Pickin’ on Christmas

November 28, 2005    By: Kristen J @ 4:22 pm   Category: Life

There I was pampering and nurturing Thanksgiving along when something tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and there staring me right in the face was Christmas. “I’m not ready for you yet,” I exclaimed.

“Sorry hon. I’m here and the pressure’s on!” it replied.

Oh great, I thought to myself, no time to take a break. I just have to dive in to this craziness we call Christmas.

If you couldn’t tell I’m feeling a little “bah humbugish” about Christmas this year. I’m not really sure why, normally I love the holiday season, but not this year. In fact, I was going to write a post on all of the reasons why I thought Christmas has turned into a horrible, greedy, nasty holiday. I started to write the post and realized how awful and negative it sounded. It was the last thing I thought I needed so I decided to spin it 180 degrees. .

The first thing that made me grumpy about Christmas this year was seeing a newscast about people beating each other up while trying to get the best deals on “Black Friday”. Honestly it’s a little bit hard to put a positive light on this but I think I may have come up with something. While watching the newscasts about these kinds of things everyone gets to feel a little bit smug and superior because they weren’t involved. So there you go, a few minutes of feeling pretty darn good about yourself, who cares if it’s at the expense of others!

You have to admit it’s a little entertaining in the same fashion that watching Jerry Springer in extreme moderation (my personal limit is about 30 seconds) can be. You could also say that a lot of crowds on “Black Friday” mean good things for the economy.

The second thing that made me grumpy about Christmas this year was my neighbor down the street putting Christmas lights in every square inch of his yard. I guess I was feeling pressure to keep up with the joneses and feeling stressed out about it. I hate hanging Christmas lights! There is some good to come out of this too. My neighbor is a pretty grumpy guy and anything that makes him come out of his shell even for a little bit is a good thing.

He also has a big light up snowman in his yard that is holding a can of Bud Light. I thought this might provide some good entertainment for my family and me when we stealthily replace it with a 7-up can. I’m anticipating that we will have to undertake this several times throughout the holiday season.

On to the millions of people to buy presents for and the huge Christmas lists presented to Santa by the children of the world (or maybe just America). This wasn’t too hard to put in a positive light. While keeping the gifts modest my family gets an opportunity to think of our loved ones while looking for or making just the right present for them.

My husband and I can take any excessive lists given to us by our children and use them as teaching opportunities. Helping our children pair down the lists (severely) will help teach them to be less greedy in life (I hope).

There is my Christmas pep talk. I think it worked a little bit. Now I must convince myself that hanging Christmas lights can be joyful. Oh I know, it’ll be good exercise!

If you have any traditions or stories you would like to share to help me feel a little jollier please do!


  1. I don’t usually get into the Christmas spirit until a week before. I couldn’t care less about decorating, I’d like to not even have a tree–our apartment just doesn’t have room for anything. But there’s no way the ward would let me get away with that–someone would find out and bring one over. So we’ll have to give up half our living room for it.

    I’m not helping much am I.

    Comment by Susan M — November 28, 2005 @ 9:27 pm

  2. Yeah, thanks Susan!

    I know what you mean though. I was telling my mom I was ready to skip Christmas this year but she said, “It’s for the kids Kristen. It’s for the kids.”

    So I’m pumping myself up to hang the lights from the rafters tomorrow.

    Comment by Kristen J — November 28, 2005 @ 9:58 pm

  3. We have the holiday tradition that my stepson gets obnoxious and my husband thinks he has to discipline (Ian is 29) and they have the obligatory pissing contest, clenching fists and yelling. This Thanksgiving we just ignored him and I kept eating and looked up and said, “Jack, knock it off.” And he did. I think they were relieved that I said something. One year I told them to take it outside because if they wrecked my Christmas tree I would beat them both up.

    I told my husband that he’s getting older and one of these days Ian will clean his clock and that will hurt everyone. He needs to just ignore him.

    That’s our tradition.

    Comment by annegb — November 29, 2005 @ 1:51 am

  4. Ya gotta love those family traditions. I think we have a few of those ourselves.

    Comment by Kristen J — November 29, 2005 @ 7:41 am

  5. “I thought this might provide some good entertainment for my family and me when we stealthily replace it with a 7-up can.”

    Sweet! Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a little bit of vandalism. I do hate Christmas, including the decorations, so I’d support whatever this guy has coming to him.

    Comment by Pris — November 29, 2005 @ 8:56 am

  6. I love Christmas! I haven’t lived in a “Christian” country in 14 years, so when you don’t have something, you learn to really appreciate it. I have to go on scavenger hunts to find Christmas decorations and work hard to establish any kind of Christmas traditions for my kids. We have put Chinese & Japanese new year decorations on our tree as ornaments, have a “Hello Kitty” star as a tree topper, and once my friend lied our way into an American BX to get Karo Syrup! Christmas is fun, you guys! You don’t know what you have til its gone.

    Have fun! Relax. Enjoy it! If it still seems too crazy, do what a lot of people I know do, just do away with Christmas cards, and tell people not to get you any presents (that way you don’t have to feel obligated to get them anything!)

    Comment by meems — November 30, 2005 @ 2:29 am

  7. You’re right meems. I sound like a spoiled brat! I know I’m going to have a blast once I get going. Now if I could just find those dang lights!

    Comment by Kristen J — November 30, 2005 @ 8:30 am

  8. I enjoy those quiet, cold December evenings when I get to sit by the fireplace with my wife and family and read from the scriptures (in particular the story of the birth of Jesus). I love those cozy memories!

    Comment by G Hinckley — November 30, 2005 @ 2:47 pm

  9. Ok, I found my lights and I spent ALL day yesterday hanging them and now they look beautiful!

    Comment by Kristen J — December 1, 2005 @ 8:47 am

  10. Well, on the assumption that simple traditions are good, and for what it’s worth, here’s what we’re doing for the next 2 FHE’s:

    1-Going to the mall, splitting up into two person teams, picking names off the Angel Tree, running around the mall buying stuff for the person who’s name we picked, then going out for ice cream. (It’s a bit of an eye opener for kids to see that what another child wants for Christmas is chapstick and some socks…)

    2-Playing a game that involves a timer, dice, and stealing candy from each other. Then playing bingo and the winner of each game gets to open an ornament that represents something that they have experienced or accomplished during the previous year.

    These two simple traditions usually un-Grinch my attitude every year!

    Comment by C Jones — December 4, 2005 @ 10:42 am

  11. How can you not feel better when you’re looking at Christmas lights? :-)

    Comment by meems — December 4, 2005 @ 7:54 pm