Confession Time

I have a confession.

I hate Christmas.  

Well, okay, I hate Christmastime. (I’m definitely not at Scrooge level by any means!)

Well, until this year.

christmas, holidays, colorado, denver zoo

Because of my childhood and subsequent lack of real family, Christmas has never been an enjoyable time for me really. I did often have friends who invited me over so I wasn’t alone, but I don’t think they realized how painful it really was.  It’s hard to sit in someone’s home while they are surrounded by their family sharing stories, reminiscing, etc., as you sit there painfully being reminded how you really have no family.

Tigger’s 1st Chrismakah

When I first started having children in my home over the holidays, that made it a little better. It’s hard not to smile at their excitement as wrapping paper flies into the air in several directions at once. But it was still difficult to try to be all cheery and smiling when inside I was just wanting to sleep from the day after Thanksgiving until Dec 31st.

Then there are all the freaking TV commercials that drive me insane! The US is already big on consumerism, but around the holidays it’s a spending orgy, and it makes me ill.  All the focus is on buy, buy, buy, while at the same time others are complaining about how many of us prefer to hear “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” because, well, sorry, but there are a LOT of other holidays that occur in December besides the allegedly Christian one.

And before you get all hot under the collar, I’m not poking at Christians. If you’re Christian and I know it, I’ll make sure to say Merry Christmas to you.  If I know you celebrate Channukah, you’ll get a Happy Channukah! But if I don’t know what, or if, you celebrate this time of year, I’ll choose to be more inclusive and wish you Happy Holidays! so that I’m honoring you rather than trying to stuff my personal belief and celebration down your throat.

Not that I have a strong opinion about it. *cough*

Having my own “forever family,” I decided to create our own traditions rather than just force mine on them or just adopt whatever they were already used to.  So over the years we’ve created our own Chrismakah with our own traditions together.  We generally celebrate it on the winter solstice, but at home we lit the menorah during Channukah, and then the tree went up.  We open presents on the solstice but do stockings on Christmas Eve.

It isn’t that I don’t want to like the holiday season. After Thanksgiving we always watch the original animated version of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.  Regulars every holiday are Elf, A Christmas Carol (with George C. Scott), About a Boy, and I always watch Love Actually.  I give it my best shot.

But travel has really changed things.

Last year for Chrismakah we were in Utila, Honduras, a very small island in the Caribbean. Only a few Christmas lights, only fake Christmas trees (and rarely seen), no carols, no “traditional” Christmas candies or cookies or other treats.  It was the first year I wasn’t baking up a storm. I was barefoot and wearing shorts while Tigger trotted along with even less clothing when usually we’re wearing at least a couple of layers, gloves, etc., in December.

This year, of course, we’re on a small oasis in Africa. As you can imagine, there is NO sign of Christmas here.  We left the oasis and went to “the big city” (Agadir) to celebrate Chrismakah, as well as new beginnings, and they had a tree in the resort’s lobby.  In the Moroccan version of Walmart there were some decorations for sale and even Christmas-themed wrapping paper.  C’est tout.

And I really missed it.

I still don’t miss those freaking irritating commercials. And Facebook has made sure I don’t miss out on the annual “put Christ back in Christmas vs Happy Holidays” argument.

But I miss the lights, the music, the foods (I might wet my pants if I find candy canes for sale), and the general excitement in the air.  It really is a magical time of year.  I can see that now.  So next year we’re planning on spending December in Europe on our own “holiday market tour” to get fully immersed in the holiday spirit.

Maybe travel is turning me into a nostalgic softie after all.

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  1. Christmas is the best day of the year, it is all about giving, forgiving and love. That’s why you can’t help being a “nostalgic softie”.

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    • Well, mostly I’m into the lights, music, and generally jovial spirit. 🙂

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  2. I appreciate anyone who despises the crassness of the hyper-consumerist season that Christmas has become.

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    • It truly is disgusting. I appreciate the holiday time so much more when I don’t have to experience it in that manner.

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  3. Love your notion of “Chrismakah”, and on the Winter Solstice too! Dec 21 has always been my most favorite day – if only ‘cuz it the turning point of the year when the days stop getting shorter – and start to get LONGER – yay!

