December 24, 2008

on that holiday wistfulness...

Why do we all have to grow up, anyway?

As much as I had figured that the holidays would get easier as I got older, the exact opposite has happened.

Last year was a good year for Christmas. I'll be honest about that. December felt like it passed by a little slower, I guess. I had time to watch my favorite holiday movies, took a day to make some of our favorite Christmas goodies, was able to spend more time shopping for the perfect gifts, all of that general goodness. But this year? Blech. I've tried and tried to get that holiday feeling, but haven't been able to hold onto it for longer than ten minutes, here and there.

I haven't sent out our Christmas letter to friends and family yet, although I intended to complete that weeks ago. I finally picked up the last gift we needed to buy this afternoon, which makes me feel like the biggest procrastinator in all of history. I don't get to see Jay on Christmas morning, as he has to work all from the crack of dawn until the afternoon. I've spent more than my share of December evenings at work until very late, tempted to eat my own arm after hearing the same shoddy version of "Silver Bells" for the third time within a two hour time-span. I have bought a few ingredients for some holiday treats, but have yet to make them into anything of substance. I've been busy almost every waking hour of every day - excepting the times I've treated myself to a few late-night glasses of wine and The Colbert Report (and my recent Wii bowling marathons, of course). I did a ridiculous amount of crafting for my shop (enough that it truly does feel like a second job - not in a bad way, but definitely a busy way) yet managed to run out of time to make anything to give family and friends for gifts. I have watched bits and pieces of a few holiday movies, but it hasn't felt the same. I haven't even listened to much holiday music on my own time. (This could have something to do with the fact that every time I turn on the radio to the holiday music station, it is always a song by Aaron Neville. You've got to be kidding me. How was that guy allowed to record Christmas music? He makes my ears bleed.)

Regardless, something is just different this year.

The stress and frustration of it all caught up to me a couple nights ago when I was home after work, and completely lost it with Jay. (In my defense, is waxing a snowboard in the kitchen EVER A GOOD IDEA? Seriously.) I snapped over a few things that wouldn't have normally set me off to that extent, but it was a combination of all the emotions I'd been trying to keep in for a while that put me over the edge. I just couldn't handle anything at that point.

Jay crept off to bed while I began unloading the dishwasher as loudly as possible.

I spent a good twenty minutes furiously swiffering the kitchen until it was free of any remnants of snowboard wax and then sat in my messy little crafting nook, crying it out. It felt good to cry, mostly. I'm the sort of person who sometimes needs to cry in order to move on with my life. I felt a little better, but also felt a little alone at the same time. I kept thinking I was done with the crying, but then I'd think of something else to be upset over and that's all it would take for some new tears to pour out. It was just lovely. (In fact, I went to go wash my face after that and the sight of my face made me cry yet again. Am I a lost cause? Am I?)

I've felt a bit better the last couple of days, but I'm sad to say that it may be due to the fact that the holidays will soon be over and I'll be able to look forward to a new year. It's odd, I suppose. The holidays just don't feel right now that I'm older and away from my family. They don't feel right when I'm worried about exactly how much time I'm going to get to spend with my husband, due to work schedules. They don't feel right when they don't involve decorating sugar cookies with my sisters. They don't feel right when all those traditions that I enjoyed for eighteen years aren't there anymore. I feel short-handed, I guess. And, really, what is Christmas without snow? I'll never, ever be able to truly get into the holiday spirit when I'm surrounded by palm trees. It's absolutely impossible, no matter how hard I try to overcome it. I know that these things aren't what Christmas is all about, but I'm a person who is so wrapped up in traditions in such, so it's difficult to take one without the other, I guess. Does that make sense?

Maybe things will be different when Jay and I have kids. When we are able to create our own traditions, with our own little family. We're still in the beginnings of our lives together, and have many years to go. It's tough at this age, too - and with our jobs. I'd love to be someone who is off work through the holidays. At this point, it seems like a luxury that is absolutely impossible to attain.

In any case, I'm going to just try and be happy for the next two days. I've run out of time for anything else that I wanted to do, so there's nothing left to worry about, right? We get to spend some time with various aunts and uncles on Christmas, so that I'm truly looking forward to.

I hate feeling so wistful lately, but that's simply how it's been. Hopefully it will pass.


  1. Christmas just isn't the same when you're a grown up. I'm feeling the same way as you are now. Not angry or sad... just blah. It's terrible, too, considering there are so many people out there (kids especially!) who are literally wetting themselves that it's CHRISTMAS EVE & SANTA'S GOING TO BE HERE ANY MINUTE.

    Nope... I'm not feelin' it. Ah, to be young again. :[

  2. I have felt the same as you but can offer you a ray of hope! Christmas definitely gets better after you have kids! Seeing the Holiday through the eyes of Children makes all the annoying parts of Christmas disappear (yes there are annoying parts!) So enjoy the time you have as your sweet little family of 2, and know that in the future, with children, Christmas will once again be exciting, fun, and memorable!

  3. i love you? you know that right? i've been feeling the exact same way and i think i get even more upset when i realize that i am upset because ITS CHRISTMAS! HAPPY! not so much. i'm sorry that you're feeling this way, but it's almost over with and 2009 is a new year (with hopefully a paid holiday vacation for you and jay? maybe?)

    it's not fun getting older and having to do all of the grown up things that are associated with the holidays... obligation has a tendency to take the fun out of things you know? i'm just trying to get through it with a smile on my face.

    i just know that one christmas? things are going to work out perfectly and i'll never feel this way again. :)

    merry christmas girl, xo

  4. growing up is definitely a hard thing to do. i am sorry to hear you are having a tough time dealing with the holidays right now but i know you will pull yourself out of this. the good thing is, you have many christmas holidays ahead of you and things will fall into place eventually.

    this is definitely the hardest christmas for me yet because i'm spending it without my husband. i know i'll get through it, though, and you will to. i hope you have a very merry christmas!

