Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bah Humbug

Christmas 1980, I was 4 I remeber that dress well.

Christmas 1999

Christmas Eve at the Kilgor's house
Leland, Dad, Will, me, Mom, Holly, Brian, Kiran, Grandad

The box that the ring came in. (see below for explination)

How I feel today.

I used to love this holiday, I did. I remember listening to the Beach Boys Christmas Album on our record player in our Nebraska house over and over again. I was about 8 when we lived there and every day in December when I would get off the bus I would look eagerly to see if my Mom had gotten me a Christmas tree. I remember loving the gifts under the tree and especially in my stocking. My Mom always put an orange in all of our stockings to remind us that one year during the Great Depression an orange was all my Grandmother Anderson (Gram) and her 11 siblings got for Christmas and they were thrilled about it. I loved making butter cookies with my Mom, she had this really cool piping gun and we would make rows and rows of them. I remember getting so excited about the Frosty the Snowman special on t.v.
Even as I got older this holiday did not disappoint. Most years my Mom put a piece of jewelry in our stockings. One year she put a gold ring in all of our stockings to remind us of our Grandparents love for one another. That year my Grandmother Brownfield (affectionately known as Gramfield) was in a nursing home with Alzheimer's and her wedding ring was stolen, she only occasionally remembered her husband, so that year my Grandfather (affectionately known as Grandad) had a small wedding in the nursing home to help her remember that she was married. I am not much of a romantic, but that is one of the most romantic things I have ever heard of. Anyways, my Mom gave all of us gold bands in our stockings to remind us of this.
Every year my Dad would buy bicycles for kids who didn't have them, I would get to help deliver them. Every year we went to my Dad's partner, Dr. Kilgor's house, and we would have a huge feast and watch old Christmas episodes of Saturday Night Live or play trivia games.
I loved coming home from college to a Christmasy home filled with food and my siblings. We stayed up late, went to the movies, drove around looking and the Christmas lights, it was all great.

One year I lived in New York city and the Christmas season was amazing!! I used to walk down Park Avenue at night to Rockefeller Center to sit and stare at the tree.

I used to tear up just hearing "O Holy Night" especially at the words "fall on your knees" and "and in His name all oppression shall cease", I don't anymore.
In the past several years I have come to dread Christmas. It is beyond stressful to me. I just thought it was because of the circumstances, last year we had to drive 15 hours in treacherous weather with kids in the back fighting and whining the whole time and I was still in so much PAIN. The year before that I was pregnant, again in a ton of PAIN, huge, ugly, and uncomfortable. The year before that we had just moved here, so I was lonely didn't have time to decorate, and I was cold and alone at the gym without my trusty walking partner Melanie. (I have since switched gyms)

But what is my excuse this year? None of these circumstances apply and yet here I am, wishing Christmas was over. Here are just a few things I am stressed about:

1. MONEY!!! Christmas costs so much money and I am starting to think my kids are spoiled. 3 gifts aren't enough, it seems like 20 seems to suffice.
2. FOOD!!! I get so stressed around sugar! On a daily basis I don't eat it. I will indulge in the occasional sugar-free pudding or hot chocolate, but that is about it. During the holidays it is EVERYWHERE! I get stressed out just knowing I am going to have to double up my will power and strength to avoid it. Just this morning, I thew away an entire chocolate cake, I figured it was easier to have the will power to get rid of it once than avoid it every time I waked into the kitchen. It is 10:00 at night, believe me, I made the right decision.
3. Traditions. Am I making good enough traditions for my kids, as good as my parents did for me? Can you really top the ring in the stocking to remind you of unconditional and undying love? Can you really top a simple orange in the stocking to remind you that even a small piece of fruit can bring joy and happiness during our country's greatest time period of despair, that's practically as good as what the Little Drummer boy gave! Every year we take the kids to buy toys for each other and to get toys for the giving tree, but it just feels so forced and blah, it doesn't even seem like they get it. Maybe that is what my parents thought about us. Maybe when my kids grow up they'll be saying the same things about how their family traditions were so great and so were their parents, hard to imagine....., so until January, bah humbug.


Nathan and Sarah said...

I love Christmas, but I am stressed out about the food thing. I have been doing so well and I dont want to mess it up. I hate food. So I say bah humbug to fancy cookies and fattening food. I am sorry it is such a stressful time for you. That certainly would take away the fun!

JAG said...

Hill, I loved your post. I am crying as I write... I have those wonderful memories too. I remember that dress, the ring, the oranges and the bicycles.... (I did however always hate those butter cookies, still won't even touch them :)

Merry Christmas, can't even begin to tell you how grateful I am that you are my sister. I hope the stress subsides...

Kiran said...

Well hello Scrooge, you're in good company. I feel pressure to buy the kids things and I flip-flop about 80 times a day. The food thing, I wish I had a little more restraint. The memories, make me feel so homesick my stomach hurts right now. But seriously our lives are so great and this is happiest I've ever been.
I'm so lucky and feel like I've been having some great talks with Savanna about the meaning of the year.
As for a tradition , we're decorating a gingerbread housetonight with Girdaelli chocolates. Good Times! Cheer up girlfriend.