Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jolly Me of Yesteryear


Hello! Where are you, Christmas Spirit? Why haven’t you touched me yet? Where’s the festive me, the one that usually resembles the girl pictured above this time of year, the jolly me of yesteryear?

Okay, granted, I still have time, (it’s only the fifth), but we had better kick into
Merry Merry gear pretty soon. Not one decoration has been hung, no pretty tree, no sparkling lights, and no welcoming wreaths in sight. I haven’t bought one present, hung one stocking, or sent out one holiday greeting card.

I guess it’s difficult to let you into my aching heart,
Christmas Spirit. Losing both parents in December, (Dad just last year), must have tainted the season for me. I need to get into the swing of things, sit down and watch White Christmas, go in the kitchen, bake and decorate a few batches of cookies and butter tarts, set up the tree in the living room, enjoy an eggnog (laced with rum and nutmeg) and hang some of my cherished shiny ornaments. Soon, I will, soon.


All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

31 comments:

kerrycharacters said...

I don't think you should "should" all over yourself. Do what feels right in your own time. This year I have decided to do Christmas according to what fits us best - I have always made a traditional Christmas cake because that is what my family always did. Trouble is no-one in my family likes rich fruit cake. So this year I am baking swedish christmas cookies and gingerbreadmen because everyone likes them and it will be fun. Maybe you should think of doing something completely different this year so that the edge of your loss is not underlined.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Christmas brings me to moments of tears for those loved ones who won't be here to share. It also brings me smiles of the many memories of joyous Christmas with family.

And now it's time to make new memories and traditions. Much of my husband's and my family live far away and have families of their own. So instead of feeling blue we've decided to treat ourselves to a very Merry Christmas doing something new and stay at one of the ritzy hotels in Disney World throughout the days before Christmas and into Christmas day. Lots of people to celebrate with, awesome decorations and great food. And most of all we will be together.

L.T. Elliot said...

Sometimes, Christmas has a deeper, quieter season. I lost my grandfather on Christmas Eve and that led to a somber, yet touching Christmas. We need not always be jolly. Sometimes, I think we just are. And that's good enough. I'm so sorry for your loss.
Merry Christmas.

Stacy Post said...

Elizabeth, don't fret. (We just put up our tree and decorations today...only because the kids were calling us Scrooges!) Stick with your traditions and if they don't feel right, let it go this year. Holidays are stressful...take care of you and yours first. It's okay to not be merry-merry all the time. Honor your feelings and do what's manageable. And if anyone gives you grief, just tell 'em, "Stacy said so!" :)

Tabitha Bird said...

Christmas is a hard time for me too. I will celebrate this year without knowing where my sister is and with a relationship that I severed with my father because of his abuse. I am sorry for your loss, especially at this time of the year. I have to make a real effort to feel Christmassy.Here's hoping you find that glimmer too.

Michele Emrath said...

That finicky Christmas spirit! I am sorry for your losses tied to December, but what a month for remembrance! I hope the positive can outweigh the sadness this year.

I somewhat feel your frustration. Tonight, my husband actually had the nerve to suggest we don't get a tree this year. What! His reasoning? It will only be up for 2 1/2 weeks, how much enjoyment could we get out of it? Bah, humbug.

Needless to say, I won the battle. ; )

Michele
SouthernCityMysteries

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Eish. I need to start listening to Christmas music, I guess. I just started liking some of it last year. Time to use the "dusty" playlist when I write. :0)

Christmas makes me remember too. Some of it not so good, but some of it is. I hold on to that.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Dearest Elizabeth,
Holidays are the hardest, aren't they, dear friend? I find it so difficult as well...we share so many common life experiences!! Your mother-in-law's care/my mom's care...your parents' deaths/ my parents'...Southern California... previous decorating businesses ...writing...I just know that if we lived near one another, we would be the best of friends!! Here's hoping that you give yourself plenty of grace this holiday season, and that the days are filled with only happy memories and love!! Love you much! Janine XO

Journaling Woman said...

The Christmas spirit doesn't come to me until Christmas Eve.

I hope you will consider a new tradition this year one that will not remind you of your folks. Maybe that will help.

Jemi Fraser said...

Between yesterday and today, I shopped and shopped. Now I am dropped :)

But... it helped me get into the spirit of things. All that music, a dusting of snow, pretty wrapping paper.

Don't force it - the spirit will arrive when it's ready!

Crystal said...

{{{{{{{squeezes}}}}}}}}

:)

ellen abbott said...

Don't let the bombardment that starts before Thanksgiving make you feel guilty. There are no requirements.

I hope that makes sense.

Helen Ginger said...

Do what feels right for you at this time. If you don't feel like going all out, then do what you do feel like. We've got our tree up and decorated, but we're not putting up all the other decorations. I don't usually cook a lot for Christmas, other than the dinner, but I've been thinking maybe I should make some cookies or some snack mix to put in tins. We'll see.

