The more I think about it, the more reasons I find to dread the holidays.
All the expense, cleaning, decorating, and schedule breaking; baskets of extra laundry and jacked-up fuel bills. Stores decorated way too early and incessant commercials reminding us it’s later than we think. The snarled traffic, neglected work, crowded malls, and constant nagging feeling you’ve forgotten something or someone.
When the actual days arrive there’s a guarantee of failed expectations; the panicked melancholy of another year passed; a dictum of disappointment in what was not done or not done right. Empty chairs around the dining room table, which were filled just last year, haunt heavy hearts yearning to grieve, while besieged with urgent messages of how jolly they’re supposed to be.
With so much stress and strain, it’s easy to see why many hate the season.
Of course, there are a few good things too. Like a glistening home, made festive with red and green, with snow globes, and elementary school Santa Shop bric-a-brac; a living room temporarily dominated by a tree crowded with ornaments collected over a lifetime, each one a precious memory. A kitchen filled with the warm odors of once-a-year treats; the bad for you, but oh, so delicious goodies clustered on glass platters etched with idealized versions of Christmas Past. Cookies and milk for the Big Guy and carrots for his reindeer ¬— even though there’s no longer anyone little enough to count the leftovers in the morning. Garland, greeting cards, peppermint bark; jangling doorbells, glad jingle bells, and carols on the radio. Candlelit renditions of Silent Night at midnight church services, and everywhere the soft glow of tiny, bright bulbs that may be lucky enough to glint off a perfectly timed blanket of new fallen snow. Old smudged stockings hung by the chimney with care, and It’s a Wonderful Life ¬¬¬— yet again.
It’s hard to deny the charm of eggnog topped with nutmeg, visits with friends, and happy homecomings. Without the holidays I’d miss the breathless excitement at the crack of a sleepless dawn; the donations to strangers and gifts to loved ones that, while perhaps not much in and of themselves, explode with the joy of giving.
And then there’s the big, often noisy finish, propelling us toward the infinite possibilities of a New Year.
The more I think about it, the more reasons I find to welcome the holidays.
From our home to yours ¬— may you find peace, joy, love, and health during this holiday season and throughout 2013.
Susan Writer pens a regular column for fredericknewspost.com and is one of The Frederick News-Post’s Board of Contributors. She can be reached at email@example.com.