December Blahs and Humbug!
By Kathi Macias –
No, that’s not a misprint. I meant “blahs and humbug,” not “bah, humbug,” though anyone who knows me would be shocked to hear me say either.
I’ve always been the one to finish my Christmas shopping in July and have my 250 cards signed, sealed, and ready to deliver by Thanksgiving. The packages are wrapped and the house is decorated (inside and out!) by the end of November, and my oven goes into non-stop baking mode two weeks before the Big Day.
Well, okay, that’s how it used to be! Now? Not so much. I think my pre-Christmas regimen began to disintegrate when the last chick left the nest, more than fifteen years ago. Little by little, I found myself cutting back. I used to take such pride in adding one more special, dated ornament to the tree each year, but with the kids all gone and decorating trees of their own, what was the point? The only recent exception was the year my husband and I spent Christmas in Hawaii and I came home with a “Mele Kelikimaka” ornament to remind me of how wonderful it is to spend December 25 on the beach, sipping fresh-squeezed pineapple juice and not giving a thought to all the emails that were piling up in my unchecked inbox at home.
I do still put up a tree, of course, but we no longer go “over the river and through the woods” to chop one down. I simply pull it out of the box, fluff the branches out, add a few ornaments, toss some tinsel, plug it in, and voila! We’re good to go.
I confess too that I’ve resorted to gift cards for our ever expanding family. It was easy to shop carefully and personally for each family member when we just had our boys at home, or even after the first couple of grandchildren were born. But we’re closing in on almost twenty of them now, and it’s gotten out of control—not to mention that we almost never get what they like anyway, so gift cards are the perfect solution. And with each of our children now having to alternate holidays between us and their in-laws, I don’t even have to cook the big Christmas dinner as often.
I should be glad, right? I mean, December is so much easier now! Still, I must confess to missing that hectic flurry of activity that used to wear me out but also left me feeling so…satisfied. Fulfilled. As if I’d actually accomplished something. Can you relate?
Sure you can. The empty nest changes things. Life is simpler, I suppose, but a bit more “blah and humbug.” Don’t you think?
But it also gives me more time to reflect on what Christmas is all about. Family, yes. That’s such a big part of the celebration. But is it really the “reason for the season”? Of course not. And regardless of the season of life we’re in and whether or not we still have children at home, still bake Santa and tree cookies, still hang stockings, or still delight in watching our children’s eyes light up when they open their packages, we can celebrate the birth of the Savior and worship the One who sent Him to us. If we’ll stay focused on that, we won’t have to worry about “blahs” or “humbug.”
Have a blessed Christmas, dear readers—wherever you are!
Kathi Macias (www.kathimacias.com; http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com) is an award-winning author of more than 30 books, including her two most recent releases, Valeria’s Cross from Abingdon Press and Red Ink from New Hope Publishers.