December feels different for you this year. Maybe you can find a way to honor your parents as part of your Christmas time.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Holidays can be a really rough time for all of us. I think listening to your heart and just taking it slowly might be the way to go. I think Stacy is absolutely right...we don't have to be merry all the time! Hugs...

Elizabeth

Woman in a Window said...

Elizabeth Bradley, I hear you.
And not all the mechanisms in the world can make it happen. It has to happen on its own.

We got snow last week and it hasn't stopped. That has surely helped. but it is a creeping in on its own accord that finds me merrier this week, than last. I hope it finds you too.
xo
erin

Marguerite said...

I understand how you feel, Elizabeth. The holidays can be an overwhelming and stressful time, even in the best of years. Just relax and go at your own pace and definitely have an eggnog, laced with rum and nutmeg for me!

sarah said...

For a long time -holidays meant little to me - too many losses - I understand - be gentle with yourself. There are no shoulds, no musts - take gentle care. Sarah

Jan Morrison said...

do what you like, the holiday spirit isn't in doing - it is in being. I'm happy to be a Buddhist this time of year. I get to cherry-pick my favourite things of the season and not obsess about the rest. (well mostly...sure I get all messed up too, but I am better at letting it go than I used to be). So watch White Christmas, have a nice warm drink or good cool one and really think about what things you want to do as opposed to have to do. And I'll join you!

Joanne said...

I like your idea of watching White Christmas. There's something about that movie, definitely our fave Christmas movie here. I'm pretty sure we have all the dialogue memorized, and have been known to drop a phrase or two into our everyday talks ;)

Fireblossom said...

I love that cheerful picture! It's sweet.

All I've done is hang my Santa Claus on the front door. I'm done! As long as my job is delivering the mail, Christmas will never be my big favorite. I haven't been invited to the family bash in years--no LGBT people in THEIR family, tyvm. I do watch "It's A Wonderful Life" though.

lakeviewer said...

You are not alone. I find it hard to get started.

Nancy said...

I felt the same way! Then it snowed today, and we put up the tree and hung the stockings, so now the tree looks bare without any gifts, and I have a fresh bottle of eggnog. I'm feeling a little more festive...

So sorry about your Dad - of course it would be hard this Christmas.

Alix said...

As you well know, you're preaching to the choir. BUT check this out... instead of hauling the gigantic traditional artificial tree down from the attic this year, we bought a 10-foot pre-lit artificial PALM Christmas tree. Very kitschy. I even have a plastic pink flamingo and some starfish ornaments on the way. Sometimes ya just gotta go outside the box to find your Christmas mojo.

So very sorry about your parents, Elizabeth. December will always be tough unless you celebrate the memory of your parents each year on December. Make the jolly month a tribute to all that was good and warm and sweet and memorable. Then go out there and do it up right, in their honor.

PS: I separated from my first husband on November 1st, 1995 and the following year I was summarily dumped on thatsame date by a guy I thought might be a husband contender. Then I was blessed to meet Larry and when we got engaged in 1997, I chose November 1st as our wedding date to turn the bad memory/energy around. It worked! Now I look forward to every November 1st.

Amazing post, btw. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Debbie said...

I am waiting on the Christmas spirit too. And we are still decorationless!

Anne Spollen said...

I find you can't force Christmas spirit, but you can help it along.

I spend a few hours volunteering at a food pantry. I know that sounds paradoxic, but it always puts me in a better frame of mind for any holiday.

Maybe it's just the perspective it offers.

The Victorian Parlor said...

I can relate to your post! I have put out a few decorations (the rest of the decorations are in the attic) but since I came down with strep throat again last week I am way behind! Of course, as the temperatures are cooler and the Christmas lights about town brighten the streets I do find myself looking forward to the upcoming celebration of Christmas:).

Blessings,

Kim

Carla Gade said...

I pray you'll be comforted and that cherished memories will light your Christmas.

Mr. Shife said...

I hope the Christmas Spirit embraces wholeheartedly soon, but I understand how you must feel. Christmas is definitely harder for me now that I lost my Mom not too long ago, but I am grateful that I have my little boy to help really appreciate the spirit of the season. I am sorry for your losses Elizabeth and I hope that you do indeed have a wonderful holiday season.

Jenn said...

I was so in touch with this, wrote about it last week too. The consumerism seemed to flood me in recent years and left little spirit behind in its wake. Last Sunday I spontaneously grabbed the box of Christmas/winter stuff out of the basement and decorated the heck out of the house. It has definitely helped and I even started doing a little shopping this week. This weekend I'll turn on the tunes at a few holiday choral concerts and hopefully that will do it! Hope you find your holiday joy too!

jdcoughlin said...

EB, I miss my father, too. He's been gone for fifteen years, and I still have things that i want to tell him and no one else. But, I signed my book contract on his birthday, this year. It touched my heart. And I'll be passing that love along to my kids.
I hope you can hold your Dad's goodness close to you.

Hilary said...

It'll happen when you're well and truly ready. I'm so sorry for your losses.