When I was younger, say from age 18 to 22, Christmas was a bit of a production for me. I loved creating gifts and wrapping them as brown paper packages tied up with string. I'd make my own gift tags and ornaments to dangle from each individual box. I would make decorations and cover my house in holiday joy. I was ALL about it. But, when I was 23, that enthusiasm waned. That year, I moved to Ontario to complete my masters degree, and for Christmas, I flew home to Vancouver Island to spend the holiday with my parents – just the three of us. My sister and brother chose to stay in their new homes to spend the holidays with their partners. So, Christmas, just wasn't Christmas.
Wait. Let me go back a little further so this all of this makes a little more sense. The year I moved out and began my undergraduate degree, my parents bought a winter home in Arizona. So, they didn't come home for Christmas, nor did they for the next four Christmases. So, for those years, from the age of 18 to 22, I found my own way to celebrate, either with my partner's family or with friends. Basically, I learned to make my own Christmas, without the comfort of my childhood home, my childhood decorations and my family. And, to be honest, that was all good and well. I quite enjoyed it, in fact, because every Christmas was a little different.
Then, when I went home again all those years later and it was just my parents and I, and there was no tree up or decorations out (because my mom was suffering from horrible arthritis pain), the magic of Christmas died a little bit for me. I don't blame my parents for this. I'm sure I could have done more to bring out the Christmas cheer in them, but I didn't at the time. So, the following year, when Christmas came around and I was living in Yellowknife, I again made very little of it. (This is in part because Ian doesn't celebrate – he doesn't believe in Jesus and he's not into being forced to see his family, since he enjoys spending time with them already. Oh! And he's also not into consumerism and being forced to spend money on people...) So, that Christmas, Ian and two of my pals came over in the morning for a big breakfast and then we spent the day watching terrible movies. That night, we went to Ian's parents' house and had a lovely dinner with all of Ian's "orphaned" friends. I think that was definitely the best part of the whole day, since it actually felt a bit like Christmas.
That leads us to last year. My sister invited my entire family to spend Christmas at her house last year, but for one reason or another, I ended up being the only one to make the journey. So, I spent the holiday with her and her in laws. Don't get me wrong, it was lovely. But, again, it just wasn't Christmas. It wasn't quite right. I don't know how to explain it fully or even make sense of what I'm trying to say, really.
All I know is, between Ian being anti-Christmas and all of the wonkiness of previous years, I'm not as excited about Christmas as I used to be back in my late teens and early twenties. I don't want to be dramatic, but it bum me out that I'm not totally jazzed that the holidays are just around the corner. I wish I could go back to a place where I was excited to craft and create for the people I love. I wish I was chomping at the bit to wrap gifts and make tags and do Christmas baking. Sometimes I feel an urge, but then I wonder, well, who am I doing it for? Why decorate the house when I'm the only one who will enjoy it? Why do Christmas baking when I'm the only one who's going to eat it?
This Christmas, we're staying in Jasper and having a bit of a friend Christmas. (Ian wants nothing to do with it, aside from being there to cut down the tree and eat the turkey ... which he will likely cook.) Ian's best pal Maarty is a Christmas enthusiast, so he's demanding that Ian participate, but I'm not convinced that's going to work out. Anyway, along with Maarty, my friends Nicole and Amy will also be joining us. So far, the plan is to cut down a tree the weekend before, make turkey, drink mulled wine and just enjoy each other's company. I'm really hoping this cozy-style Christmas might spark the holiday spirit in me once again. I mean, if we have a tree, there will have to be decorations. And, if we're hosting, we'll have to have treats. So, I guess, in a way, having a few people at my house is my way of forcing myself back into the spirit. I'll let you know how it goes.
And, so concludes the rambling story that is my relationship with the holidays. If you have some surefire ways to perk me up, like slapping me across the face with some cedar boughs, please do give it a go! It couldn't hurt to try... or could it?