Last year, I did not put up a single seasonal bauble. I had planned to be reunited with my far-away boyfriend for Christmas, and was feeling very merry and bright and romantic-comedy Christmas-montagey about the whole thing. We'll get a tree together! We'll comically sing improvisational carols! We'll eat and eat! Everything will be droll and affectionate and lightly scented with peppermint and pine!
I was in.
Then his return was delayed and then we broke up altogether. I think it was a good decision, but it wasn't a particularly Christmasy decision.
The la la just evaporated leaving me no more than fa, which morphed rapidly into feh. I couldn't be bothered to tree and garland. I did still wrap my family's gifts with care because I love wrapping gifts at any time of the year, and I watched some holiday movies because I am not made of stone.
As I think about it, I did also bake one very festive cake, but that was, by far, the most enthusiasm I rustled up.
Here we are, a whole year later. I am not undergoing any particularly poignant emotional upheaval, and yet I think it's possible I care even less about Christmas this year than I did last year. I'm not one of those "I hate Christmas" people grinching around glaringly. I am both happy and sort of envious when I see other people's trees zinging past on car rooftops or twinkling in bay windows. It's just that somehow, totally against my will, Christmas has become cioppino. Cioppino is completely delicious and I have enjoyed it many times in the past, but if I never ate it again, I wouldn't miss it.
I don't want Christmas to be cioppino; I want Christmas to be chocolate. A treat I can't imagine a future without.
Is it necessary to have children to continue to be excited about Christmas? Or do you need to be [happily] in love? Or hosting a lot of holiday hootenannies? If so, my chances aren't looking so hot.
Or...just maybe...many people eye the ornament box with deep apathy, only to find that having begrudgingly decked the halls, their dreams begin dancing with sugar plums. Is it fake it til you make it: holiday edition?
In my garage, there is a box of little pine cone people and a snowy village just waiting to be arranged on the mantle. When I was little, I had a small artificial tree of my own that I was allowed to decorate all by myself with wee wooden ornaments that my mother had gotten in Austria. The pine cone village was also my domain, next-door neighbors annually reassigned as to my seasonal whim. I cherished these things as only a very quiet, careful child could. I hadn't seen any of them for about 30 years, but last year I rescued them from my parents' attic. Apartment-sized! Perfect! I couldn't wait for this year to roll around to unpack them--a Christmas do-over.
Now the box reproaches me from the shelf when I park my car.
Fake it til you make it might not be the secret to Christmas cheer, but it's probably worth a shot. If I can't do it for me, I should at least be able to do it for the pine cone villagers. God knows they've been patient enough.
I've got the Fa. Maybe the La La is in that box.
I'll let you know how it goes.