The Honking Goose

something to honk about

I don’t love Christmas


Is that a better title than “I hate Christmas”? – because that is what I really wanted to write.

As a child, I loved Christmas. We didn’t have any extended family close, so it was always just the four of us. One special morning. My mom would spoil us girls with heaps of gifts, all beautiful wrapped and arranged under the tree. We would eat a simple breakfast of scones and jam and tea. (So no one had to do much cooking or cleaning.) I was privileged, and took it all for granted.

I remember in particular, one Christmas morning when I was five or six, waking up before dawn and creeping quietly past my parents bedroom to the stairs. I crawled down the first few steps and peeked through to the living room below. The tree was lit, the presents were heaped. It was picture perfect. My joy could not have been more pure.

As a young adult, rebellious and a budding environmental activist, I grew to resent the commercialism of the holiday. It all came to represent, to me, wastefulness, greed, and the steep divide between the rich and the poor. This was also around the time, when I was 19, my mom died after a two year battle with cancer. My family was broken, my attitude was broken, my role in society was broken. So Christmas became broken, too.

the ring

the ring

The Goose and the Gander’s first Christmas as a family of our own, I was 24. Our first gosling was just two months old. I made three ornaments out of gold embossed origami paper and satin string. We hung them on our largest potted plant – an aloe. We celebrated the Solstice, loving being tucked away at home with our new baby in the dark days of winter. On Christmas day, the Gander presented me with a ring and asked me to marry him. I’m tearing up now, remembering it. We were engaged and we had SO MUCH LOVE.

We had another gosling, just one year later. A baby boy who was born premature and died after 10 days in the NICU. The following year we had yet another gosling, a healthy baby boy. Three baby boys. Two kids now 10 and 12 to love and cherish.

(I didn’t mean at all to put that into this post about why I hate Christmas. It doesn’t fit. And yet now that I’ve written these other things, I can’t leave him out. So, because I have no editor to tell me what to do, onward…)

Over the years, once our children were a few years old and could recognize the holiday, our celebration of Christmas naturally shifted. I only wanted to celebrate the Solstice, after all, we’re not Christian. The Gander wanted to celebrate Christmas, because hello warm childhood memories, so nice to feel you again. Plus, now we were parents of the first grandchildren to come into our extended family and many people wanted to celebrate with us as well. On my side there is my Dad and bonus Mom, and my sister. On the Gander’s side his Dad, Mom, Brother, and half-Sister, PLUS his mom’s five sisters and one brother. This family of seven siblings has a yearly Christmas eve tradition of coming together to relive the best moments of their own childhoods.

It is so much to juggle. Amidst all that, I try to balance my desire for celebrations of love and time spent together, with other people’s desire to shower my kids with piles of crap they don’t want or need (and yes, once in a while a true treasure of a thoughtful gift, probably, I can’t remember because of the time and energy it took me to sort, store, give away or regift all the crap, plus attempt to recycle all the mountains of shiny giftwrap.)

Ugh. I hate Christmas! I want it to end and go away forever. WHY?!?!

oh balls! it's Christmas

oh balls! it’s Christmas

I feel like the joy I experienced as a child is not being passed on to my kids. They get dragged around from house to house, make small talk with relatives they rarely see, open presents that are designed for kids years younger than them. Plus, as their parent, I just can’t compete. We are not rich. I have charged up my credit cards to buy them presents some years, things they really want and do need. And then our modest celebration at home feels like it’s being trampled under the feet of Christmas eve gifting at the rich relative’s house and after-Christmas extended gifting at their grandparent’s house. Where is the specialness? Where is the magic?

Did I mention that I hate it?

More importantly though, because I’ll push aside my own feelings if everyone else is happy, I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t know how to make it the holiday celebration of love and togetherness that I want it to be. I’ve tried telling the grandparents to tone down the gift giving. I’ve tried staying home some years and vising relatives some years.

My kids both say this year, they want to be home on Christmas. They won’t miss the gifts on Christmas eve or seeing their grandparents who we saw all of just a couple weeks ago for Thanksgiving. They just want to be home.

If we do stay home, we have to invite the Gander’s parents. They won’t be left out. We have to submit to their style of gifting no matter what. My bonus Mom is Jewish and my Dad is very reasonable, plus we just spent Thanksgiving day with them, so they are fine with not seeing us on the day of Christmas this year.

I am searching for a way to align my heart and let go of overthinking/planning. I am searching for a way to love everyone when they won’t do what I want, when their wants are different than mine. I am searching for a new way.


Advertisements

40 comments on “I don’t love Christmas

  1. earth2bella
    December 14, 2016

    Stay home. Trust me lol. I have the same feels on Xmas…so last yr we said “hey ppl…we have the kids. They wanna stay and hang out with their new stuff (duh) so you can come to us this yr if you wanna be a part of it.”
    And they did. We are SO much happier. It’s kinda awkward to say this to family but it’s over quick and so very worth it. Good luck hun. Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kittiephoenixromans08
    December 9, 2016

    Hmmm…. That’s a hard one for me too. I wrestle between celebrating the light, love, and life in my life and falling into the darkest darkness this time of year to mourn what’s lost–the people who were at Christmas who always made it sparkle an extra bit.

