If I go on how things have been by this date during the past ten years, I would have all my Christmas cards made out and ready for His Majesty to sign, 95% of my Christmas shopping completed, the house completely decorated, the holiday feasts planned, Christmas music playing, and the holiday spirit. Not this year.
I think I became a huge planner during my father’s time with Alzheimer’s. If I didn’t plan, things didn’t get done, or there was hardship if delays occurred. It was just easier to develop a schedule, then keep to it. I’m just not feeling it this year, so there’s been no schedule, no spirit, and very little desire to do anything about it.
My grandmother and I have recently been reflecting about how we spent the holidays when I was growing up. The family—the relatives we liked and the ones we didn’t—all gathered at Grandma’s house, there was a massive feast, many of the adults would drink—not my folks—and people would leave well-fed, but glad it was over until the next holiday. Grandma and I laugh about it now because as horrific as some of the behavior could turn back then, we have good memories about it, especially the food!
We’re never going to have that again, not like that. Those days are lost now in time.
My mother would start a Christmas club account at the credit union for me, and each year—grade school years, mind you—I’d cash it out and go Christmas shopping. Having a small budget forced me to be quite creative, and I miss those years. I have a slightly bigger budget these days, but my pace for creativity feels like it gets pushed aside a bit more each year with stores anxious to shove the holiday down our throats earlier and earlier, and with things that aren’t so special anymore.
I miss shopping for my old neighbor, Gladys, who was from England, used to babysit me, and who I shared many hours watching horror movies with. I miss the times we’d get dropped off at the mall, walk around, talk about everything we saw, look at all the decorations, stop by Kresge’s so she could get a coffee, then grab lunch at Coney Island. Those were the days.
There’s no Kresge’s anymore. Coney Island moved across the street from the mall. And Gladys passed away from cancer well over a decade ago.
I still take pleasure in shopping for gifts for my mother, grandmother, Little Brother, and the occasional friend. For me, though, the gift I like most these days is the time I spend with people. There are times it takes an act of the Blu-Ray Gods to get me out of the house, but when that happens and I’m around folks, it’s been worth it.
We bought a new Christmas tree this year, and set it up last night. It’s not decorated, but it’s a start. This is a bit how I feel. I’m here, but not decorated yet, not in the spirit of it all yet. It’s a start.
I will be.
Just not today.
Is anybody out there also feeling the malaise?