Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It's Christmas. Again.

by Janis Patterson

Remember when we were children and it seemed that geologic ages crept past between one Christmas and the next? Now it seems that the pine needles from one holiday season are barely swept away before another Christmas is barreling toward us.

This year I’m soft-pedaling the holiday. We have no small ones at home (save for the furbabies, who really don’t care) and all our family get-togethers are at other people’s houses this year. Yea! I don’t have to decorate. Or even dust.

It’s not that I don’t have the Christmas spirit – I’m just tired. A publishing blitz of ten books in four and a half months, four new books written, freelancing and regular blogs, plus the normal things like family, friends, the day to day things of laundry and cooking and the rest… it gets exhausting. Add on Christmas shopping and wrapping and parties and it gets even worse. Plus I’m getting older. (I will have to admit that I have reached the cereal years – every time I move it’s snap! crackle! pop!) Somehow putting up wreaths and crèches and garlands and animated lawn ornaments – though they are beautiful – doesn’t really excite me this year.

The Husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I didn’t have a clue. I mean, there are the things we can’t do anything about, like world peace and more sales (lots and lots, please!) of my books (Please, Santa – I would like to earn back at least the costs of publishing) and for Microsoft to quit making us change every few months to new programs that are both unnecessary and overly complicated. Then there are the things I really want but we can’t afford, like a new Herman Miller Aeron office chair (which costs about the same amount as my first car) or an office/workroom built above the garage. We already have everything we need, and a lot of things we want, so this year we have agreed that while there will be a few little trinket packages for Christmas morning, our main presents this year will be our trips. We are planning a lot of trips in the new year – the FRW cruise conference in February, perhaps a trip to Egypt in March, a sometime trip to Vegas we won, NINC in October and Denver in June…

Oh, have I told you about that? The Historical Novel Society is a prestigious international association which is holding its conference in the US this year – in Denver in June, to be exact. And…. (drum roll) I have been invited to appear on a panel on “Egyptology and Elizabeth Peters.” You all know what Egyptomanes The Husband and I are, and Barbara (Mertz, aka Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters) was a friend. That invitation is truly a memorable gift.

While I love Christmas presents and parties and decorations, none of those are the true meaning of Christmas. There are those who can talk with much more eloquence than I about love, and faith, and grace, and all the other real things that Christmas means. Beside such cosmic truths poinsettias and reindeer and all the rest fade into insignificance.

So – this year I am going to try to be a better person, and keep the true meaning of Christmas in the forefront of my thoughts. I will be kinder and try to be a truly better person. I will try to treasure the things that really matter – family, friends, love, beauty and all the rest.

In one thing, however, I will remain the rebel – in gleeful defiance of the cleric Abu Musaab Wajdi Akkari (the one who said that wishing someone Merry Christmas is “worse than fornication, and drinking alcohol, and killing someone”) I will proclaim at the top of my voice “Merry Christmas to all!”


E. Ayers said...

Sounds like you have a lovely year of plans ahead.

I'm with you, Merry Christmas everyone! And considering today is the first day of Hanukkah, Happy Hanukkah, to all the followers of the Jewish faith!

Cathy Shouse said...

I'm definitely in the Christmas spirit this year, with decorations out early, although I'm not over-the-top with that at all. I even had a friend with a designer's eye come help me spruce things up and arrange the furniture better since the tree involved some juggling. When you mentioned "trinkets" under the tree, I felt a little bad for you, although I think many of us are scaling back. Then you talked about travel, which I love, and I was jealous. :) Egypt? How exciting! Merry Christmas to you!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

With Hanukkah and Christmas and New Year's, like you, my wish is always to be a better person. Also, more than ever I hope for peace in the world. More love less irrational hate.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I decorated but nothing like I used to do because I have to do it all myself. (Hubby just can't get around as well as he used to.) And like was mentioned, I'm tired from all the other things that I've been doing. Family comes here Christmas Eve, I'm doing a simple dinner. What I want to do this coming year is enjoy my family and friends more. And do what I can for those in need.

Sydell Voeller said...

I should follow your good example, but I still try to decorate, bake, and plan big dinners like I did in my 30s (and I'm twice that age now). The kids still want to come home...maybe one of these days I'll learn! LOL!

Morgan Mandel said...

I've been toning back each year, but do like to put up some decorations. The DH and I don't bother with presents to each other. We get what we need or really want at other times, so there's no need to worry about getting something for Christmas.

Loretta C. Rogers said...

With everyone getting older and the family shrinking, we decided to stop giving wrapped presents. Now we give the gift of each other by getting together, playing games, sharing laughter, a walk in the woods, driving around to see the Christmas lights, or even going to a movie. This year, instead of cooking, we're ordering from Publix. It's nice to relax and enjoy after so many years of hustle and bustle.