So, I googled retrospection to be sure it was a word and thought I found something called retrospection syndrome. Upon looking more closely I realized it said retrospection synonym, which proves I am on WebMD too much. This is my last new post of the year. Happy Holidays, everyone and thanks for all of your kind words of support this past year. You guys make it fun.
It’s Tuesday, December 23rd and I haven’t made my cards yet, but no big deal. It’s only 1pm and I don’t have much else to do today. Just the way I like it.
I used to, a long time ago when I was first married, make a huge deal about Christmas. Or rather, the BS attached to Christmas. Lots of decorating, buying gifts for everyone, and wrapping them up all fancy, curling the ribbon and all of that. Every year I would get super stressed out and having kids made it worse. One year, Greg said something to me that changed my life. Like every bit of it. I will paraphrase now since he said it so long ago I don’t remember it word for word. But he basically said that I worked so hard to make Christmas ‘perfect’ that I was pretty much ruining it for myself, and a little bit for him since he had to watch me run myself ragged and be miserable.
Light bulbs. Skies parting. Yes, focus on the important part and everything will be perfect. Nobody remembers how the gifts are wrapped. I don’t even wrap gifts anymore, I just bag them. Wrapping is a waste of my time, energy & resources. I am not saying that you are wasting your time if you love wrapping gifts. I am saying you are wasting time if you are doing something you hate because that’s what you’ve always done, or that’s what everyone else does. Just make your favorite part the very best you can. Applicable in all situations.
We still have deep held traditions in our household. We decorate a tree because I love doing that. I retell the stories of our special ornaments, like the Hickory Farms ornament. The kids make fun of me for using the same candy canes year after year & we joke about how many years it’s been. We hang the stockings that my Mom made for each of us. And we make candy.
One of my most prized possessions is a cookbook given to me by my Mom when I moved out on my own, “The Doubleday Cookbook”. This is the best cookbook ever and the only one I ever use. It tells you how to cook everything from abalone to zucchini. It has a recipe for every kind of cookie in the known world. And it tells you how to prepare squirrel. Enough said. This book is literally a family heirloom. In fact, when my daughter got serious with her previous boyfriend, I sought one out on eBay so that I could pass my copy down to her as a wedding gift and still have one of my own. I might give her the eBay one though. She is not careful with her things.
So every year, the four of us get together and make candy. They still live at my house, but it is no easy feat getting all of us together. And they get to hear the story of how I tried to make peanut brittle using the family cookbook when I was about 10 and how I burned the shit out of myself because boiling sugar is super dangerous and kids shouldn’t make candy on their own. I was a latchkey kid.
We used to make cards too, when the kids were younger, usually potato stamped cards. I don’t send cards anymore, but I do make special cards for my parents and Grandpa. It’s 2:30 now, so I should really get on that.
Happy Holidays, everyone! Enjoy them in your favorite way.