up with figs, snow
qotd, and around it goes

lacking in holiday cheer

I'm just not feeling it this year. What with the end-of-term madness and a lingering illness* and several freelance projects** and the kids and the expectations and the ... well. You get it.*** Just. Not. Feeling. It.

Working at my local bookstore helps, actually, because most of the shoppers seem pretty happy to be shopping. They have the cheer that I do not. I'm hoping for a contact merry.

Also helping are these. 


Torrone is an Italian nougat candy (in three flavors) that was always out at my Grandparent's house at this time of year. And if they didn't have it out, whichever Aunt hosting the big Christmas Eve seven fishes would. Given that I don't really like seafood, I made many a meal of these.


You can learn your monuments. 


And your famous Italians.****

But last year, due to a variety of circumstances, no Torrone. This year, however, I saw a box of the right brand in a shop in Seattle in August. Since the principle component of torrone is sugar and each piece is hermetically sealed in a wee foil pouch, the expiration date was in 2014.*****  

I broke into the box a couple of nights ago.****** While they are helping, I guess, I'm still far from ho-ho-hoing. I don't blame the candy, mind. 

So, readers, help me out. Those of you who do the Christmas jive, how do you find the spirit when it seems to be missing? 


* short version: a snot/sore throat/exhaustion virus that refuses to go away.

** which I am happy to have, mind, but that still need to be written.

*** Or I assume you do, if you are reading this.

**** I have a vague memory of boxes that had saints on them. This may or may not be a real thing. 

***** They weren't individually wrapped when I was a kid and the naked candy would be in the cardboard box. Every now and again you'd get one from the previous Christmas that was a challenge to chew. 

****** I'm glad I only bought one box. Otherwise, this would be known as the Christmas where Mom and Dad failed to fit in their winter coats.


Some years I feel it and some years I fake it. I find A Christmas Carol helps, as does the Year without a Santa Claus (I can't resist the Miser Bros.) or Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Rudolph, however, makes my head explode and must be avoided at all costs. YMMV.

Cutting back on some holiday stuff has helped me. No cards, no hosting dinner for the entire family, no gifts for adults. Almost no decorating (we have the evil kitten, after all.We don't want to set him up for failure.)

I don't blame you for not feeling in the spirit. It's a lot of work on top of what you already do, and have most recently done at the college. Plus not feeling well. Try to keep it as simple as possible.I'm also delaying freelance projects until after January, although I'll be chipping away at them in small amounts.

Remember, the first day of Christmas is Christmas day. You can mail packages in early January!

I finally caught the spirit last nite. It took awhile but it happened. Some years it doesn't, but if you want I can send what cheer I have your way.

Make a cup of coffee to enjoy while chatting/reminiscing with an old friend. (I know you're not much of a phone person, but it's worth a shot.)

Put on seasonal music you enjoy and bake.

Write some sweet, little notes to put on the kids' pillows -- if they get into the holiday spirit, maybe it will be as contagious as that cold was.

Ask the kiddos what they're favorite Christmas memory is -- they'll start with the presents (and that's fine), but ask them to keep going/delve a little deeper. I wouldn't expect (nor want) Hallmark, but maybe they'll surprise you with some fun, seemingly irrelevant detail that charms you.

Finally ... don't worry about Christmas. It's just a day.

You prompted me to open iTunes and play everything in my Holiday genre. That helps me. Otherwise, I just play it all very, very low-key. I blew the dust and cobwebs and cat/dog hair off the Christmas tree (we haven't taken it down from last year; it is in an out-of-the-way place in the house-- why bothers/) and might wrap some presents tomorrow or this weekend. No baking, the Christmas letter, always a big project, is written and printed and folded and stuffed, just need to lick the last few envelopes, and stamp them and take them to the post office.

Really, all I care about is that everyone gets a gift or three and that both kid--, er, young men come home for the holiday.

Normally, I love the holidays, but the last few months have been laden with stress, worry, and heartache. I'm taking a pass on the whole thing this year in order to take care of myself, and not feeling guilty about it. Of course, I have no children, which makes this choice easier ;-)

Honestly? Smell. The smell of either a fresh-cut Christmas tree or wreath is most likely to help me get into the Christmas spirit. This year is weird because we're now out in CA where winter looks a LOT different to winter in NH. If it weren't for the festive lights I'd have no clue that Christmas was next week!

I'm not feeling it since I have to make fruitcake (gift for my mom), but I can't eat any (too many migraine triggers in it). So I've decided to make gingerbread too - if I'm going to bake, I'm going to get something I can actually eat out of the deal.

The Carpenter's Christmas Collection. It would seem like an alto bulimic leading a choir would not make the holidays bright, but for me, Christmas isn't Christmas without Karen.

I concur on music and smells, but really want to push the Christmas-is-for-children angle.

Sometimes when I don't feel the cheer, I pull out old Christmas videos or pictures and embrace the joy on my much-younger-then kiddos' faces. They get into the recollecting, too, and then we're all giggling and having fun reminiscing. Sometimes the current holiday pales in comparison to past ones, but reliving the better moments can be cathartic.

I also find (though it's too late for you to do this for 2013), that planning way ahead and getting the shopping, cards, etc done pre-Thanksgiving allows for more time to coast and enjoy things closer to Christmastime.

And ... if nothing else ... soon ... Poconos! And even if there's not so much Christmas-related-festivity, there will be fellowship, and Beans, and weird leftover beers, and food, and hilarity, and walks around the lake.

You guys are great. Thanks so much. Still not quite feeling it but am letting that be OK. The kids are beside themselves with antic---pation and that is a little bit contagious.

A little late, but you might enjoy this doc: "Becoming Santa." It's streaming via Netflix and also available via Hulu. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PD7iFVSWZ0

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