I admitted to my college roommate S. last night that I’m having a hard time getting into the spirit of the season. She looked at me and said, “I think it’s going around.” There is something about this year that is difficult. I don’t know if it’s because the onslaught of buy-buy-buy seemed even more…pressure filled than usual, I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t heard enough good Christmas music and every store insists on playing Santa Baby because that makes me inclined to buy stuff for selfish people, but for some reason, the spirit is lacking this year. Maybe it’s because we’re all adults and none of us have children to remind us about the magic of the season.
I tried, really hard, to take a step back, to remind myself that rejoicing in the lights and the festive spirit is what this holiday is about for me, but even that isn’t helping. Assembly of the Disney tree at work (we have a Finding Nemo ornament!) didn’t really help. The Nosy Bitches exchange has been super fun but I kind of botched my gift and it was sort of frustrating and my person hasn’t gotten their gift yet so I’m still stressing about it not being good enough.
Listening to Christmas Wrapping is helping a little bit. Our local indie radio station has been playing some really good holiday music, including Deep Blue Something’s Little Drummer Boy and a few others I really liked, so that has been helpful at making me feel holiday-y.
I’m not really sure the answer to my holiday ennui, but I have Finished Shopping. Anything I forgot to get for anybody, they just aren’t getting. Anything I need to return is waiting until January. Between now and The Christmases (it’s five nights/days of celebration), I can spend some time relaxing, going to Solstice Services, wrapping gifts, and making a few last minute handmade things. Wait, our holiday cards haven’t arrived yet and I need to get them out ASAP? Wait, my in-laws are coming to stay? Oh, what’s that you say, we don’t have anything for dinner? What’s that, I volunteered to make a cheesecake for Christmas? Sigh. It’s really hard to get into the Holiday spirit when you have a to-do list a mile long. Anyone else having trouble?
I read this article on Offbeat Home and I loved it. It definitely reminded me of a lot of my friends who moved to the big city after college, and live in crummy and unsafe parts of town living on Ramen noodles.
On the other hand, my husband and I moved to another city, one that we both love, but that has a much lower cost of living than your typical “big city”. Because our entire city is considered unsafe, because the population is very blue-collar, and because it’s not really hip. It’s not hip at all. We finally got a fro-yo place. And a grilled cheese food truck. But we like it. We actually never want to leave. There is an old folks home at the end of the street and I joke about staying in our apartment forever and then moving into the senior home down the street. Because it turns out that we don’t mind living in a place that isn’t hip, since we’re not that hip.
I think there is another lie that is sold to young people in their twenties, and that is the young suburbanite lie. This is the lie for people that fancy themselves grown-up at twenty-two. It is the lie that you can move to the suburbs, where everybody drives their cars and is safe all the time, and be happy. When I did this, fresh out of college, I was miserable and unhappy. And I was actually warned about this, that the suburbs were boring and I would be unhappy, but my logic was, “I’m boring – I don’t go out, I don’t like going out, and I’m happiest when I’m sitting at home playing board games.”
Which is true. But nobody wants to come play board games with you in the suburbs. This was the hardest part for us – people just didn’t come over and hang out with us. I think we hosted…three dinner parties the entire time we lived in the suburbs? Now it’s much more like 1-2 a month. Our friends are generally happy to come to us, we know our neighbors, and for some reason, life in the city, even our unsafe, unhip city, just feels so much more vibrant. Not fast paced-and-scary, the way New York feels, but normal. My friend stops by and asks if I want to go to happy hour. There are baseball games going on a mere three blocks from our apartment. We can see the fireworks on the 4th of July. We don’t go out much, but as the article says, if you live in the city in proximity to the glamour, and I’ve found that some of it rubs off.