The Grinch who was bored with Christmas
There is too much guilt in the world. Still, I have a propensity to make myself more of it.
Lately, I've been feeling guilty about holidays. Days that are supposed to be celebrations filled with joy and fun fill me with dread and anxiety. I bet I'm not alone.
Holidays often catch me off guard. I'm busy living my simple and ho-ho hum life when — bang! It's a national holiday, the kids are off school and I was supposed to bake a cake.
At this time of year, my angst is exponentiated, or at the very least, multiplied. I can't bring myself to get hyped for the holidays. My family has gone so far as to declare me a Grinch, which makes me feel so much better about the situation.
I begrudgingly accept the title because I truly am lacking in the department of holiday spirit.
I don't have time to bake cookies, let alone decorate them with multiple colors of homemade frosting and candy sugar sprinkles.
I'm no good at keeping secrets, so the kids always know about their presents ahead of time.
I dislike shopping and go to great lengths to avoid crowded malls.
I prefer talk radio over holly-jolly Christmas carols.
Red and green have never been my wardrobe colors of choice.
I see no rational reason to use valuable time to pull out a bunch of lights and decorations to doll up the house only to take them down one short month later. Ditto that for indoor garlands and bedecked fireplace mantles.
And I've never been able to embrace the dead tree in the living room thing. The tree nearly puts me over the edge. Every year.
All around me, people and families and neighborhoods and towns are jubilant with their Christmas preparations and jolly holiday spirits. They sip eggnog and deck the halls with beaming smiles and overflowing ho-ho-hospitality.
I used to try to compensate for my deficiencies, but the only person I fooled was myself, and only a fool does that year after year. Over time, I've come to terms with the fact that I stink at holidays — all of them, not just Christmas.
For years, I lamented my ineptitudes and wished I could be like everyone else, enthusiastically embracing holiday happiness all while wearing a blinking Christmas sweater.
Then, this year, I had an epiphany. I'm not holiday-intolerant. I'm just easily bored.
The same tree with the same decorations in the same corner of the same room may be filled with nostalgia and warm fuzzies for some, but not me.
I guess I'm too pragmatic to be festive.
But that doesn't mean I don't enjoy this time of year. I just enjoy it in a different way from some (most) people. I do like eggnog and spending time with my family (not necessarily in that order). I enjoy giving gifts (even if everyone knows what they are getting ahead of time). I appreciate the true spirit and meaning of the season.
And, although I may not be filled to the brim with holiday cheer, I wouldn't mind a cup of one.
This year, I even decorated a little. I hung the stockings, which I guess qualifies as a bedecked fireplace mantle. I got some poinsettias and a pine-scented candle to up the ambience. I even hung a wooden plaque that proclaims "We believe."
Maybe I'm not a total Grinch after all. Who knows, maybe next year I'll even bake cookies.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.