    And yes, yes – yay! too, for your “It really is a magical time of year.” as I’ve been lately reading a lot of bloggers who seem to be down on the whole holiday. After all, it’s only a money-grubbing thing if you let it – if you buy into all that crap. But I guess some just have (sadly) lost touch with the childhood “magic” of twinkly Christmas lights and, yes – peppermint sticks hanging on the tree.

    g-knows I too have had to adapt my holiday traditions over the years, but whenever possible, I try my level best to infuse this time of year with a bit of “magic”. Amazingly, I managed to find strings of bitty twinkly lights (in purple, white and blue) here in Vietnam, and each evening when it grows dark, my porch (and tiny tree next to my bed) lights up the dark with a little bit of magic!

    Shoot, I even have some Danny Wright piano christmas tunes I can blast from my portable iPod speakers – and… [insert drum roll here…] I even tucked my childhood christmas stocking into my backpack, so I can hang it up on Christmas Eve! (I of course, will fill it myself with whatever chocolate and sweets I can lay hands on here).

    In any case – wishing you and the Tigger – boatloads of PEPPERMINT STICKS there in Morocco this year!

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    • Those other bloggers just say that to generate more traffic to their site. I’m not into playing that stupid game, even if it means less traffic. LOL

      How cool you have a little bit of magic with you of your own. That’s really awesome.

      Alas, no peppermint candies in this part of Morocco. Hopefully, we’ll find some in France next month.

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  4. Christmas in Europe next year will be AMAZING!!! So smart of you to make your own traditions together. We are home and have the opposite – previously Christmas freaks buying all kinds of crap and now we won’t even step inside a store with all the junk they are selling!! The kids suggested we don’t do presents!! Unheard of!! But super nice that they just want us all to be together. Travel definitely changes you for the better! Ya big softie!!

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    • I definitely don’t miss the consumerism orgy. The lights, the food, the music, being with friends and loved ones are the magic of the season to me. The consumerism part can bite me. LOL

      How cool they didn’t even want presents! Wow. Are you sure they aren’t really aliens?

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  5. Ah! I am totally with you about the candy canes… I looked everywhere in Costa Rica last year to make our traditionnal peppermint bark and we were so bummed not to find any… I love celebrating Christmas away from home, but I agree that it doesn’t feel like Christmas without a little baking and decorating…

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    • I’m surprised they didn’t have them in Costa Rica! Figured with all the Americans down there. . . And now you’ve made me hungry for peppermint bark. LOL

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  6. Nothing wrong with being a nostalgic softie. We’re still at *home* in the US for Christmas this year, but it will not be celebrated with extended family as has always been the case. It’s just going to be our family of 4, and some adopted family we’ve met this year. Looking forward to creating new memories and traditions.

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    • Always fun to create new traditions and memories.

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  7. Great job with the creativity in making your family celebrations unique.
    Chrismakah is now on my list of favorite holidays.
    May you and yours have a very festive Chrismakah!

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    • Thank you! We really enjoyed it this year, even if we didn’t have our traditional dinner (turkey, bacon, and mac & cheese are critical parts of the Chrismakah dinner), LOL We went to a beachside resort and had a VERY enjoyable time. It is so fun being able to make your own holiday and have it constantly evolve.

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  8. I too am not a fan of Christmas. When I worked in hotels I gladly worked the holidays. Now I’m in Germany facing my first white Christmas. I am missing the santa on surfboards images of my youth! Snow is strange stuff. Give me Halloween over Christmas any year!

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    • Halloween is one of my favorite 2 holidays! I always tried working the holiday, too. Not only did it help keep my mind off things, but I liked getting the extra holiday pay. LOL

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  9. Couldn’t agree more!

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  10. I think the lovely thing about the Christmas season is that for me it’s all about giving. We get so sucked up in our own lives during the rest of the year that it’s nice to have a season for looking outside ourselves and bringing smiles to others’ faces. It doesn’t have to be giant American-style consumerism, it just has to be sharing love. I hope your Christmakah in Europe will be lovely and simple and filled with warmth. 🙂

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    • I do like that part of it as well. It’s nice to see people being more thoughtful and caring.

      Thanks, but we won’t be in Europe until next year’s Chrismakah. We already celebrated this year in Morocco. It was interesting but fun. LOL

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