And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. ~ Dr Seuss
I’m feeling a bit Grinch-ish this year…..
For one thing, I live in a mall. Yes, indeed, in a mall. It’s one of those town-center malls, built to resemble a small-town of yesteryear, if said town had only been made up of retail stores and restaurants, that is. We love living here, mostly for the convenience of activities. The decorations they put up are gorgeous; the picture over there is of the tree which is in what I consider my front yard! I have not decorated the inside of the house, since I have miles of twinkle lights and a 75-foot tree out my window, thanks to their team of decorators. Not to mention live reindeer, horse and buggy rides, and strolling carolers whose route goes under my windows. But occasionally, and holiday shopping is one of those times, it is a bit of a pain. I fight the cars in the parking garage, the visitors driving around with no sense of where they are going, and the sudden increase in traffic on sidewalks and in lines around a place where most often space is readily available. Don’t get me wrong, I love that people support the stores here, especially the independent ones and, of course, my favorite bookstore. That’s what keeps this place afloat. But it does amount to about six weeks of fighting the holiday crowds.
This year, I feel like Christmas has already passed. Our post-Thanksgiving vacation was at a holiday-filled Disney. Carols, decorations, music, trees, hats, and holiday greetings filled every space and almost every moment of the week.We came home feeling as though we’d been through Christmas, presents and all, and were now on an extended wait for New Year’s Eve. That feeling is enhanced by the fact that, for the first time in many years, neither my husband nor I are taking any extra time off before or after Christmas. My husband usually takes the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and I try to manage several days away. Not this year. Thankfully our workplace is closed Friday and Monday for the holiday, so we get a 4-day weekend. But otherwise, we’ll be at work, preparing for the start of classes on January 3rd.
Another reason I think I’m lacking any real sense of Christmas is that I’m off my usual track of holiday preparations. Normally by now there would have been dozens and dozens (and I mean LOTS of dozens) of cookies made and most already given away by now. This year, I have not baked a one. Not one single cookie. I could not tell you the last Christmas season where I didn’t bake a single cookie. I made the Santa Hats for my office potluck, but that has been the sum total of my holiday cooking. What a strange rarity. Part of me feels the absence of those preparations, but I have to admit the other part heaved a real sigh of relief at having more time for other things this year.
So yes, grinch-ness is afoot. I’ve sent no Christmas cards (well, okay… I sent one card/present out, for it’s a special case), put no holiday music on the iPhone or iPod, baked no holiday treats, and donned no holiday garb. No decorations on the walls or doors, no presents wrapped and ready for travel.
It’s a strange holiday this year for me, no doubt about it — feels more like holi-daze than holidays.
How about you — holi-daze or holidays?