Skip to main content

Holiday Season 2012

Okay, it's Thanksgiving week which means I need to just set aside my "Oh my gawd!  There is already a big Christmas tree in Union Square," and "Seriously?  the ice skating rink has already opened?!?" and "Are you kidding me that the giant snowflakes are already lit up along Market street?!?!?!"  The holiday season is here.  I'm not sure it ever left, and I swear I saw people's dead Christmas trees in gutters until May this year, but there's no more denying it.  Whether we're ready or not, here they come.

Don't get me wrong, I really do like the holidays.  I took several years off from liking them a while ago, but having gotten away with spending them in a just-as-I-please fashion for several years, I feel a bit more ready to participate in a more traditional manner (i.e. with family and too much to eat).   But there's still a certain amount of emotional prep needed.  I think what I've learned from life in how to best enjoy the holidays is that you have to intentionally seek out the bits you really like, and make sure those happen (don't just hope that someone else will make them happen for you), and the bits you really hate you have to either intentionally avoid, or have a strategy for survival in place if they cannot be avoided (my personal set of strategies involves making sure there is ample recovery time afterward, preferably with binge television watching, and a whole lot of post-process journaling).  But just because commercials have been shoving an image of good cheer down our throats for weeks already now, doesn't mean we have to be victims to the holidays.  This year, let's not become innocent roadkill on the   highway to 2013.

There are a lot of steps you can take to be intentional about how you want to live through the holidays this year.  You can decide you're only going to support small businesses with the gifts you buy.  You can decide you'll avoid desserts entirely this year, thus not having to again lose those four pounds in January.  You can decide that you don't need to have both turkey and ham served if it means you get a few more hours of your life back, and that life is more important than making sure everyone's expectations are met.  Whatever you decide, it just has to be specific to your very particular hopes and needs.

I'm so thankful for so many things in my life right now.  I haven't been as happy as I've been this year since I was seven years old.  It makes me want to make sure other people are happy too.  I really do genuinely hope you have a happy Thanksgiving, but because one of my personal pet peeves about the holidays are the emotional expectations (everything must be perfect, including your ability to feel like a Hallmark card inside!), I'm just going to say: Thank you for reading, it means a lot to me.


  1. You're so right about the Christmas tree corpses. I swear they just finished dragging them off the streets and now it's already time for a fresh batch. I like your message here about taking the reindeer by the, um, reins. I'm going to do this.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

For Mom, Twenty-One Years Later

I lost my mom twenty-one years ago today. She died from complications related to a long battle with chronic-progressive multiple sclerosis. I was a week away from turning twenty-one. Which means I have not had her as long as I did have her.
It used to make me unique among my friends, to have lost a parent at such a young age. But I’m no longer young and many friends have joined this depressing club. The dues are astronomical and no one prepares refreshments.
People, moms are important. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Whether you were once a child or are currently a mom. They are the sun, moon, and stars, even when they are completely obscured by darkness.
I wish she mattered less. She doesn’t. She matters more than almost anything: that first hit of love, that childhood sense of safety, that initial understanding of what it means to be a woman in the world: mom.

Memory is funny when it comes to dead people: I can remember her any way I want. Which means I can also mis-remem…

Writing is a Confidence Game

Some people just naturally walk around the world feeling like they are hot shit. I'd wager most weren't writers. Oh sure, there are some exceptions: some cock-sure arrogant types who truly believe every word from their pen is golden. They've either been praised too much in their youth or never been workshopped before.

In general though, writers are a needy unconfident bunch. An unexpected side effect of going part-time and tripling my writing efforts is to get way more in touch with this part of myself.

My job has its own cycle of feedback and reward, and mine is not generous in either but I generally know how I'm regarded, and I'm quite confident in about 60% of what I do. The other 40% are either things I'm getting better at, or things I don't care if I ever get better at.

It took me a solid one and a half to two years at this job to feel confident. That's a really long ramp-up time, but universally true for my role in my organization. It's compli…

Book Review: Anything is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout

I inadvertently found myself in possession of an advance reader's edition of Elizabeth Strout's newest book, Anything is Possible. It's set to drop on April 25th.

Scrabble's response to the title: Does this mean I can eat ten times a day?
It's a companion, a follow-up if you will (but not a sequel) to her last novel, My Name is Lucy Barton. Which was fantastic and spare and a perfect example of Strout's phenomenal carefulness in her writing. I loved it for all those reasons. I love Anything is Possible for completely different reasons.

It's a collection of linked stories, not unlike Strout's Olive Kitteredge. Each of the stories showcases a particular character referenced in My Name is Lucy Barton. In My Name, conversations with her mother over the span of a few days reference a host of do-you-remembers, and whatever-happened-tos involving offscreen characters that are delightfully interesting in their own right. Anything is Possible is full of these ri…