Like clockwork, the Holidays have arrived again. Seems to happen about this time every year—the arrival of the Holidays. In a matter of weeks, though, the Holiday stress will be over.
Notice how “Holiday” keeps getting capitalized? I can’t help it. Any activity that runs for more than two months and drains significant energy resources from me deserves to start with a capital letter. Sure, there are the somewhat less stressful holidays, like Easter, spring break, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and other random three-day weekends, but, those are all very different from the “Holidays” that start with Thanksgiving and end shortly after the New Year. And it’s when November starts that the subliminal anxiety that has been poking the back of your head for weeks springs forth and squeezes your brain.
One-sixth of the year is dedicated to forcing family good cheer, organizing get-togethers, buying meaningful gifts and staying warm while not turning up the heat. (OK, the last part really just has to do with winter and my hatred of the cold.) And while some of you may scoff at me and foolishly believe that you escape the mayhem simply because Santa is not part of your annual festivities (festivities— what a misguided word—makes it sound like everything is fun and games)—alas, you are mistaken.
Even without the demands of decorating a tree, buying gifts and trying to meet everyone’s needs, you still have to go out and interact with other people. And these people, who take the season very seriously, can create
through those automatic doors, a colorful LED sign flashed at me: “64 Days Until Christmas.” (See? I told you it started before Halloween.)
After buying enough candy to ensure leftovers which will HAVE to be consumed so that you don’t feel like money was wasted, skeletal remains will need to be quickly packed and replaced with smiling poultry placed next to cherubic pilgrims wearing colorful garb that may or may not be historically accurate.
So you see, even without Santa, there are already infinite activities that will require a holiday following the Holidays in January— and not for sightseeing. That January holiday will be needed simply for sleeping.
Inevitably, for most people, the Holidays revolve around gift giving. And receiving… And buying… And sharing… And hiding… And hating… Wait… No, it’s about love.
So, what started with a simple bag of candy for costumed children ends with boxes of gifts for everyone and anyone you may know. Oh, how I loathe shopping and making lists for everyone. The lists never end: Parents, children, pets, teachers, coworkers, church, school, friends…
I actually know people who adore shopping. I was recently at a Cub Scout meeting when a dad told me he loved shopping. In fact, he said he liked to take days off of work just to wander the stores and buy things. Wow. That is
astounding to me. To LIKE stores…
We have all said or heard how important it is to appreciate family and friends and not the “stuff ” that is so prevalent during the Holiday season; we know that regardless of the commercials. But, since I brought it up, one person actually told me that he thought new stuff was very important in his life and in the lives of his friends. And he flashed his credit card wildly before he had to declare bankruptcy. But to each his own; no need to proselytize or get on any type of soapbox.
I just want everyone to know that I am aware of how exhausting the Holidays are and how little time we actually have to make sure we say “I love you” to those people who are important to us.
This year’s Holiday season is in full swing, but when it ends I will sleep until Groundhog Day. First, though, I need to get my list to Santa finished. I mean, I do love you (see, I said it) but mama needs a new 42” LCD flat-panel plasma TV with surround sound…
DeeDee Corbitt Sauter is a resident of PrinceWilliam County. Her column, “Tambourines and Elephants,” appears monthly in Prince William Living.