Ok, first off let me apologize for complaining about how stressful I find Christmas. That being said...I'm still gonna complain.
I always enjoyed Christmas until I met Nick and his family. In my family, you just buy for your immediate family, and something for the little kids. It's fun, you pretty much buy what you want for whomever you want. In Nick's family, you buy for everyone. His parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins...everyone including everone's freakin' pets!! Jesus, where does it stop!?!? It makes me crazy, and I literally start feeling tight in the chest towards the end of October in anticipation of it. The stupid thing is when I'm dreading something like this, I ignore it. I could have shopped 2 months ago, but I didn't and here I am 10 miserable days from D-Day, with no presents. I get overwhelmed and go to the mall, where I just wander around in a daze, accomplish nothing, and go home frustrated. Then while at the mall, I see stuff I like, and buy it...making the holiday that much more expensive! I completely understand why suicide rates are up this time of year. (Don't go calling any hotlines, I'm not suicidal.) It's just such a money grubbing, stress inducing holiday with his family. There are over 20 of them, and we are expected to spend $30 per person. I asked if we could just draw names the first year we were married, and his grandmother said, " FINE, maybe we should just cancel Christmas!" I should have said yes to that once in a lifetime offer. ;) Also on Christmas Eve, we all are on our very best behavior and completely walking on eggshells because his bitchy grandma is just looking for a reason to scream at someone. The best part of it is you never know what might set her off. It's always something minor and unexpected. (I always expect her to come out and start beating us and screaming, "No WIRE hangers!!") It's honestly the closest thing to a hostage situation that I've personally experienced.
Don't get me wrong. I still enjoy some aspect of the holiday. I like to make holiday treats. I enjoy the music. (Especially this year--thanks to Walt!) I like to donate to different charities. I just bought a bunch of Karen Neuburger slipper socks (Love those!!) and donated them to Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly for holiday presents for the elders. (There are over 10,000 elders in the Minneapolis/St Paul area who have 1 or fewer social visits per month, and they provide social interaction for the elders, and holiday meals, presents, cookies, flowers etc.) I volunteered to be the photographer and Nick was the Santa at the Fridley, MN Petco for their Pose your Pet with Santa event this year. Our store took the most pics of any store in the COUNTRY, with the money we raised going to Greyhound Pets of America to help more greyhounds be placed in permanent homes. So I like some aspects, I just hate all the pressure and expectations.
To me Christmas should be about doing something nice for someone unexpectedly. I would far rather go out to lunch with a friend I haven't seen in a while, or have a spa day with a girlfriend. Instead it's about filling a quota. Must. Buy.
Anyway...peace, love, goodwill to all...and all that other crap.