Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy (no, really!) Holidays

It is remarkable the number of places and the large assortment of people who write about the whole, traditional holiday thing now becoming a fond memory. Many write of the stress of trying to hold those memories by recreating them again this year. I sympathize and offer an alternative.

As is true of most memories, we recall the best of the time and tend to forget the gritchy parts. Denying them in our memories, though, doesn't make it true that those ugly scenes did not happen.

It may be one person resenting the huge effort they put forth which went unacknowledged (yes, to all of the women in my life, past or present: I plead guilty to the charge of failure to appreciate), or it may be an inability to enjoy the hoopla when there are such high expectations.

The solution is simple, and it can be made to fit a family gathering thirty strong just as easily as an empty-nest couple celebrating by themselves.

Relax. Forget the big production which your grandmother could pull off because she could work only on that project for days ahead of the celebration. Today, most of us have enough challenges in our day-to-day lives that we don't have the required extra bandwidth to create a bounty worthy of the feast day which was the holiday gathering of 50 years ago.

Do what Steve Sherlock's family does: do one celebratory gathering employing leftovers or ordering pizza. After all, it's really about communion, not competition.


Rick Hamrick said...

I agree, Rick. About every other year I ignore that it is a holiday season, other than getting together with friends for potluck-style repasts. I also don't decorate every year. Living alone, it is an exhausting process to decorate and cook a resplendent meal, even though I love doing both. I pick and choose, and allow more time for socializing and enjoying my friends/family than for pomp and circumstance. And I'm happier for the "found" time to relax!

Rick Hamrick said...

Isn't it odd, Lyn, that we almost feel that we need to apologize for relaxing during the very season when all the hype is about joy, peace and love?

I remember a few years ago when I was the only adult to leap up and start doing dishes at our family gathering, one which involved about 15 people. Once I finished, and I credit the kids for acting as the table-clearing crew, I realized I had missed lots of good conversation. It was a disappointment to have missed a good bit of the whole reason for the event, in my mind, but I at least did not have to wonder if I had done enough in pitching in that year!

Bottom line for me is, if everyone is not able to participate, we screwed up somehow. Admittedly, I had been one of the guilty slackers other years, so it was a good lesson to learn.

Rick Hamrick said...

And eat the pizza off the good china. :)

Rick Hamrick said...

Good point, Kelly!

Rick Hamrick said...

Hello Ricky! It's been awhile since I've come visit. This post resonated so much with me because you make such a very good point: it is not about the competition and the show, but the communion. Well said my friend.

Rick Hamrick said...

Good to hear from you, Rebecca! There is such a wealth of good feeling and ease to be mined in this topic that I'm sure I'll come back to it again and again.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Rebecca!

Rick Hamrick said...

good points, Rick. Each year, I am becoming less and less tolerant of the holiday. Last year I had a certain family member who was unhappy about the inequity of our gift exchange. Maybe it's the "young, the-world -is-all-about-me" attitude but it really turned me off. I would be happy to have a $20 dollar limit and lots of quiet time. Happy holidays to you and your family.