Annual Christmas “Rant” by L

It’s that time of year, kids. Can you believe I made it this far without a complete meltdown on our blog? Yeah, neither can I. What’s even more special is that this is not really a rant. I’m struggling and stressed and still up at 11:30pm (ha! that’s when I started writing!) eventhough I need to be somewhere at 7:30am (eeeegads! the horror!), but I’m not here to write a someday-we’ll-laugh-at-this story about how poorly I handle the holidays.

To back up a bit, 2009 was much better than most years before. Because my time was reserved for photography (and the very rare freelance gig), I had daytime hours to knock out errands while most people were at work…and then I could work in the evenings while they crowded the mall and stores. It was a big step up from previous years, for sure. The reduction in stress was noticeable.

This year, I’ve had the schedule flexibility, but also have had a lot more work to do to process print and greeting card orders for the holidays. And, everyone we shop for is more difficult than ever. Everyone is at that age where they can afford whatever they really want. It’s impossible to “help Santa” when they buy everything they want the moment they want it. It’s difficult to even buy something they like/need when they won’t share a simple wish list. And, some of the rules for gift giving change each year. We gave up on keeping up with that a long time ago; we do what we can when we can. Screw the “rules”…and those who bitch will get a donation made to the charity of MY choice in their name. (And I’m guessing they won’t like the charity I’ll pick!) For the most part, they must know this about me! #EvilGrin

Still, this year has been pretty calm. After a bit of brainstorming, we made a list. I bought all I could on my own. E helped me shop for the rest. For the most part, I wrapped and he tagged. That all went swimmingly.

And then, tonight, I almost broke down (I did tear up) in HEB. The Tofurkey Thanksgiving of 2010 was a big pain in the ass that made me feel like the family weirdo (in spite of one of our brothers-in-law practically drooling over what I brought and in spite of my grandmother’ s undying support for something she doesn’t even understand). I get enough of the weirdo thing all on my own; I don’t need my “strange food” to “help” with that identifier.

And, I rarely read the FlyLady emails. I get them. I have a filter that sends them into a folder. Yet, I peruse the subject lines and delete all of them virtually every day. Today, though, the “easy holiday meal” caught my eye. It was “Roast Beast” with horseradish, mashed potatoes, green beans, butternut squash, rolls, and even an “easy trifle” for dessert. Now, let me be clear: I can eat almost all of that food: I can’t have the meat, should have tiny portions of the potatoes and rolls, and probably can’t have that particular dessert, but I could make do if the veggies were prepared without milk/butter. However, what set me off was the idea of “normal” food. I just want to be one of the normal people at the holiday. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can hear you giggling. I’ve never been the normal anything. Still, I’d like to fit in just a tiny bit.

So, walking through HEB and getting apples and avocados (totally “on” the plan) and vegan crackers and store-bought hummus (not exactly following the spirit of the rules) and boxed stuffing for my Christmas “entree” and frozen veggies for my sides–well, anyway, I lost what little spirit of Christmas I had. None of the things I was getting was special. They were all just plain ol’ normal everyday blah. Where, exactly, is the place between Tofurkey Weirdo and Boring “you’re eating that again?” Vegan?

So, after a very long day, E and I had some errands to run before leaving town tomorrow: two presents to purchase, dinner, gas for the car, air the tires (because the weather changed again!), shop for all the food I’ll eat for Christmas dinner in three places (my family, his family, and our own), pack, wrap & tag the last few gifts, prep the kitties as best we can (so that we can “quick prep” them tomorrow on our way out), plan who drives where for our departure tomorrow after work, and I’m sure I’m leaving something out. Thus, it was a long evening of not-easy work.

…and I’m exhausted, but not sleepy.

damn holidays. damn expectations from others. damn food.

E wanted to skip Christmas this year; I should have said yes.

Now where is that jar where we save money for a dream vacation? I have a few dollars change to contribute!

2 thoughts on “Annual Christmas “Rant” by L

  1. Girl, I’m so freakin’ proud of you (in a non-condescending way, because someone once told me that to say you were proud of someone was condescending. Just so we’re clear on that.). I suppose it’s better phrased that I’m proud to call you my friend.

    Also, you are *so* right about all the gift-giving “rules.” I will spare you most of my holiday anecdote for a pingback, if I actually get as far as to blog post about it. In essence, I feel similarly. I wanted to add that James and I were kind of confounded: with all of the expectations, gift-giving “rules,” travel, etc, it turns out it’s actually *easier* to have *nothing* during this time than to have a little bit. (And I do know the difference.) AND this may be a little late, but YUM: http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/vegetable/recipe-quinoa-stuffed-sweet-dumpling-squash-072643 and http://www.veganfamily.co.uk/yule.html#lucy (Although they are both weird, they are still yum looking.)

  2. Get through this year and plan a little get away for the next Christmas! Oh how I love my family but hate their obligatory attitudes…let’s all just be together, laugh, and eat. 🙂

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