    I wish I had sage advice to share. Some years, I stumble and stammer and stare and struggle. Other years, I glitter and glam and glow.

    I can’t say that it will pass because I think we all mourn differently and sometimes some people mourn like a dripping icicle repeatedly over time while others explode with a fiery volcanic passion just once close to the event. As long as no one is harmed, either is right as long as it’s real, genuine, and authentic.

    Just be you and be in the moment. Don’t take a mask, and don’t play a charade. And yes, this is the same advice I give myself, and I don’t usually follow it well… =)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lauramacky
    December 6, 2016

    I used to hate it too. No need for me to explain all that but I had similar feelings of commercialism etc. Now I realize that it’s important to pass along love and to try and make others feel good because after all, who wants to be around someone with a doldrums attitude. No offense lol. But seriously, I don’t have to reject Christmas all together. I found out what it means to me and I like sharing those positive feelings. It’s good practice for the rest of my miserable life LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. latskojerry
    December 6, 2016

    Solstice is certainly worth celebrating and I’m sure it always has been. I, too, loved Christmas as a child but that was because I believed all that stuff—the stories about baby Jesus and the Three Wise Men, Santa Claus, all of that stuff.I was a true believer, the kind that fall hardest. Now I am one of the dorks who doesn’t go along but I try not to ruin it for those who like it. I’m one of eight children in my family and the only one not still a Christian so it does present problems but I’m on the “other” side of a lot of issues, politics etc. We talk about sports to get along but we don’t visit much anyway. No doubt they pray for me. For the most part I keep quiet about it but it’s very annoying to see things like the Macy’s ads the last few years (Believe!) and the whole Black Friday! bullshit with people hurting each other to be first to buy crap they can’t afford. Many friends do “alternative” type creative gifting which is fine but I just can’t participate. I used to call it Mao’s Birthday Eve but I’m a bit mellower now. But if I heard a sleigh landing on my rooftop these days I would probably grab a baseball bat and prepare for the worst.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      December 8, 2016

      That’s naughty! I wish I could solve my holiday ill will with a baseball bat. Alas, I just don’t see how it would work.

      Like

  5. rugby843
    December 6, 2016

    I have a related story. Every year our anniversary was sidelined by his family’s local festival, away from us. Every year we attended. I still resent it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. rugby843
    December 6, 2016

    I think most kids want to be at home. Why do the inlaws have to be there? You could visit them instead, maybe a day or two before, or for New Year’s??

    Liked by 1 person

  7. joey
    December 6, 2016

    I totally want to tell you how I commiserate with this post, but I don’t want to publicly rant crazy either, so I will summarize.
    The first holiday time after I married, my mother told me to cut out all the Christmases. She told me when you have kids, everyone wants your Christmas. She described, in dramatic detail, hauling her ONE child around to everyone’s house for this and that, making me fussy and completely exhausting her. Since I married into two children and we planned to have more, she told me to multiply it. “Just imagine it Joey….”
    After experiencing year one, we did cut out all the Christmases. Some people did not adapt well. Some people WAILED and called me selfish and much more unkind names, accused me of all sorts of malicious motives.
    But we have Christmas at home. 16 years of Christmas at home. Stockings over coffee, pancakes in pajamas, presents, dinner, merriment. It’s PEACE.

    I hope you find your own groove. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      December 6, 2016

      Ah Joey, where were you with that advice 12 years ago?! 🙂 I wish I had done exactly that, maybe it’s not too late. I could tell everyone this will be the last year. Next year we’ll go to Mexico and from then on extended family is on their own. I feel more relaxed just thinking about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. blissinger
    December 6, 2016

    I’m a different generation—74— and a different culture —Mexico, but I don’t like Christmas either. I find the Mexican version much more appealing, but the American Santa/elves/crap is gradually overwhelming it. There are still posadas, piñatas and special foods, but I can see the gift buying pressure on people who really can’t afford it and I want to apologize to them. We haven’t figured out how to celebrate without gifting, frantic decorating, overly sweet and fat foods and too much alcohol…and we don’t drink. What I’d like to do is just escape for three or four days to someplace quiet and secret, sunny with a beach, and pretend it’s just a vacation. But this year I’m recovering from breast cancer surgery, still facing chemo, so I’m not going anywhere. Maybe next year…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. vanbytheriver
    December 6, 2016

    We have been sold the whole package, and are convinced that everyone but us might be having that perfect holiday. They are not. I have had many years when I wished I could have gone to sleep in mid November, to wake up on Jan. 2, on a beach, in the tropics. Hasn’t happened …just yet. Hope you can wait this one out. ☺You are so not alone.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Godless Cranium
    December 6, 2016

    Not a fan either for much the same reasons. The commercialization and stress of it all is just too much. It sucks the enjoyment out of the holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      December 6, 2016

      It really does. Every year we tell each other “next year we’ll just go to Mexico”. One of these years we will actually do that.

