It Wasn’t Like Christmas at All

Most years, I delight in Christmas. I love the smell of the tree. I enjoy selecting and wrapping gifts. And I appreciate the focus on family, friends, warmth and light in the darkest days of the year.

But this year, that delight hasn’t really shown up. I waited for it the first few weeks, but at this stage (only 3 days until Christmas! announces the snowman countdown clock on the house down the street),  I have to accept that the season is passing me by this year.

“It’s the economy, ” a co-worker said. “No one is really in the spirit this year.” And that could be part of it, I suppose. With the economy in mind, my family decided to have a more low key holiday. We cut down our gift lists and we’re buying less, selecting more practical gifts for each other.


The smaller shopping list could have meant more time for all the things that I love about the holidays, but so many other things demanded my attention this year. At times, the holiday has felt like just one more thing on our to-do list.

“Do you think the wedding stuff is getting in the way of Christmas?”, I asked Mr. WholeHog recently.  “Of course,” he answered. Instead of sending Christmas cards this year, we’re designing wedding invitations.  I haven’t wanted to be in the stores, thanks in part to a wretched experience we had when we attempted to register for gifts.

But the other night, appropriately at yoga, I thought, what if this is enough? What if the gifts I’ve bought — even if they’ve simply been ordered online and not lovingly hand-chosen — were enough? What if my sole baking project — the lone batch of molasses cookies, oh wasn’t I optimistic! — is enough?  What if those rare moments when I felt cheered by Christmas lights, or a decked out tree, or a park full of Santas were enough?


I’d planned to post a gift guide here, but perhaps what we need more than a push to buy more is the reminder that all the wishes for peace this time of year are not just for world peace, they’re also for peace of mind.

Whether the economy has taken your job or your home or just your sense of security, or whether you have too many projects cluttering up your life at the moment, I hope you’ll consider doing something that brings you peace of mind. For me, that meant finally finishing that book I started last July, and spending an evening watching Young @ Heart — a movie guaranteed to make you laugh and feel grateful simply for life.


One Response to “It Wasn’t Like Christmas at All”

  1. Amy Krause Says:

    I’m so used to Craig’s List forums these days that I had an impulse to rate you (+5!). Again, you hit the nail on the head. I talked to my brother last night as he was frantically shopping for gifts and he said that he didn’t have anything for us yet and I said we didn’t have anything for him either. It may sound awful but I offered that our gift to each other was to not stress about it this year. Phew!

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