Festive Deficiency Disorder
Right I’m going to admit something that may make the general populous curl their lips at me in scorn, but it is the bare truth. I don’t feel Christmassy. December has arrived and I’ve got nothing. I’m buying gifts (cool previously loved ones that will rock my kinder’s world), I’ve got christmas themed school for the boys, we have activities to attend this festive season and I’m starting to get my act together re gift giving.
But the truth is I am a hollow shell, the vibe just isn’t there. The kids have started to nag me about decorating, Stephen mentioned (very gently) that last year was a bit spartan and that we could probably do a bit more bling this year, my friend’s houses are as festive as a festive thing. I’ve got nothing. No creative juices flowing, no bursting desire to craft home made advent calendars and hand made wreaths made from beautiful paper (my sister actually did this, she’s awesome), I have no Christmas mojo.
Maybe it’s my general level of disgust as things like Black Friday and the ravenous consumerism that surrounds the holiday season. Maybe it’s the fact that November basically kicked our family bottom with one illness or crisis after another. Maybe it’s the rainy weather and cloudy skies that have washed away the snow and left sludge in it’s place.
Reading this post by Erin Goodman today shed a bit of light onto my dilemma. In this season of noise, rush and buy, buy, buy it is easy to get overwhelmed. Even easier for me than most it would seem (I ticked 23 out of 25 on the highly sensitive test) and my reaction to that is to stop, shut down and block it all out. It’s not that I don’t want to be a festive machine it’s just that I really can’t. My brain is looking for a way out and a dark cupboard to lie down in, away from crafts, fun and neon related frolics.
As I look around at the internet and the real world, all decorated and ready for festivities I know there’s only one strategy. Fake it. I may not be feeling festive but the kids are so decorate we will, advent calendars will be purchased and gobbled, gifts will be planned and bought. But I’m a fan of Erin’s suggestion to go easy and to cut myself some slack if I’m not exactly full of zippety do da. It’s ok to be quiet, steady and gentle with it all; which is sort of ironic because I’m guessing those aren’t really words that anyone who knows me would immediately attach me with.
I am ready for a festive season of genuine sharing and closeness. I’m happy to go crazy with the glitter and tinsel the house to within and inch of it’s life, as long as we are doing it because we really want to, not just because the world says it has to be. So I’m going to make peace with the fact that my body clock always seems to be running on go slow around Christmas, that I will never have a house full of hand made gifts and decorations that I crafted myself from woven stalks of white chocolate hay. And, as they like to say these days, that’s ok.
I think I just prefer the bits of Christmas that reflect a genuine celebration of the season. Making gifts for friends, unearthing decorations we’ve had since long before the boys were born, making treats in the kitchen while the fire roars. Those are the bits I love. And I have to admit, as I listen to the excited Christmas chat from the boys and contemplate making up a big batch of peppermint bark to eat in front of the fire while reading all the festive books I snagged at the library, I feel my festive juices beginning to flow, the first tingle of a tinsel laden vibe.
Perhaps, as is so often the case, I just need to admit my feelings in order to make a change. By being honest about my lack of festive feeling I can open the door to this season of celebration, but I also need to be truthful about what brings me the most joy at this time of year. I may be a chatterbox of the highest order, but when it comes to Christmas my heart lies with the traditional and gentle celebrations of years past. It may not be neon, or bling, but it’s what I love.
6 thoughts on “Festive Deficiency Disorder”
I love your blog. Keep writing. Just like Nemo and Dory, just keep swimming, swimming….you inspire me to slow down. Thank you.
Thanks Lori! Yes sometimes just keeping on seems to be the trick, there are always calmer waters ahead! Dori is our inspiration ; )
So many things I want to tell you. First one is “You are fine like you are.” Have you read “Quiet”? It describes introverts (like us I would guess from your description). Another great book (less science, more rant) is “A Party of One” . (I love the sheep on the paperback version.)
The other suggestions come from reading your blog. You are creative. You cherish your home and family. I am guessing you have yet to figure out how to “do” the holiday season in your own style, your own way. Bling is not the only option!!! http://www.susanbranch.com/ http://thepaintedquilt.blogspot.com/
Susan Branch’s seasonal look is a mix of retro, creative, and what she loves (birds, old books about Christmas, old music). Kaaren at the Painted Quilt is really quite retro, ie 1890 style retro. My point is you will find it much easier to decorate, celebrate, if your actions mean something to you, give you joy in some way. And remember, the collections you see were accumulated over years!! You are just starting your first layer, so to speak, of decorations and experiences.
Remember, you are building traditions for you and your family to enjoy. You could read aloud from the same set of books (?Christmas Carol? ) each time by candlelight. You can make the same foods, foods only made at this time of year. Listening to seasonal music is a lovely quiet thing to do, as long as you pick the music!!!
Perhaps you could pick up some aspects of the holidays from your British childhood. This would bind your children to your childhood, and your folks as well.
I confess I am more and more shifting my decorations to celebrating snow. I love snow, love winter, and really do not get into putting things up and out for one month. So yes, I have a tree, filled with ornaments we have collected from vacations and crafts down thru the years. (I have gotten an ornament for each of our children each year, and mark their initial and the year on it with Sharpie) They each have a storage box, and the plan has been that they will have their own starter collection when they have their own family. This is fun.But much of the other things are more related to winter than to Christmas or holiday. They look fine for the next three months. But they still pass muster as decorations! Forget the bling, go the the authentic real heartfelt stuff, the stuff only you can determine brings you joy.
Hi Sandra, Thanks for taking the time to write all of this, such lovely and inspiring ideas. I think I need to find my way, as you say, to what it all means to me and focus on those bits. I know I’ll never fit in with the majority of the world, but that’s ok with me! Today we visited a recreated 1930’s town and experienced a lot of the sort of aesthetic you linked to in your comment. Not bling but very simple and lovely! I also love your suggestion of reading books by candlelight, what a warm and gentle tradition. So many great ideas, thank you for sharing your thoughts and festive wisdom! I hope that your holiday season is going well and continues to be just as you would wish it : )
Sigh, I’ve been suffering from FDD as well. Tired, over-extended, desperately wanting to feel festive, but unable to! I’ve decided that Sunday will be a slow day. Decorating – because I want to. No shopping. No stressing. Just hanging pretty things and finding some sparkle… I bet you’re going to have a most beautiful Christmas in your neck of the woods. Mostly because I’m assuming any and all farm animals will be invited into the house for Christmas dinner…
No shopping, no stressing, sounds perfect! You’ve had such a busy year I’m surprised your not in a coma! Christmas should be the time when we recuperate and gentle ourselves back into the new year. Here’s hoping for a stress free season, with lots of fluffy friends on…I mean around the table ; )