Are You a Bit of a Christmas Grinch Too?
or are you a Cindy Lou Who
Okay, I’m just going to come out and say it. I am going to admit this publicly. In writing. I’m a bit of a grinch at Christmas.
I’m not saying I HATE Christmas. I’m just…not really into it.
I’m not a big present person — I don’t like shopping (even online) so I don’t like buying presents (and I never know really what to get people either — the whole shopping thing — either in person or online just stresses me to the max). And I’m also not big on getting presents either. I could take it or leave it. I mean, I’m grateful for gifts, but at the same time, I’d be totally fine without them too. I’m not a hugely materialistic person. Not that I’m saying people who like to receive presents are! Just that… I’d prefer to do things than have things. I’d prefer to spend time with family — watching a movie or playing games, or maybe baking something yummy up, or getting outside and going for a nice stroll in nature. Or curling up with a good book, or writing a fun story. If Christmas was all about that, I’d be all in.
That’s what the last two days, post-Christmas have been. And it’s been wonderful. Like a wintery spa day (helped by the rare white Christmas we had this year and the snow is still sticking around). The presents are out of the way and my husband and I have just been relaxing and watching fun movies and TV shows (like the Christmas episode of the UK show Ghosts, and The Amazing Mr Blunden is a fun family flick), eating a bit too many unhealthy sweet and yummy treats, reading, reflecting and, of course, writing.
If it were up to me, though, if I was on my own, I’m thinking I wouldn’t bother with a Christmas tree. I mean, it looks pretty once it’s put up and decorated. But the getting everything out of the closet and all the decorations, and of course, having to take them all down again later? Ugh, no thanks. I usually try to wrangle my husband into doing most of the Christmas house/tree decorating. I don’t know why it feels like such a chore…am I a horrible person for feeling like this?
I know that, for many, Christmas isn’t a joyful time of laughter and amazing memories with hot chocolates by the fire (though there have been a few hot chocolates over the last few days with it being bitter cold here with minus temps celsius which is rare). Maybe it’s since my mom died 6 years ago on December 14th that the shine has worn off Christmas for me. But to be honest, I don’t think that’s totally it. It’s contributed to my bah humbug-ness, of course. Death at any time of year is never fun, but around the holidays, even less so. But I think even before that I couldn’t really be bothered with all the pomp and circumstance. All the presents buying and wrapping and lights and carols and cards.
OH MY GOD.
Am I really like Ebenezer Scrooge? Do I need to learn to keep Christmas in my heart all year round? I’m starting to sound like a right old Scroogey Grinch, aren’t I? But I don’t hate it, I really don’t. I just find it…draining. All this hype and build up to it for months beforehand and then poof, over in a day, or maybe two if you include Boxing Day.
My husband, on the other hand, at 53 years old, is more like Cindy Lou Who, who hasn’t lost his childlike wonder and love of Christmastime. He loves it all. He loves buying presents, giving presents, getting presents (notice the focus on presents). He highlights things to watch in the UK Radio Times Christmas edition and has specific plans for what we’ll eat for Christmas and on Hogmanay (that’s New Years Eve for Scottish people).
And then there’s a quiet lull in between Christmas and New Year. Something I’m relishing right now before having to go back to work tomorrow, where I’ll have to grudgingly (but also happily) take down all the Christmas decorations I put up around the office.
I think why I’m so Grinchy is because it’s just too overwhelming a season for me. Too many expectations. Too much self-imposed stress. I was stressing in the lead up to Christmas yet again this year, wondering if my husband would be happy with his gifts, even though he chose most of them himself (after 20 years together, he’s realized if he doesn’t want to be disappointed by my present buying abilities, he needs to actually tell me what he wants instead of me searching the ends of the earth for THE PERFECT GIFT and usually failing spectacularly, and causing me anxiety and an early grave in the process).
On top of the actual Christmas Day stress, there was also the grief of not having our dog with us, Penny, who we lost on December 15th this year (yes, the day after the anniversary of my mom’s death — fun times, Universe, thanks very much for that).
So yes, Christmas isn’t all chestnuts roasting on an open fire and Jack Frost nipping at my nose and if that makes me a grinch or female version of Ebenezer Scrooge, then so bet it. As Scrooge said in A Christmas Carol:
keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine.
It’s not the same thing for everyone. To me, I’m happy with a quiet peaceful time of reflection. A winter solstice-y or hyggelig (look it up) time where you think about the year that’s gone, and look forward to some resolutions (or not as my article here talks about) and what you hope for the year ahead.
What say you? Are you a Grinch or Scrooge? Or are you a Cindy Lou Who who just loves it all?
Originally published on Medium.