Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Spirit

Christmas Spirit. Something we seem to get into as the 25th approaches. But I'm in a real funk I guess. Everyone says it's to be expected and all seem to understand. As I said in another post, I haven't been expecting anything. I've been taking it day-by-day and wasn't sure if I'd get nailed with the Christmas depression or not ... well, I did, and it hit this week.

I've had the Spirit of Christmas Past visit me more this week.

I'm a PK - also known as Preachers Kid. I grew up in a church. I grew up with my siblings and I sneaking into the church after the sunday service; up behind the pulpit we would turn on dad's microphone, strap on our air guitars and launch into Beatle songs and prance around on that "stage". "I wanna hold your haaannd" ... echoing throughout that high ceiling and empty church. And then we might go and climb up into the bell tower. This was always an adventure as it had a creaky, wooden ladder, hatch door and pigeon droppings everywhere. But what a great view of the small town from up in that belfry. No bats, I can attest to that.

With a dad as a minister Christmas was a command performance; a month of build-up with special services to decorate the church, carols being sung by the choir, midnight service on the eve and a full understanding that Christmas was about baby Jesus in that poor manger visited by Kings. But Santa still came to us, as did a lot of our relatives. The 25th was a really big show at our house.

Jim understood how much I loved Christmas. He would go with me to drive around and look at the light displays in the area with Christmas carols playing on the car radio and me singing along in harmony (the gaudier the lights the better, by the way). He also understood how I could crash after the festivities were over so at some point he began suggesting we go to Montreal for a few days and spend New Year's up there. Northern lights and something to look forward to to help ease me back into the post Christmas let down. It worked and we did that for several years running.

Christmas Spirit. This year I've told my family NO PRESENTS! I can't focus, can't shop, don't want any more stuff for myself and really just can't go there at all. I suggested a book swap of any books we don't want anymore. So I've gathered a few of those together to give to family members. And that's as far as I've gotten. I can't seem to get to the wrapping of them. I even put on Christmas music and sat on the living room floor staring at this pile of books with scissors, tape and paper all laid out. Ugh. I admit to having a bourbon instead.

Christmas funk.

I'm going up to my sister and her family about 2 hours north. Usually I would be baking and making stuff to add to the feeding frenzy. But not this year. The other day I went to buy two things that I said I would be bringing up ... and I couldn't even get them both at the same time. Now I have to go back. Maybe I'm having a hard time with focusing. Ya' think?! I'm very grateful that Sara has said not to worry about it, bring the unwrapped gifts and they will help me, bring whatever I actually end up getting or not getting and just relax.

I thank baby Jesus for siblings who understand.

I may not get into the Christmas Spirit this year at all. But Christmas will still come, and I will gather with friends and family ..... and miss that man's spirit by my side, helping to make Christmas very special and then sweeping me off to other adventures. Perhaps in time my own spirit will be strong enough to head out on solo adventures .... though today, I'd be happy to just be able to wrap a present or two.

Wishing you all, in the true spirit of Christmas, a very merry one.


  1. The number, and the weight, of the expectations we pile onto that holiday are enormous. The pressure of that load seems to bring out the most intense emotions of the year. It doesn't help that it's dark PRETTY MUCH ALL THE TIME. Here's a crow for ya...

  2. Mary, I just want to let you know I'm thinking about you (and Jim) this holiday season. This is the first Christmas I did not spend in NJ at my family home with my parents and brother and sister and all their kids, since the deaths of my mother and father in the spring. So I know how it doesn't quite seem complete this year, how the holidays can accentuate that absence of those we have loved so dearly and lost. It was a quiet Christmas instead, less of an event, more of a solemn occasion. Still, the decorations everywhere, and our own tree with lights glimmering at night, helped to buoy the spirits. There's deep care emanating from every corner, and sometimes it takes quiet and even mourning to feel its subtle tendrils holding us, connecting us. Wishing you, and all of us, a healing new year. Love, Bob M.