I first got wind of a new emotional mental hug back in September. “Karen, what the heck is this?” I ask the helpful Walgreens beauty clerk as she dashed past me.
“Oh, that is a Halloween tree, wanna get one for John?” Natural born sales person that is she, Karen stood beside a black plastic five foot Christmas tree all a glitter in purple and orange lights and smothered in skulls. Karen did her best pose something like you see on The Price is Right, as she pointed out it’s usage.
“Realty check, why do we need a Halloween Christmas tree?” I ask, I was not amused.
“Not CHRISTMAS, it’s a Halloween BOO tree!”
“Booty is all I hear when you said it, and who ever came up with it needs a kick in the booty.”
“Nope, think Cheryl, it’s a mental hug, a crutch if you will for people who can’t wait for a Christmas tree, or people who hate Christmas and loved watching The Nightmare Before Christmas one time too many.”
“Well all I have got to say is if I really wanted one, I could have bought a fake Christmas tree this summer when Salvation Army has Christmas in July and sells all their holiday stuff for next to nothing. That, and a can of black spray paint, cheap tree, less than half the price of this.”
“You are no fun, where is your spirit, your ready to jump into the holiday line up attitude, for you, for John?”
“Don’t have one.” I slumped out of Walgreens with a big bag of Depends and no holiday tree.
A few days later I got a phone call. “Oh my word, you have got to drive down Maple this afternoon, my neighbor has a Christmas tree up in her yard! We haven’t even had the first frost, the leaves on my Maple tree are still green and she has a tree in the yard!”
“Is it black?”
“NO, it’s a normal real Christmas tree, and it’s wedged between a witch and a scarecrow.”
“Well maybe it’s a tribute to some off Broadway play she knows about that the rest of the South is ignorant of it’s existence.”
But no, it was getting ready for Christmas tree. I know because I read her facebook post about needing the Christmas tree to feel better. The comments that followed made me sit back and take a long look at what we do to ourselves and to others from September to January, also known as the months of reality and depression.
We hide our needs in Christmas ideas. As soon as possible, and this year a lot of people thought that was before Halloween, folks bring out the big tree and all the trimmings. I have noticed via tweets and facebook post, that people use this holiday cheer as a hope that everything in life is perfect, and if not, hiding in the Christmas spirit will be a cure all. One person said, “Don’t hate on me because my yard is already Christmas, I need it emotionally, seeing Christmas lights make me happy and help me feel better so yea, it’s October, but it’s my life.”
Boom, January will come. That worries me, not because I am living in the security blanket of Christmas cheer, but because so many people are. I have noticed people spend a lot of time posting photo ideas of decorations to Pintrest. They read recipes for canopies they never quite get made, but just know will be perfect when they go to that party they have yet to be invited to. There is almost a magical magic madness that says if you bake enough cookies, deck enough halls, send enough Hallmark cards that your life will spin into a perfect Lifetime movie and everything will fall into place. Boom, January will come. And that bothers me.
What will these people feel when they don’t get a picture perfect white Christmas? What happens when the bills come due, the leaky bathroom sink still leaks, and your hours are cut now that the holidays are over. Reality hits the fan.
If you are using a happy holiday to help cope with life, if Christmas means Hallmark card photos and Rockwell families, might be time for a reality check. Start today to scale back on the high personal expectations you have placed on yourself and let go. If you just know that everything will be perfect if you have a prefect day, let it go and deal with the day as it comes. Dial it back a few notches and do what you can when you can with the people you care about the most. Best of all keep the spirit of Christmas alive in your heart all year, with random acts of kindness, reaching out to help someone in need and making cookies in July. Learn to live and love everyday as special, then when special days fall flat in expectation, you will be okay.
I am off to find a lost Christmas village I put away somewhere last March. If life keeps going as it has for me lately, I’ll find it in January, but it will still be placed on the mantel, I owe it to a few family members to keep them guessing about my sanity.
What do you think?
Latest posts by Cheryl Bailey (see all)
- A View in the Mirror : Why I Don’t Light it Up Blue, But it’s Cool if You Do - April 9, 2015
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- Navigating Public Places with a Child with Special Needs | An Open Letter to Rude People - September 10, 2014