I’m sorry, but this year, I have found Christmas to be extremely boring. Everything this year is the same as it was last year and all the previous years before it. The window displays in Manhattan’s chic department stores are boring. Bryant Park is set up the same this year as it was last year. The Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall are kicking up their legs to the same dance routines that they did last year. The holiday music on the radio is the same music they played last year and the year before that.
Fox News is still doing their ‘Merry Christmas’ cat call over the ‘Happy Holiday’ routine. I’m bored to tears with Christmas advertisements on TV. Really….is this truly the December to Remember car sale? Who the heck buys someone a car for Christmas? I’m tired of hearing about the dangers of Black Friday sales, Cyber Monday deals and steals. I’m sick of the holiday movies on the Hallmark Channel. They’re all the same: boy meets girl, boy and girl fight over holiday differences, then a ghost appears in the middle of the night showing said girl what life without Father Christmas would be like, so girl wakes up on Christmas morning all bright and fresh and ready to forgive and forget, adopt a poor abandoned child while calling up her long-lost mother and asking for forgiveness. Or some other pathetic, boring, redundant Hollywood movie script like that. (that’s always filmed in the summer with oodles of very fake snow!)
Can’t anybody come up with something new and different this Christmas Season?
Then there are the news stories about the ACLU suing some public school because one of the students wanted to sing ‘Oh Holy Night’ on the school campus. Or one parent objected to the word “god’ being uttered on public property. Which opens up a public discussion and hushed town meeting debating the red line of the separation of church and state. You can watch the film at eleven on your local town news broadcast.
And let us not forget to discuss GUILT. Oh there’s a lot of guilt going around these days. As in my own daughter sending me an email AND a list of things that I better buy my one and only granddaughter. Or else. I find it almost laughable that my daughter married a self-proclaimed atheist (we can’t utter the name of ‘God’ in his presence) yet the two of them celebrate the whole nine yards of Christmas. Duh?
I don’t know about you, but I literally can not afford Christmas. It started off very subtle a few years ago. As our income dropped (going on four years now) we decided to cut back on holiday spending. First we stopped sending out Christmas cards because we couldn’t afford the stamps. Then we put up less and less holiday lights because we couldn’t afford the increase in our electricity bills. The next year we streamlined our Christmas Eve meal. Did we really need to buy and serve seven different fish dishes on Christmas Eve? Why not serve just five? Or four? Now, we’re down to three. Ditto for Christmas Day. Did we really need to eat Prime Rib? Or Filet Mignon? Or Baked ham? Or lasagna? All at once?
Four years ago it was mutually decided that since none of us could really afford to buy each other gifts, we would stop doing so. It was a gradual decline. At first we limited gifts to a $50 each price tag. Then the next year it was $25. Then $15 or a gift card. Then just to Dollar Store stocking stuffers. Now, it’s zero. Nobody buys anybody anything in my house. Yet, I still have to provide (and pay) for five days worth of meals (including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) since that’s how long my kids are with me during the holidays.
I do get some sort of a break every other year. That’s when my kids alternate and go to their in-laws. And get showered with gifts from their ‘other’ family. Who still celebrate Christmas. The money my kids save by not buying DH and I gifts, they use to buy their ‘other’ family bigger and better gifts.
Every holiday season, DH and I find free things to do. There’s the Town lighting of the holiday tree (same tree, same lights), the free holiday concerts (same singers, same songs) at some of the local churches, the holiday craft fair (same knitted mittens and hats and self-decorated tree ornaments), mansion tours (same interior designs) historic sights (same free cheap cookies and stale coffee).
Well, you get the picture. I’ve done it all! Is it any wonder why I am finding Christmas to be boring?
This year I am celebrating Christmas by not celebrating it at all. I’m not going to any holiday events, holiday parties or holiday plays. I’m not going to any free holiday celebrations nor am I buying tickets to see A Christmas Carol, A White Christmas or The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. I not baking any cookies nor buying any holiday goodies. I’m not going to Manhattan to see any holiday decorations or the same, stupid, holiday tree at Rockefeller Center that some stupid farmer in New Hampshire decided to cut down (for a huge fee) so that tourists can look and gawk and then the tree gets thrown away two weeks later. I’m not listening to any more holiday music or boring songs of ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ or ‘Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer’.
I haven’t put up our same, boring, plain, fake Christmas tree with the same boring Christmas balls. There are no lights outside my door or in the windows. There are no presents to wrap. No postcards or holiday mail to open. For the truth is, if I don’t send out any holiday cards, I don’t receive any holiday cards. Except from my insurance company who wants to thank me for my annual business. I’m not hanging any holiday stocking on the bannister this year because no one wants junk from The Dollar Store anymore.
Come Christmas Day, DH and I will be doing what we should have been doing a month ago. We’ll be packing up our car with flip flops, shorts and straw hats and heading down to Siesta Key Beach. Why we hadn’t left sooner is beyond me. I’ll be popping the audio version of Bill O’Reilly’s ‘Killing Jesus‘ into the audio track, and off we go! Within a few hours I’ll be sitting on the beach, sipping a Pina Colada and the thoughts of holiday jeer will be long gone out of my head. This is going to be the last year DH and I can rent the condo from my sister (as we have always done previously). My sister has permanently moved down to Florida, as has my brother (fifteen years ago). So, her condo is going up for sale since she now has bought a permanent home.
My siblings all celebrate Christmas at the Country Club. You know, where you dress up pretty and sit down to a luxurious meal that someone else has prepared. And then it is all served up to you neat and gorgeous. And then they all remove the dirty dishes away from your line of sight so that you can sip a brandy in the library room. While watching the sun set over the golf field (that of course, none of us play).
With the elimination of a rentable, affordable family condo (the prices to rent elsewhere are obscene) I know it’s time for DH and I to make a move. I’m torn between my brother & sister in Florida and my children in New York. My brother just turned 70 this past year and my sister turned 60. How many more years will we have together? So, I am eliminating the beach house from my portfolio (I already called my broker and put it up for sale) and once I cash it in, I’ll be buying a place of my own in Florida, near my sister and brother. This boring Christmas made me realize it is time to make a change and get some excitement back in to my life. From this second on I am splitting my time between Florida and New York. Period. My family will get equal parts of me. But best of all, I won’t be living a boring lifestyle for one more second!
Merry Christmas to me! I’m giving myself the best present ever. The gift of life. A boring-free life.
And so my beat goes on.