For a long list of reasons — many of which I am still in therapy for — I’ve just never been a fan of THE HOLIDAYS. This is why there has always been a distinct lack of HOLIDAY-related nonsense on this site. Pretty much as soon as Dec 1 hits I dive into a hole. It’s not a depression, but more like the mental version of shutting my eyes and waiting for it to be over. Sure, I give the odd nod here and there because face it, if you’re living in North America there is no escaping it. They switch the intercom soundtracks and start lining the shelves with all the must-have stuff as soon as Halloween rolls out. The crazy Light Wars people down the street have had their front yard mise en scene on display for a solid month now.
Anykitsch, my point — and I do have one although it got buried in descriptions and I’m kind of lost now…. Give me a sec. See what happens when I just start to talk about it? Brain coma. Oh yes, my point is that it’s inescapable unless you have buckets of cash and can afford to fly away to some remote location every year. Believe me, I would. The fantasies have already begun. Oddly enough I don’t mind THE HOLIDAYS in other countries and languages. Probably because all the rituals and bull crap is foreign, slightly incomprehensible, and easy to enjoy for what it isn’t.
But the reality is that I don’t have buckets of cash and can’t always scrape together the bills to take me away from it all. Most years I have no choice but to stay where I am and ride it out. I have learned over time that trying to close my eyes and pretend it isn’t happening doesn’t work very well. What does seem to work is embracing the aspects of it that hold fond memories and throwing the rest in the gutter where it belongs. Maybe it’s the gardener in me but I only seem to like the plant-related aspects of THE HOLIDAYS. I like the tree. I like the food. I like the Amaryllis. I’d like the mistletoe if we had the real stuff. I like pine cones. I like the lights too. Even the crazy Light Wars houses. Bless them. I like the REALLY kitsch, REALLY over-the-top crazy, blinding dazzle camouflage decorations and seasonal decor. Thank you to anyone who does this. You keep the good crazy in Xmas.
And so, it comes as some surprise to me that this year, for the first time ever, I feel like I might be able to make it through the month of December with my eyes slightly open. Maybe just a little squinting and a touch of Vaseline smeared over my eyeglass lenses for a softening effect. In fact December hasn’t even come yet and I am already itching to get my tacky tree out. And even wackier still, I spent a few hours the other night constructing cute little soft trees to display on my desk. The pattern is from Stephanie of the now-defunct Little Birds blog. You can see a whole gallery of handcrafted soft trees trees on Flickr. I have made 4 so far constructed entirely of scrap materials. The outsides are sewn using bits and pieces from my scrap bin, the decorations are from a giant container of odd buttons collected over the years, and I stuffed them using old t-shirts and holey socks. I like to make mine as wonky as possible, like a blend of Dr. Seuss and the sad Peanuts Xmas twig tree.
I’m thinking maybe I’ll bust out the white wool roving and make a little snowy diorama with my wonk trees. A weird attempt to capture the bits of a season I could really do without.
What do you love/hate about THE HOLIDAYS? How do you keep your sanity and/or enjoy?