Monday, November 16, 2015

I'm Starting Christmas Before Thanksgiving This Year and IDGAF What You Think

I’m putting up Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving this year, and IDGAF if you don’t like it.  Well, IDGAF is a little strong.  If I truly didn’t GAF, I wouldn’t be writing about why I’m doing it.   

I used to be like you, scoffing and sneering and decrying a culture that wants to usher in Christmas front and center by the first of November.  And I still do mourn the commercialism that drives the early start to the “Holiday Season.” I loathe Christmas music, except for the sacred stuff that’s no longer sacred to me, but simply beautiful.  When Gregorians chant in time to my windshield wipers on my rainy evening commute (please god all I want for Christmas is eight inches . . .  of rain before the first of the year).   When Rickie Lee Jones (and I) belt out “O Holy Night” while I slave over my famous (microwave) fudge.  When Kate and Anna McGarrigle murmur “Il Est Ne” a deux as I hit “buy with one-click” and scroll through what “other people shopped for.” When the Christmas carols roll out, I am transported to the few good memories of my childhood, when my family ruled the roost in the Episcopalian church choir loft.  

But in general, like you (I’m guessing here), I find a lot of the Christmas trappings trite and tiresome (always avoid alliteration).  I do judge the people down the street who already have that quilted replica of Santa wrapped around a tree in their front yard, the result of a single-sleigh mishap, pranked by his reindeer.  There are lots of things to make fun of, this time of year, lots of things that make us cringe -- hypocrisy, materialism, and plain and simple poor taste.  And I dislike them all the more for the effect that has on the good stuff -- it’s good stuff, man, and I want to get to it.  But the way we have fucked up Christmas these days make me want to bury my holiday lights in a bushel basket full of manger straw.   

This holiday season is different.  I’m in a new space, a good space, there’s no chaos, there’s no destruction, it’s not out of control.  I feel like it’s safe here.  I feel like my Christmas decorating could survive, even thrive.  I could put up a few plain white lights, tasteful, you know?  With a bunch of candles that smell like cinnamon and spruce.   I’m not going to cut down a tree, even though my friend the environmental expert, who has been to a week-long seminar in Florida with got-damn Al Gore, told me “It’s okay because Christmas trees are planted to be sustainable, so get out your axe and do your thing.”  No.  I’m getting a little artificial tree and it’s not going to be tacky, even though when I mentioned it, I got an eyeroll from The Gamer.   Right.  The arbiter of good taste.  Bitch, please.

I’m gonna make cookies.  I’m gonna lay in pounds of butter and bags of flour and sugar and good chocolate and nuts and just bake the fuck out of dozens and dozens of cookies.  And wrap empty Pringles cans with Christmas paper and lay those cookies in there with cupcake liners and take them around to all my friends.   Well, maybe not that last part.  That presumes that I have friends, or that I’m even willing to leave the house.  But I *am* making massive amount of cookies, and anything is possible.

I might even write a Christmas letter.  Yes, the dreaded Christmas letter.   In the past I shunned the Christmas letter, mostly because I was so jealous of the ones I got that I ripped them up without even reading them.  I couldn’t even begin to write one because of all the horrible things that were happening that I was pretending weren’t happening, and how hollow I felt inside when I thought about the lies I would write instead of the agony that was really going on.

This year is different.  I have some okay things to say this year, even though it’s awkward to talk about where I am now and how I got here.  I’m happy in a safe space.  I’m taking care of myself and my son.  I’m listening when I tell myself nice things, and telling that voice to fuck off when it turns mean and angry.  I’m working on a book and might get it published.  I’m planning to semi-retire and move to Mexico.  GOOD SHIT IS HAPPENING YOU GUYS.   Don’t pay any attention to those other assholes trying to wreck everything.   Nothing to see there.

Which brings me to the final reason I’m getting ready for Christmas before Thanksgiving this year.  I was thinking about this despite the Paris attacks, and the Lebanon attacks, and the Kenyan attacks and the daily violence against people of color in our own country that goes unremarked despite the brutal and pervasive injustice. In that context, it’s even more important to me.  I’m a person who shields her soft and tender heart with sharp and scornful self-deprecation and impatient intolerance for ignorance (alliteration alert again).    Right now, for the first time in a long long time, I don’t hate people.   I mean, of course I hate certain people, like ISIS and racist homophobic idiots and other wastes of oxygen, but the point is, I don’t hate the usual people in my everyday life.  I feel kindly toward other motorists, (well, except that broad in the Lexus SUV who WILL NOT YIELD when I’m trying to move over even with my turn signal on bitch I’m going to miss my exit).  I’ve been holding the elevator door for people in my building instead of surreptitiously punching the close button over and over. I feel like overall life is worth living, and people are worth the effort.  I know, right?  It’s like my whole life has been a lie.   

I told my son that I was putting the Christmas decorations up this week and he looked at me as though I had sprouted two heads.  “But, Mom,” he started to protest.  I waved him away with that hand thing that Drake does, you know the one.  “Do not get in between me and this feeling.”  I said.  “I don’t hate people right now and I want to make that not-hating-people feeling last as long as possible.  So Christmas starts right now and it doesn’t end until I say it does.”

So yeah, I will be that asshole with the lights up this week.  I will be the one writing that ridiculous Christmas letter.  MAYBE.  I’m still not 100 percent on that.  Maybe I’ll just send everyone the link to my blog.  (Can you imagine -- haha Merry Christmas jk).  I will be the one making a list and checking it twice.  And handing out five dollar bills when I leave the store even though I usually don’t carry cash.   I will be the Grinch whose small heart grew three sizes in one day.  Who let her guard down in the triumph of hope over experience.   

You know those people who should be shot?  You know the ones who roll up on, like, November 2, simpering, “Are you ready for Christmas yet?”  The same ones tell you when it’s Friday every week and ask you if it’s hot/cold/rainy enough for you.  Yeah, you know them.  And this year, I am looking forward to them.  Bring it on, good people. Come at me, bro.    Am I ready for Christmas?   Hellz yah, I’m ready.  You bet your sweet sugarplum I am.