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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Holiday Nostalgia

"Country Living" had a post on 30 things people miss from the past for the holidays.

What I thought would be a sweet article annoyed the crap out of me.

The post had a bunch of people waxing nostalgic about how great everything used to be.

Perhaps I'm still a little sensitive from all this "Making America Great Again" crap- (back when women knew their place and black people had separate bathrooms- I'm still not exactly sure when we were better than we are today - none of my family members have polio, for example) but this article made me want to punch Santa.

Here are a few of the items-

Reading the new book we got and ignoring everyone.

Waiting until Christmas to open your gifts.

Matching pajamas.

Christmas morning coffee cake.

Tinsel.

Um... aside from tinsel which was a nightmare to clean up and choked dogs and babies- what exactly has changed?

Then the comments "Back when kids didn't stick their face in electronics..." or "Getting the whole extended family together"... "Going to church on Christmas Eve."

If I remember my childhood correctly, adults did not feel compelled to be entertained by children like they are today.  Maybe because we have fewer kids, but I remember quite vividly being ignored by adults at family functions and told to go off and play.

What's the difference if my kids are playing on an electronic toy or a board game?  Nerf guns have been the preferred toy in our house up until the teen years started to kick in.  We weren't especially  any more social back then than my kids are.  They find random relatives that they never see talking to them like they are 2 about as annoying as I did 35 years ago.  I still remember my son, at 10, asking me- quite seriously- if one of our relatives thought he was learning impaired. 

And maybe your family isn't getting together with you because they don't like you.  I don't know about you, but we spend Christmas with about 40 relatives.  In fact, we spend pretty much every single holiday like that.  We also throw in our friends. New Years we have a tradition that started with all our friends with kids who lived in walking distance of our home and felt lame for staying in on New Years.  Now they come over, we have dinner, we celebrate at 9 (east coast midnight) for the younger kids and midnight our time.  It's a blast.

You want to see your family?  Pick up the phone, invite them over, and throw a ham in the oven.  Don't wait to be invited.

And church?  Last time I checked, midnight mass was still going strong.  There's no war on Christmas.  My Jewish friends celebrating Hanukah hasn't exactly impeded my ability to celebrate the birth of Christ.

We still get the family matching pajamas. 

I also give my kids oranges in their stockings. 

We make cookies.

I make a special breakfast Christmas morning.

We try to go caroling.

We look at Christmas lights.

I'm sorry- I guess I just missed it.

And like tinsel, some traditions were annoying.  Like those nasty cookies that someone made from the old country.  They were meant to stay there.

So if your holiday season sucks and you dream of days of yore, maybe you need to evaluate YOUR life. 

If you're lonely for the holidays, my guess is there are other people out there that are as well and you should call them.

You are ultimately responsible for making the holidays what they are.

I'm always fascinated that people bitch about how materialistic the world is these days, yet every Friday after Thanksgiving, it's chaos.

and for some of my friends that IS their family tradition.  They get together with the family, hash out a plan to go shopping, fill their thermoses with cocoa, coffee and if I had to guess some adult beverages, and they hit the malls and have a blast.

Maybe they aren't churning butter but they seem to be having a pretty darn good time.

Granted, you will not catch me any place near a mall then... unless one of my kids asks me one day.

Because to me, the holiday season IS fun.  I love the lights.  I love the music.  I love the food.

A few years ago, pre-recession, my husband and I bitched because we had something like 14 parties to go to in about a 3 week period.  It was nuts.  We seriously complained.

Then the next year, it was like the rug got pulled out and there were 2.

Two.

As we sat on our butts, we decided we would never complain about holiday chaos again.  In fact, that was the year we started the New Years Eve party.  And everyone was THRILLED to come because they, too, were sitting home, alone with nothing to do and feeling like losers.

The fun in memories is that you never take pictures of the bad times-- I stole that line from my mother-in-law, by the way.

And our memories often do that.

The old days weren't that great and today isn't that bad.

New traditions are just as fun as old ones.

And no one is stopping you from making Grandma Mary's Nasty Ass Whiskey Ball Cookies.  We renamed them.  I miss Grandma Mary like crazy but not those disgusting cookies.  Her fudge- absolutely.  Thank goodness we have the recipe.  And her dancing Santa is in our house, too.  Which is almost as good as having her with us- because that's one thing we can't get back- the awesome relatives that we miss.

But we can enjoy the new relatives.  The new babies.  The new in-laws that joined the craziness.  And we can tell them stories about the ones that aren't there.

Life moves forward- for good and for bad.

If you miss a tradition, take it off the shelf, dust it off and bring it back.

But most importantly, join in.

And stop bitching.

I'm so tired of people bitching about what they don't have.  Or how great they once had it.

Get over yourself- you weren't that great and never had that much to begin with.

Enjoy what you have. Enjoy the moment. 

Call your friends.

Reach out.

Make the holiday season YOU want.  Don't wait for anyone else to do it for you.

If baking 40 dozen cookies exhausts you, don't do it.  If some relative comments "Gee, I miss your cookies" tell them they are welcome to come over and help you bake them or give them the recipe.  If you LOVE baking cookies, then bake like the wind.

Stop looking back and live.

Tomorrow isn't promised.

And the holidays aren't about tinsel and the tree. It's about the people around it and what's in your heart.

So go out and have a Merry Freaking Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Because I'd hate to have to punch Santa.

1 comment:

Ch4 said...

Those were indeed good times.