make it to your Christmas party, and offer no excuse; know that I am sitting in my PJs all day with my 6 children watching Santa Clause 1,2,&3, or maybe even ELF.
If I do not show up to the concert you wanted me to attend; please know that I love the music you are singing and I hope that it brings you joy to sing it.
If I do not make it to your Open House, Dinner, or Assembly; please know that I either could not make it to everything, or perhaps there just happened to be a date I had with myself, my couch, netflix and a glass of wine.
And if you do not get that top rated A-1 perfect gift from me this year; know that I still love and appreciate all you do, but you may just have to be OK with a thank-you and a hug this year.
I will sing Jingle Bells now because it is 10 days before Christmas, and I may even crank a City Harmonic song.
However if you're driving with me tomorrow and I am harmonizing with Adele and her new hit "Hello"; please do NOT touch my radio.
Because I do not feel the need to be pressured to listen to Christmas music, and you may find yourself pushed out of my truck, and left to be picked up by one of those mini vans with the antlers out their doors and a red nose on their grill.
So exscrooge me and my negativity, but I will not be pressured to be something I am not this holiday season.
Merry Christmas everyone! I do hope that your holiday is filled with happiness, family, friends, memories, and wonderful events; but do it all...with no pressure.