If I had my druthers, I would spend the entire month of December in Morocco. Or Malaysia. Somewhere warm where they don’t celebrate Christmas.

I’ve never been a big fan of the winter holidays. OK, maybe as a really little kid. But once I was into my teens, Christmas tended to be dull: I’m the youngest by a lot, so my brothers and cousins were all gone, and I got to spend the day in sedate pursuits, being polite to grandparents and aunt and uncle (all much stuffier than my own family). It was a “family day,” so seeing friends was right out. When I was in grad school, I didn’t go “home” for Christmas. One year I went to a boyfriend’s family. Other years I spent on my own, or with one or two other people who had nowhere to go. On one really fun year, several of us had a “Godfather” marathon, renting all three movies and spending the day alternating watching them and eating. Early job years were more of the same, until I met Sir John. He comes from a big family, so now I can be overwhelmed by all the people and noise on holidays.

Part of the problem is just that it’s winter. I don’t like winter. It’s dark and it’s cold. All the fairy lights, greenery and red bows are just a way of whistling in the dark, as far as I’m concerned, creating color and glitter in a world gone dim and chilly. I don’t like the commercialism of Christmas in this country, don’t like shopping at the best of times, and definitely not in the crowds that turn out in December. And then, after last year, on top of seasonal affective disorder, introversion, and general crankiness, I have genuinely melancholy associations with the holiday.

Sadly, Morocco—or even the Caribbean—is right out; our menagerie has complicated needs. So I’m trying to come up with some stay-at-home ideas for creating better associations with the holidays, this year. I haven’t got much; my usual coping devices focus on ignoring as much of the hoo-ha as possible and concentrating on work, or engaging in mildly pleasant activities like wallowing in a hot tub with a fluffy novel. I’d like to make this the year of [something Special and Exciting], but I may default to behaving like an iguana, hunkered down between my full-spectrum lamp and a space heater.

Does anybody have suggestions of [something Special and Exciting]? Do you actually enjoy Christmas? Or are there some other iguanas out there?

7 thoughts on “Looking a lot like Christmas

  1. I feel the same way: Morrocco, the Carribbean, even the east coast of Florida where Christmas doesn't feel like "Christmas." If I come up with any alternative celebrations, I'll let you know. Right now, a full day of doing nothing but sitting on the sofa with chocolate, wine, and a good, fluffy book sounds like the best plan ever.

  2. I like Clio's idea.As a fellow winter-hater (living in snow country–go figure) I gave in and learned to snow shoe–the one winter activity that I didn't mind learning. It's not that difficult, and the hot cocoa and brandy afterwards, plus the guilt-free plopping and doing nothing afterwards, makes a miserably cold day go quickly. I'm usually headed to the MLA after Xmas–a way to get away from the holiday blues. Not sure what I'll do when the MLA moves to January….

  3. I actually love Christmas – I love decorating, baking, etc. – it's kind of sickening, I'm sure. But I also live in a place where it's pretty decent weather this time of year – in the 40s, 50s, even low 60s and relatively sunny even when cold. I also rejoice at having TD in town for the month – but I really do love the holidays…Hope you find a good way to make the winter fly by!

  4. I hate Christmas. Bah humbug all around. Clio's version sounds really nice: something indulgent to eat or drink, a good trashy book (with some Scottish castles?), or a trashy movie … heaven.As for doing something "important" — there's always volunteerism. Gets you off the couch but doesn't involve families or crappy presents or too much food (the trifecta of Xmas agony).

  5. I'm with you on not liking Christmas. I just hate the whole imposed Christianity/happy families shtick. I'm in the southern hemisphere, so Christmas here comes complete with all the frantic summer holiday crap along with it. My recommendation (which I will be following myself) is a bottle of good French champagne and some smoked salmon. Oh, and once the family goes home, 'Poltergeist' is always our Christmas Day movie of choice.

  6. I actually like the Christmas/holiday season, which is kind of strange because I don't like the shopping, the commercialism, or the season (although that has more to do with the short days than the cold or snow, which I don't mind.) I think the main reason that I like it is that I have a lot of genuinely happy memories of the Christmas season from childhood, and that attitude has sort of stuck with me. I still get together with family every year in one place or another, but I look forward to it since everyone is pretty relaxed. Plus, the holidays give a socially acceptable excuse for me to consume large quantities of unhealthy candy and desserts!

  7. You have to go do something like the snowshoeing concept, I think. If you're somewhere sunny or not home, then you can go to the beach, be alternative, but I don't like staying at home quietly, even with the wine and so on, because the whole town is so still. So some kind of outdoorsy activity is good. In a big city, a film marathon in the theatres is good.

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