Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Is for Giving In (An Apology in Advance)

Ask anyone who knows me...I am a sentimental sap. A couple years ago my mother was cleaning out some very old kitchen items - brown Tupperware salt and pepper shakers that must be from the 70's if not the 60's. They look like these:

"You can't get rid of those! We grew up with those!"

And I kept them. They are butt-ugly. I don't use them (well, they remain unused in my camper. They will be my camping salt and pepper shakers). I have nicer, more functional things. But I will not get rid of them.

Every family member knows to check with me before throwing something out. An old picture. A ratty quilt. A broken toy. Usually, I want it.

My memories are strongly attached to objects, and I am a highly sentimental, sensitive person. That's why it almost literally killed me when my parents moved. I seriously tear up when I think about someone else living in my house. Our handprints are in the cement. What if they ever dig up and repour their patio? (I wouldn't want someone else's kid's handprints in my yard - why should they?) The thought gives me chest palpitations.

That brings me to holidays. As you can imagine, I am pretty sentimental about holidays. I like things they way they always have been. I want to use the same spoon, sing the same songs, eat the same thing, do the exact same thing I have done my entire life. It's comforting. For me, these things are the little traditions that I associate with Christmas.

Enter marriage.

Ten years ago I permanently entwined my life with another person who brought along his own set of expectations, sentiments, and traditions. We have managed to evolve and create some our own traditions. But it gets really tricky when we start adding other people in. Like extended family.

And I become this stubborn brat that has to have everything my way.

"We do the big dinner on Christmas Eve, not Christmas day."

"Santa always puts the stockings here."

And it goes on and on. Let me tell ya, I am a real peach to celebrate holidays with.

Growing up, we never shared holidays with extended family. It was just my parents and my brothers and sisters. I guess I really never learned the art of celebratory negotiation. And I am trying to now, I really am.

It's not Christmas without a live nativity with towels on your head. Christmas 2010.

Some people just don't always seem to care. And I do. Like, a lot. Like, more than I should. And I know that. Christmas isn't really about using the same cranberry dish every year. It won't kill the holiday to eat something different and try a new recipe (ok, I am seriously having a mini anxiety attack as I type this, but I know it is true in my heart, even if my sentimental pea brain is resistant).

So to my ever-accommodating extended family members, please be patient with me. I really am trying. If something doesn't matter to you, perhaps allow me an indulgence. I will do my best not to be so self-centered. I promise to give-in more and complain less. Because Christmas is more about love, sacrifice, and gratitude than the silly things I get hung up on.


UK Yankee said...

I knoowww!! I know, I do the same things too! And what's worse, I married a guy who starts the countdown to January 2nd as soon as the first carol plays on the's sooo hard to compromise, but I know I should. I owe my husband the same apology...

Have a wonderful Christmas, from one tradition-fanatic to another! :)

Emily said...

I could have written this post...

Heather Burke said...

Oooh my word, we must be twins ha h. I thought I was the only one who felt this way. Was starting to think I was being crazy. I am so glad I came across your blog, you have great ideas and writing.

Liz Smith said...

i sooooooo understand! Believe me! When you typed out 'mini-anxiety attack' i thought to myself, "yep, i TOTALLY understand!" lol

Debra said...

I am so this way! I am really lucky that my husband is NOT sentimental and we do my traditions most of the time but I know that I can be really unfun, especially on the 4th Of July.


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