  5. I think a lot of people feel this way this year. It's like Christmas crept up on us out of the blue. I only got in the spirit like yesterday.I hope you feel better and have an amazing day!

  6. I think that this feeling is going around a lot this year. Christmas doesn't feel the same for some reason.

    ..and I can't imagine a Christmas without snow. We don't have that problem here in New York. Maybe you'll have a Christmas miracle?

  7. I love reading your blog because sometimes (okay most of the time) I feel like you have crawled in my head and are writing what I am feeling but only a million times better. I have felt so blah all December and lately just started feeling better when I realized that the holidays are almost over and that the new year is upon us.

    Here is to 2009! 2008 sucked.

  8. We're in the same boat. This is my first Christmas away from home (and I have tons of snow for the first time EVER) and it doesn't feel right. I *need* palm trees and sunshine to feel right. ;)

  9. I am kind of in the same boat. This is my first Christmas in 23 years that I haven't celebrated with my Dad and Step-Mom.

    I am sorry that you are stressed and upset and it's not like Christmas. I don't ever remember what it feels like to have snow on Christmas I think it has been about 4 or 5 years.

    Merry Christmas and I hope you have a fabulous New Years.

  10. I've been feeling really similar to that this December. I feel like Christmas almost didn't happen, like I didn't get a chance to enjoy it or do anything that put me in the Christmas spirit. There were maybe two things that were really nice...but just...didn't have that shine to them.

    I think I need a really good cry sometime soon too, I've been holding it back.

    AND I used to not feel that way about snow and Christmastime, but the past few years I am decided that not having colder weather makes it harder to get into the Christmas spirit. Seriously, it's supposed to be 80 degrees here today...this does not coincide with all those Christmas songs.

    Anyway, I love you, I hope today is redeemed by what time you actually do get to spend with Jay and some family!

    Hugs from Florida!

  11. You are such a sweetheart - I know exactly what you mean. Exactly. The past few days Mister and I have been holding on my our fingernails trying to get through the last days of work so we can relax. We're off work for ten days - and I just figured out that it's the first time I've been off for ten days in a row in nearly two years. I completely relate to the edginess. And while I was all mistletoe and holly last week? My spirit has kind of evaporated.

    The important thing is to know that what you guys are doing? Being away from your family, working odd hours that don't coincide? It's hard! It's really hard, and you're fighting through it. This is the first year that Mister and I have had the same schedule, and every year when we haven't it has been tough.

    You're right - you will have more motivation to make traditions when you have kids, but you'll have more stress too. Maybe making some adult traditions in the mean time can make this time special for you? Treating yourselves to a dinner, stroll, and some spiked hot chocolate - or picking one movie to watch together every couple of days (or for the 12 days after Christmas?) can be fun ways to just be together. Mister and I are going to pick fun holiday cocktail recipes and make a bunch of them in the evenings between Christmas and New Years, just as a fun thing to do. And I know that it will be silly and fun for us, so I can look forward to that while he's playing video games.

    You guys are doing really well - give yourself lots of credit, these are bumpy times. But you have each other. Until you can do the old traditions with your family again, or have your little ones making their own traditions, be sweet to yourself and to each other.

    And even to Jay's snowboard when it's not in the kitchen. Maybe = )

    You guys are doing amazingly well. I hope your heart isn't as heavy today.

  12. There are so many comments I could make on this post my fingers are bouncing around, trying to decide which letters to type first.

    I'm having a very similar holiday season, and am ferociously looking forward to the new year.

    And also? this:

    "I'm the sort of person who sometimes needs to cry in order to move on with my life"

    is me. Completely.

    Wonderful, wonderful post.

  13. Totally feeling your blah-ness. Hubby is deployed, but will be home in 2 weeks, so we delayed our Christmas until he's home. Today felt CRUMMY.
    Hopefully next year will be much better!
    Also, I'm agreeing that Christmas will be so much more fun again once you have children. Just sayin is all... ;)

  14. I gotta say, i totally understand! I could absolutely NOT live far away from my family! It is different once you are an adult and have actual responsibilities and concerns and stuff, and it's not all novelty and worry free. So don't be hard on yourself, it's just a natural transition. Growing up, can have wine and stuff, but then there are certain downsides, no;)?

  15. I hate those years where time passes too quickly and you're so busy that you can't make fun holiday things a priority, or even attempt to enjoy them. I think we all have off years, and I can imagine that being away from both of your families must make it even harder. It helps me to look down the road to when I'll have my own little family and our own little traditions.

    Hope you and Jay enjoyed your day together! Merry Christmas :)

  16. I agree, this limbo between being a kid and having your own kids results in some aimless holidays. We've tried to make up our own traditions, but it is hard when one year you're with one side of the family, the next with a different one, all while trying to make it your own. This year we spent it envisioning what kinds of traditions we want to make for our own kids once we have them. But I hope you had a great grown-up Christmas of your own :)

  17. I am also the kind of person who needs a good cry to get all those icky feelings out my system and be able to move on. And you are definitely not a lost cause, my dear.

    I think spending Christmas away from your family will continue to feel "un-Christmasy" until you and the hubby have a little elf of your own... and make fabulous Christmas family memories with the little bean. Until then, maybe you can get your parents to come spend Christmas with you and the Palm trees next year?


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