It feels like just last week I was complaining about seeing Christmas displays before Halloween and the next thing I know it is New Years eve. My plans for homemade gifts, sumptuous feasts and whimsical decorating have been foiled again. One day I hope to spend the month of December smugly admiring my artfully arranged decorations while softly humming to myself as I cut out paper snowflakes. There is always next year.
Despite trying to simplify things as much as possible, the Christmas frenzy is palpable and contagious. One night on the streetcar a seemingly normal looking woman got on, let out a giant sigh and then yelled a string of obscenities. When she didn’t get any attention she calmly put on her headphones and sat quietly for the rest of the ride. I chalked it up to a mini Christmas meltdown. The holidays can do that to a person. One morning I found myself inexplicably running around the house with a slab of butter in one hand, a box of Christmas cards in the other, feeling completely scattered and flustered until I burst into tears.
Interspersed with these bouts of madness, however, there were little pockets of cheer. One girlfriend decided to have a Christmas party at the last minute, calling people the night before and leaving incoherent mumbled invitations as she was falling asleep. It felt more festive and celebratory than any well planned fete would have been. The Sweetie and I enjoyed a night watching an old Babara Stanwyck movie in our pajamas that left me feeling comforted and cozy. I made a pompom garland and hung it on our mantel where it looked utterly ridiculous. I recharged in baths scented with gingerbread bubbles.
The morning of Christmas Eve The Sweetie had to go to the hospital for an MRI which was scheduled at 4:30 am. Walking in the frigid cold to catch the all night bus, affectionately known as the Vomit Comet, we had a chance to see Christmas lights and suddenly felt like we were having a lovely date. That night we gave the cat a special plate of tuna for his Christmas dinner and collectively marveled over the girth of the bloody Christmas tree that practically filled the entire room and had almost killed me carrying it home.
The Grinch is right. Christmas came without packages and baubles and roast beast. It came despite MRIs in the middle of the night and my disorganized ways and sugar fueled meltdowns. It felt like Christmas because there was a chance to savour the little things that matter. The stolen moments among the chaos and sweet times with loved ones made it feel merry. And the shortbread. The pounds and pounds of shortbread. That helped too.