Christmas Break Up

by Debbie Harris — Two years ago, I wrote in the Foolish Times that I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas. That has changed. I won’t mince words; it’s a full on hate now. Christmas and I need to split up, go our separate ways. We just don’t get along.

I’m an introvert and the holidays are a test of my coping ability. Go out and be among bright lights and crowds, sing and hug and decorate. Aaaaaah! A Christmas party alone can require a hot bubble bath with low volume Enya music and lavender aroma therapy to recover from.

When it comes to maneuvering one’s way through the Christmas season, Hallmark doesn’t help. Before the kids even show up at your door with their plastic pumpkins begging for a treat, the Hallmark Channel has started showing Christmas movies. Romance movies. You know, the movies where the sweet, adorable, single, uncomplicated young woman finds herself in conflict of some sort with a handsome, unattached, emotionally-in-tune man. They fight about their issue while the romantic attraction builds. They just start getting closer and then something goes horribly wrong, a misunderstanding, a meddling friend, (although it’s never his baby-mama showing up with the three kids); a crisis occurs and they separate. Then somehow they are thrown back together at Christmas and the crisis is resolved. They fall into each other’s arms, and the barf bags of realists all over the country fill up.

Christmas is a bad influence on my health habits. All the wonderful foods come out during the holidays, you know, all the stuff that you’re not supposed to eat, the food that gives you sugar highs and crashes, carb overload sleepiness, and make your brain function like a snail on Valium.

But the food is there, easy to grab and outside it’s cold and wet and my hibernation reflex kicks in. I want to eat a plate of peanut butter cookies with Hershey kisses on top and sleep until March. When I am awake, I’m in a brain fog; there’s always so much to do. What should I be doing right now? What else to I have to prepare or plan for? Do I have gifts for everyone I need to get gifts for? Please say I don’t have to go to another store!! ?
I can’t stand wrapping gifts. When I was married, my husband did all the Christmas wrapping. I wanted to negotiate for Christmas wrapping rights in the divorce settlement, but I was concerned what he’d want in return. I could wrap like my mother, who has been known to use paper grocery bags, cracker boxes, staples, rubber bands, and clothes pins in her wrapping, but I don’t want the gift to look too tacky. I bless the person who invented gift bags.

I’m just too practical for a holiday like Christmas. I don’t want to give anything to anyone that they’re going to have to have a garage sale to get rid of. I’ve been known to give Christmas themed tissue boxes to my family of allergy sufferers. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but if you’re on my gift list, you’re going to get dish towels, hand soap and/or a gift card.

So Christmas, I know you only show up once a year, but it’s too much. Take the tree, the decorations, and the wrapping supplies and get your own place. We’re through!

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