Tim and I have had one of those rare weekends that we stayed home... alone. Doesn't happen often, and it is also the beginning of a week long vacation for Tim. YAY! Being behind after the trip to the kids, I finally got Halloween put away, and we decided to kind of skip over Thanksgiving and shift directly to Christmas. Tim has long since given up trying to understand my obsession with Christmas, and simply good-naturedly, indulges me. Between working on a craft I hope to publish tomorrow, I've slowly been getting out some Christmas wrappings. I must admit, my holiday preparations have been trimmed back the past few years as we've become semi-empty nesters, BUT I still love every moment of the holiday season, and can't seem to focus on anything else. Today I was reminded of a blog I wrote for One Generation to Another back on December 4, 2007. I hope you enjoy!
“You’re nuts,” she said.
“Yep,” I agreed.
“No, I’m serious. You have a problem,” she continued.
“I’m not arguing with you. You’re right,” I concurred.
“You should get help,” she belabored the point.
“Probably,” I acknowledged.
“Does look great in here, though,” she conceded.
“Thanks,” I said, as I continued to swag say, hmmm, at least a mile of evergreen roping on my living room rafters.*
She was referring to Christmas, or more to the point, my obsessiveness with the Holiday. I will be the first to admit I’m obsessive, but genetically speaking, it’s in my blood. My father was obsessive…just ask my mom; use to drive her to distraction. Didn’t matter what he got interested in, he obsessed. It could be his new stereo, playing bridge, collecting big band music, outwitting neighborhood squirrels or to her total vexation, “That damn computer!” Obsessive people totally get it when others become fixated on their latest interest, but non obsessive people (yes, I would go as far as calling them “normal” people) don’t understand how we lose the total capacity for rational and appropriate involvement with our most recent pursuits.
Case in point…my daughter, also possessing the obsessive gene, has recently become fixated on baby carriers, even after using them and making her own for several years. Undoubtedly, the general public would say it isn’t necessarily time well spent. This particular carrier is for her third child, she doesn’t plan to have any more, and her toddler will only be in it for the next couple of months, BUT, to an obsessive person, this doesn’t matter. Once bitten, all that matters is that she acquires information and an impressive understanding of the structural, historical, safety, and fashion worthiness of ALL carriers; past and present. She can identify which styles originated in Central America, the Far East, or with the Plain’s Indians. She knows which carriers are manufactured in this country, those hailing from China or Europe (ah, those elusive and highly sought after Scandinavian models), and those being sewn by half-crazed women trying to find ways of making money, while staying at home with their children. These women, btw, are the ones that she prefers to support, herself being a half-crazed women trying to find ways of making money, while staying at home with her children! Birds of a feather!
Anyway, most obsessive people could give you a fairly comprehensive list of their lifetime obsessions. For the non obsessive, let me explain that there are two distinct forms of obsessions. The first is what I refer to as “A passing fancy.” These are the interests that totally consume us for a time; you might say they are the spice of life, providing variety and interest, not sustenance. In days of old, these obsessions lead us to libraries and museums or taunted us to take classes and consult “professionals”. Today, the Internet has eliminated the necessity of moving from the comfort of our homes as a world of information is now available for the taking 24/7. If you live with an obsessive individual, you can wait for these phases to pass. Sooner or later, usually sooner, when we’ve acquired enough information to sate our curiosity and provide us with just enough data to be hence forth insufferably knowledgeable on the topic, we become bored and move on to our next fascination. The more diabolic of obsessions, which I refer to as “life long passions”, do not go away; EVER! These are seen in the guy next door that loses sleep because a mole has attacked his perfectly groomed lawn or the woman who would rather miss her child’s graduation than the latest issue of People Magazine. (Good Lord, how would you know whether or not Angelina Jolie’s new tattoo is written in Arabic or Swahili?) Then there is the guy who will play golf in a thunderstorm, or yours truly, who goes slightly (uh, slightly, extensively, why quibble over semantics, right?), overboard preparing for Christmas! (Ah, bet you never thought I’d get this back to Christmas!)
But there you have it. I totally and completely obsess over Christmas. (A book is required on that topic, a weekly blog simply won’t do!) But who can blame me? In my opinion, Christmas is the ultimate legal, feel-good, addictive drug. I love the colors (uh, my house is predominately red and green, so you kinda feel like you’re at the North Pole, even in August!), I love the smells, and I love the way people act. To quote Frank Cross in the movie Scrooged, Christmas is…”the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we-we-we smile a little easier, we-w-w-we-we-we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people that we always hoped we would be.” And that, my friends, justifies all the prep and planning. While preparing for Christmas, I enter a euphoric state. I think of how people will feel when they’re snuggled on the couch, wassail in hand, taking in the room. I can hear friends and family giggle as they unwrap gifts. (I wrap EVERYTHING separately…even dividing up pairs of socks into individual boxes…let’s face it, opening gifts is as much fun as owning what’s inside!) And I love how the child in all of us surfaces each Christmas Eve as we slyly scan the evening sky, still wanting to believe! And although the Holidays can stress us out, there is indeed something magical about the season. Strip away the commercialism, extended visitations with in-laws, and increased waistline girth, and the essence of the Holiday shines through, like the Christmas Star. Christmas is a time for all of us to be the people we always hoped we would be. Come on, obsess a little or a lot…it’s allowed, and in my opinion, desired!
*That year I hung EXCESSIVE amounts of greenery from the rafters, filling the room with not only the smell of the great outdoors, but enough allergens to keep us rubbing our red, itchy eyes throughout the month! BTW…Safety note…NEVER throw what amounts to a quarter acre of dried boughs in a fireplace and try to burn it all at once. This falls into the realm of scathingly brilliant mistakes and fodder for a future blog!