Life, MiscellaneousPersonal Schmersonal


I dislike this time of year intensely. There’s the idea that you can be a jackass for three-hundred-and-sixty-four, and then make some sort of gesture and have it all be forgiven. Plus there’s the rampant BUYBUYBUY that starts the instant Halloween ends, and the financial stress that makes parents explode at their kids in stores–I’ve seen it over and over again, and I hate it. There’s also the anxiety from my childhood–any Holiday Event was an unmarked minefield, with disaster-shrapnel only a matter of time.

And yet.

There are my kids, who are delighted with any sort of ornament or present, no matter how small. (“Jeez, Mum,” the Princess told me this year. “I mean, I’ve got everything.”) There is the sigh of relief that I am in a completely new place where memories of the times when I was trying to clean up financial messes from the ex aren’t crowding every room-corner. There are the dogs, who don’t care what time of year it is as long as there’s kibble and belly-skritches. There’s my sisters, beaming because they have some time off and can visit. There’s the satisfaction of cooking good things and watching the people I love eat and laugh.

And for a few years now, there’s been a moment when the kids are in bed on the Eve and I take a deep breath and realize there will be no screaming or broken things, no blood, no hideous surprises I’ll have to pay for. That things have, in fact, become steadily better. That I’ve climbed, step by step and reach by reach, up out of a hole so deep and black I never thought I’d see even thin winter sunlight again. There is also the moment when I expect to feel a sick thump of worry, disappointment, and fear…and it doesn’t come. I freeze, looking for the trap, and I cannot see it. Instead, there is only peace. Fragile and frightening as any new thing, but still…peace. I like it.

All that is good.

But I’m still not setting foot inside a store until after New Year’s if I can help it.

Notify of

that starts the instant Halloween ends,

…it starts earlier and earlier every year, pretty soon the push will come at 0001 on dec 26th.

It’s unconscionable how much pressure there is on parents to GIVE GIVE GIVE and particularly to match the level of gifts their children’s peers receive. I know someone who somehow scraped together a not-insubstantial amount of money for gifts for her sons, and then was caught out a week ago when she discovered they needed new tires for the family car. I felt absolutely sick for her. Having umpteen toys shouldn’t take precedence over necessities and shouldn’t push parents to spend money they don’t have. Also, you aren’t the only one occasionally haunted by ghosts of Christmases past. Sometimes I… Read more »
taryn blackthorne

I live within spitting distance of the mall. Or at least some people think so. They park on my street and walk over *sigh*. On the other hand, I’m thinking of installing a meter and charging. Glass half full?
I wish you a full fridge, plenty of essentials like milk and coffee, and an easy credit card payment after the season. May your jammies ever be snuggly and no cute delivery guys come to your door while you have them on ;D

Kristina L.

Very wise of you to avoid the stores until the new year. I try to avoid the roads surrounding the main shopping areas, as people drive like suicidal maniacs without a care for their vehicle or yours.

I hope your holiday season is full of the gentle happiness that you’ve been working for all these years.

Colleen Champagne

This has never been my fav time… rampant consumerism and dysfunctional family reasons abound! My husband and I made our own traditions that were very dear to me but this is the second holiday season with him gone and I am not feeling the spirit or the need to partake in all the craziness. It’s actually a bit more relaxing. No stores for me either… until after the 1st of the year!

Kate Traylor

I just love the food, parties, and pretty decorations.