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?