I have a love/hate thing with the holidays.
I love some of the music, the lights, baking, time spent with friends and family, wrapping gifts, the looks of surprise and delight that well-chosen gifts can elicit, and the way the season, if only briefly, can bring out the best in people.
I don't love the mad scramble to buy! buy!! buy!!!, the feelings of obligation engendered by relentless consumerism, the relentless music blaring distortedly over PA systems, the ceaseless auditory hammering of commercials touting cheap plastic crap as the next big thing, the marketing aimed at children that encourages them to equate gifts with love, the fact that this holiday's simple origins have been lost in the glitz, glam, lights and inflatable animatronic doo-dads, and that retailers are now readying their stores for the holidays in October.
I love putting up my few lights outside, and eventually getting a tree up indoors. I look forward to doing these things with Someone for the first of (what I hope will be) many times this year. I love filling my home with the scent of baking cookies and breads, then sending those baked goods out into the world for others to (hopefully) enjoy.
I hate being broker than a politician's promise, and so unable to give gifts as lavishly as I otherwise would. I hate how this time of year can bring out the very worst in people - beatings, stabbings, shootings, thefts, and cruelty abound, usually over some stupid sale item that a retailer has unceasingly advertised as available for one day only, while supplies last, creating huge demand...and yet only ordered a few of them, first come, first served.
I love popping in my Trans Siberian Orchestra CDs and singing along with them. Likewise my Bing Crosby CD and my GRP Jazz collection, all holiday music.
I hate the electronic, frenetic, blaring, grating, saccharine, over-played crap that runs over most retailer's loudspeakers.
I could go on, but why?
I used to work setup for a venerable local tradition, a week-long charity event. That was the beginning of the season for me - setting up the Festival of Trees. The event, like many things, was a victim of the economy and went away. I'm told there's a version of it still going on, but when I offered to volunteer or design something for the sale, I was rebuffed. Sigh.
Now it's the cookie swap that gets me started. Usually in the first week of December, it's a fun way to get rolling - bake up a storm and go swap delectables with friends, telling stories about our recipes and why we enjoy them.
During the next week, I'll haul out the outdoor decorations - a few lights, some garland for the banisters - and run extension cords. Who builds a house with no outdoor sockets? I'd like to ask the builder what he was thinking...
The lights need testing. I had to toss some strands last year because they were beyond my limited ability to salvage. Some of the garland had to go, too - the neighbor's cad had peed all over it, and that's a smell that doesn't go away...and is something less than festive.
I'm not feeling festive right now...but know I will get there.
Today will help - I'm off to the co-op to demonstrate my mad card making skillz, yo...and I'm making holiday cards to (hopefully) sell.
What gets you in the mood?
Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!
"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One
For old quotes, look here.
For old quotes, look here.