You're a mean one...

Call me Grinch.

Run on sentences aside, I offer you the first paragraph (with paraphrased first line above) of Moby Dick. Ishmael's plight is a perfect analogy for how I'm feeling about this holiday season - and, frankly, a few holiday seasons before it.

"Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me."

Unlike Ishmael, however, I don't have the sea or ship to flee to when I'm feeling blue and the Grinch decides to take up residence in my soul over the holiday season.

I wish I could pinpoint when this started happening. I used to be a total brown-eyed Cindy-Lou Who - wide eyed and full of warm Christmas feelings. I decorated like crazy, put up a real tree, sent cards to an ever-growing list of family and friends, baked cookies, and planned and bought perfect, special gifts for everyone. But, for the last few years, I can barely be bothered.

And here's the really weird thing... I'm not depressed or sad, although I feel like I SHOULD be. Ironically, my guilt over my loss of Christmas spirit is actually WORSE than the loss of Christmas spirit.

This holiday, here are the things that give me a little glimmer of hope that I'm not really a total Grinch:

1. The awesome kid-sized foozball table that I bought for my niece and nephew. I'm glad I had an excuse to get that for them. Because it's AWESOME.

2. The Hallmark Star Trek-themed Christmas ornaments. This year they introduced one depicting the Pon-Farr fight between Kirk and Spock and now I want to have a Trek-themed tree next year.

Seriously! How cool is this?

3. Peppermint. There's not enough peppermint in our daily lives. This season rectifies that situation. Peppermint bark and peppermint hot chocolate top the list.

4. My neighbors' decorations. While I can't quite find the energy to put up my own decorations this year, I'm thankful every night, as I drive through the neighborhood, that the houses look festive.

Not my actual neighbors

Like Tom Bodett, I'm leaving the lights on for my Christmas spirit. I assume that, at some point in my future, I'll wake up one chilly late-November morning and have the calling. My soul will stir with Christmas cheer and I'll start chomping at the bit to put up a tree and fill my house presents. But, until that day arrives, I'm going to work at not feeling guilty about Christmas being more of a burden than a celebration, I'm going to enjoy other's holiday excitement, and I'm going to visualize my heart growing three sizes.

Merry Christmas (or whatever winter holiday you celebrate).

- Alex

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