Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Being sentimental is a lot of work...

A tradition that will never die! The mandatory family photo before gift opening...accompanied by a level of incompetent camera operation  that first makes us cringe and eventually makes us laugh.
So – we had a good Christmas time. I really enjoyed it this year. I guess it seemed like a breeze compared to getting ready for a wedding. And the wedding had gone so well that I was full of satisfaction as Christmas time started, and nothing could go badly enough to wreck that sense of good will.

Being of good will, and also tired, I had a much more relaxed outlook on what I expected of the holiday season and I learned a few things. The most important truth that came home to me this year was that being sentimental is a lot of work. I determined to cut back on that. All these “But we always have…” and “It has to be on…” and “But our favorite things must all be present or it isn’t Christmas”…sentiments really stress me out! Oh yes – there are some things that should never change, but there are a lot of things that don’t matter a whit. And I put a lot of effort into them…What for? 

I got to contemplating this a year or two ago when my mom mentioned, at our family Christmas party, “…and I have the flashing lights out!” She said it so triumphantly that I had to query…”Oh – what for?” “Well -- I always have some flashing lights on when you all come for the party!” Uh—sorry Mom, I never noticed. 

Poor Mom…all that work to maintain a tradition that we were unaware of. 

Anyway, that got me to thinking about some of the things I made sure were done just the same way every Christmastime…even when it was pretty hard to accomplish…and took note as to whether there was any evidence that anyone else noticed. If I doubted it, that “tradition” was done – and few others that I found especially obnoxious were jettisoned as well. 

It’s so freeing to not be sentimental!!! I mean, what did I think was going to happen if we didn’t put all the kids old ornaments on the tree?? Would none of us have any fun if they were absent from the branches? I know that I would have MORE fun if I didn’t have to find places for them all…and still for years I fussed over them.  

And I have to say that this whole “let’s give the kids an ornament each year and then they will have enough to decorate their own tree when they move out” ritual sure backfired…No one wanted to take their ornaments when they moved out. The little bears and snowmen and trains and angels just didn’t fit any theme tree they decided to create. So the ornaments stayed at my house, and my tree was perused for these themeless wonders…. And they would report an absence if I hadn’t put all of them out. 

Well, let freedom ring! Let the white dove stay in the box of kid ornaments that is stashed in a closet waiting for little grandkid hands to lovingly destroy! They don’t fit my theme anymore either…My theme is “guiltless”!  

I think I’m going to have to admit that sentimentality has just a little bit (or maybe a lot) of superstition in it. Just like the guys who don’t shave, or always wear the same socks, or do the same ritual before the game, we have to do the same rituals to win a Happy Christmastime. We don’t dare stop because what if that little action is what our victory hinges on… 

I decided to go on faith that a Happy Christmastime, and a Happy Life don’t hinge on superstitious sentimentality. I dropped some rituals, and didn’t even wait for the other shoe to drop. And nothing bad happened! Even though we had turkey dinner leftovers, and then pizza, on Christmas Day, we had a wonderful time together. 

No one even asked where their ornaments were…{insert wink, and satisfied smile}. 

Now I can’t wait to jettison some more sentimentality during the rest of the year!


The Beadtriss (aka Krista) said...

After all its more about family and those you love than traditions. Great post! KK

Ridgely said...

YES! Christmas is a season for rejoicing not to obtain some woman's mag version of the "PERFECT HOLIDAY"! Sentimentality has a place, but it's not on the throne...and we get to dictate what it involves, not the other way around. Proud of ya girl!

Tami said...

Good for you! Christmas still happened at our house even though the stockings never were hung. Santa left gift bags, it worked. I'd like to give up some of the traditional foods and did cut back this year. Next year one kind of cookie and I'll take on tamales.

Wonderful family picture!

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life (leslieisverbose.blogspot.com) and one where I can vent. (leslievents.blogspot.com)