Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I'm Dreaming of a Brown Christmas

It's going to be warm for Christmas here. In the sixties, according to the weather this morning. Of course, the mountains got 12-24" of snow in the last two days (a trend which will continue through the week and make Xmas skiing fabulous, I imagine). Here in Boulder we have a 50/50 chance of having a White Christmas...maybe less. It is one of the things that I do miss about Minnesota, where you were guaranteed a white Christmas morning. The fact that it was also somewhere around ten below zero (F) was merely an annoying side-effect. Sitting inside a warm, cozy house watching the snow come down outside is a lovely memory.

But, Colorado is just as likely to be brown. It's hard to really be in a cheery holiday mood when there is no snow, and it's warm enough to wear shorts outside. It's not as bad as the strange sight of Christmas lights on cactuses or palm trees (ala Las Vegas or Florida), but it's not the Norman Rockwell version, either.

To be honest, I hate the holidays. Oh, I like exchanging presents with the Adorable Husband, and sending stuff to the neiblings, but the whole 'family get-together' thing is not high on my list. Every single holiday that I have spend at home has ended up with a) someone screaming and leaving in a huff or b) me in the bathroom crying. It's mostly my family, I'll admit. The husband has a lovely family who actually seem to like spending time together. Mine, well...the holidays seem to be a fertile battlefield for every single personal issue we've ever had. I dread going home for the holidays -- and have managed to avoid it for the last five years or so. Other time, visiting isn't bad, but the holidays (especially Xmas) seem to bring out the worst in some people. Maybe it's because expectations are so high for a "warm family get-together" where everyone gathers around the table, shares a meal and then reminisces about how good and wonderful life is. When things don't go quite as planned, it's harder to deal with because we're supposed to be Suffused With Holiday Joy.

This year, the husband announced that we had to go back to MN for one of the holidays. We already had planned to travel back to go to my sister's graduation, and I thought that trip (falling just before Xmas like it did) would be enough. Apparently not. We're taking a whirlwind trip for New Years'. Sigh.

And what's with this ridiculous argument about saying Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or Merry ChrisHanaKwaanzikah? It's being touted as a 'war on Christmas', which is a tremendous load of bullshit, if you ask me. Christmas is not being banned, despite what talk radio would have you believe. Not everyone is Christian, not everyone celebrates Christmas...Hey, you can say whatever you want, as long you say it with genuine warmth, ok? What's wrong with recognizing that there may be multiple Holy Days being celebrated? Saying Happy Holidays is a way to include anyone who might be celebrating this season, be it Xmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Saturnalia, whatever. Say whatever you want to, just don't try to force everyone to agree with you. It is not "persecuting Christians" to not give them special, a-number-one standing by requiring that everyone acknowledge -- and accept -- their beliefs. I'm getting really, really tired of that fatuous argument. I celebrate Christmas, and I'm about as anti-religious as you get. It's a secularized holiday that has grown up from a number of different religious practices, pagan and christian alike. Get over it and have a nice holiday, whichever one you celebrate.

We don't even have our tree up. We finally bought a fake tree last year after about five years without a Christmas tree. It has lights, but we only found four of our ornaments. It was a little sad. This year, we just can't seem to summon the energy to haul it upstairs, refluff it's branches, and dig out the box of ornaments and tinsel. We're not really exchanging presents this year, since we decided to start the basement-to-big-screen-theater conversion this winter. So, no presents to wrap or put under the tree this year. Maybe a few small stocking stuffers, but we're pretty much taking a pass on the holidays (except for the holiday baking frenzy). Being on call with the hospital tends to put a severe cramp in any holidays plans, at any rate.

Maybe I'm just a humbug this year.

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