After all those hectic holidays, you have no idea how much I appreciate a fairly predictable December, ruled by my own festive routine. I used to believe that routine would be the death of my spirit. Now I welcome predictability as the unexpected antidote to maddening, unexpected December drama. If routine means boredom, but it also means no hysteria, emotional blackmail, manipulation or drama of any kind, then by all means, I’m good with being blissfully bored.
Making my own traditions
Since I’m an atheist and also not a family person, I picked, chose and adapted my own traditions over the years. I may not have lavish family meals, but I love cooking, baking and sharing good food with people I love. There’s something about that delicious aroma of holiday baking… it takes me right back to the good times of my childhood, when simple things were magic. The same can be said about decorating the Christmas tree. The good thing about being an adult is that you can quietly contemplate and enjoy the twinkling lights in the tree over a nice mug of mulled wine or perhaps a glass of red, if you’re feeling a bit lazy. Now I decorate my tree earlier in December, not just a couple of days before Christmas, the way I used to when growing up. I suppose it takes more to remind me there’s magic in everyday life… Oh, and let’s not forget one of my blogging traditions, which is to write at least one new lengthy December post and share more about myself.
Yes, I am one of those annoying people who take great delight in getting presents for their loved ones. I will get some stocking stuffers in December, mostly because I do enjoy visiting nicely decorated stores (it does annoy me that more and more start putting up their decorations in October) and I find some of the early December frenzy quite exciting (sadly it gets terrible as the month draws to an end). But I always get the bigger items earlier. Usually I come across a good present unexpectedly, something just speaks to me as the right thing for a certain person. Besides, I also love good bargains and sales, so why not think ahead when possible? I find that pre-planned shopping works well for more than just gift purchasing. I will religiously stay away from supermarkets and shopping centres at least on the 23rd and 24th, 21st and 22nd too if possible.
It’s not the end of the world
There is life after the holidays… hopefully. So what’s the point in acting as though it were the end of the world and only find delight in excess? There’s splurging and there’s going so deep in debt, that the new year becomes an unspeakable nightmare. There’s indulging in festive treats and there’s overeating all the way to the emergency room. There’s celebrating with a few drinks and there’s drunken stupor, overdoses and all sort of life threatening accidents. What’s the point? If reality is so unbearable that it needs to be buried under excess of all sorts, perhaps the problem is not December.
A time to remember
My good friend and I have this little tradition…Whenever we get to spend some time together in December, be it Christmas or New Year’s, we pull out old photos and reminisce about adolescence. We make a point of remembering the good moments too, not only the old ones. We share the same old stories, but it’s fun – knowing each other since were in middle schools means we’ve experienced countless stories together. This is also the time when we go through the main events of the year about to end. We’re not exactly the New Year resolutions type, but this works for us.
Not taking December too seriously
I once said I had a love-hate relationship with Christmas, but the truth is, that’s the relationship I have with December in general. Much as I try, there will be those times when I’m overwhelmed. And somehow, with all the extra pressure, being overwhelmed in December seems worse than at any other time. Perhaps it’s the end of the year… or perhaps it’s that stupid idea that it should be joy, joy, joy all the way. This is the time for those alternative Christmas songs – a year ago I told you all about the fuzzy robe electric toothbrush dance. Sure, I do like nice sappy Christmas songs, but sometimes in December there’s nothing more cathartic than an angry dance to an angry alternative Christmas song.
Those close to me
There’s nothing lonelier than to be with the wrong person(s) over the holidays… at least that’s what it’s like for me. I make a point of avoiding this kind of celebration, it always depressed me a lot more than being alone. I make an effort to be with and there for people I love, who care and appreciate me and who do the same for me. They deserve my attention and we make each other’s holidays brighter, sometimes simply by leaning on each other, by knowing there’s someone who understands. We don’t desert one another, but we don’t suffocate one another either.
Well, friends, this is my rough idea of doing December right. You however… you do what’s right for you. Have a nice December… and if that’s really not possible, have at least a bearable one!