      Like

  11. Just Me
    December 6, 2016

    Thanks in advance for overlooking the typo, haha. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Just Me
    December 6, 2016

    I can’t stand the “one upmanship” aspect of the holiday season, either….that aspect of dutifully accommodating and managing others’ expectations, etc. other etc.

    I believe that when the goslings are grown into the geese and/or gander they will become, they’ll look back and cherish, not necessarily the materialistic part of their Christmas seasons, but more at the love and sense of family that was shared by you all.

    Wishing you a happy season, at any rate.

    JM

    Liked by 1 person

  13. TheOriginalPhoenix
    December 6, 2016

    My family has a very modest Christmas. We just open presents together in the morning and then spend the rest of the day reveling in each other’s presences. I can see why you don’t like it and, I have to say, I’m sorry about all the things that happened to you around Christmas. But that’s totally cool how you husband proposed to you at that time too. I hope you can find a balance 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      December 6, 2016

      Thank you, I will certainly try. In other news, I’m looking forward to at least one day soon playing in the snow. I’ve seen a picture of snow on our nearest mountain and I’m getting excited for that. Does it snow near where you live?

      Like

      • TheOriginalPhoenix
        December 6, 2016

        You’re welcome! It doesn’t snow where I’m at unfortunately

        Liked by 1 person

  14. nkdwhtguy
    December 6, 2016

    “Ugh. I hate Christmas! I want it to end and go away forever.” Me too. I think I would like Christmas if it wasn’t for all the bullshit expectations of others. If I lived by myself you wouldn’t even be able to know it was Christmas in my house. Now, Halloween that’s another story. lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      December 6, 2016

      Heehee, I love Halloween, too. Unfortunately social convention tells me wearing fake blood isn’t appropriate at a Christmas party.

      Like

  15. speedyrabbit
    December 6, 2016

    ban Christmas presents unless they are hand made or a budget cap.I find that works quite well,I make my own card and Christmas cake.it just me ,the hubby and Speedy at christmas.Speedy gets Spoiled and we have a budget on presents for our selves,xx Rachel Speedy’s mum

    Liked by 2 people

    • thehonkinggoose
      December 6, 2016

      If I could ban Christmas presents all together I would! I must be such a Grinch! That wouldn’t be kind to my kids though. It’s on me to adjust my attitude, I think. What does Speedy get for Christmas? Babs gets a new salt lick every year.

      Liked by 1 person

      • speedyrabbit
        December 7, 2016

        hahaha Speedy gets Spoiled,he normally gets a cardboard castle but this year its a cottage,treat and toys,spoilt he is,xx Rachel

        Liked by 1 person

  16. insanitybytes22
    December 6, 2016

    I’m sorry for your struggles. One thing that really helped me was to let go of the expectation of Christmas, the ideas and thoughts around how it should be, and to just relax and take it all in, let it happen as it will. It can be hard on people, we have memories and expectation, we have life tragedies and events, and none of us are actually like a Norman Rockwell painting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      December 6, 2016

      Yes, I will try to relax and take it all in, let go of the pressure, and remember to be thankful.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. rabbiadar
    December 6, 2016

    I love that you are honoring the goslings’ request to stay home this year. Excellent plan! I have a piece on my blog aimed at grandparents and gifting – can’t access it right now on the fly, but if you go to the blog and search on “grandmothers” you will find it. Maybe sharing it with your in-laws might help.
    Good luck. I admit that I feel relieved, every year, that Christmas is only in my peripheral vision.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      December 6, 2016

      Thank you, I did go over and reread your post A Tale of Two Grandmothers. I am thankful that my kids have two grandmothers who love them and are kind and good grandmas. I will remember to keep in mind, and in my heart, my thankfulness.

      Like

      • rabbiadar
        December 6, 2016

        I loved both my grandmothers, and I know they loved me. The difference between presence and presents had long term ramifications, though. I wish you peace and joy in the season!

        Liked by 2 people

  18. Elyse
    December 6, 2016

    I hate it too. But I try, and I love the memories I have when my family members were alive. I fight depression this time of year. I guess I will have to fight it by re posting this again.
    https://fiftyfourandahalf.com/2011/12/02/both-sides-now/

    January does come though. Every jingle-jangled year! We’ll get there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      December 6, 2016

      You’re right Elyse, “this too shall pass”, does help a little bit. Thank you for your words, I enjoy your presence here. (who needs presents when you’ve got presence?)

      Liked by 1 person

Honk at me:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on December 6, 2016 by in Culture, Personal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: