Christmas and Aging (PS - The Combination Sucks)

by - 6:30 PM

I have a problem. It applies to a lot of things. Age, experiences, meals, books, outfits, holidays. Christmas, for instance.

Christmas Village

Christmas Tree Fiber Optic

The problem is this: I am a master schema creator. That is, I do a really good job of creating a feeling that I think should and will be attached to an experience and when that feeling fails to accessorize said experience, I feel defeated.

To be fair, this didn't help.

I had this idea about how it would feel to be an adult. I thought it would be a careful curation of confidence, wealth, and inherent knowledge. At 25, I know I'm just dipping my toes into adulthood, but I'm here to confess, if you ever had the same idea about how adulthood would feel, it's pretty much bullshit. I'm as confused as I was at 15, except now I have bills to pay and crows feet when I giggle.

Similarly, I had this idea of how Christmas should feel. At least this is based on experience. When I was a little girl, Christmas was magical and lasted sixteen months in kid years. Even after my parents gave up the Santa charade, Christmas still had a feeling. And it was a concrete, physical feeling. It smelled like sugar cookies and sounded like Bing Crosby. It was cold and snugly warm, all at the same time. It was red and green and gold and glittery. It was a feeling and it was magical.

Christmas Perfect Sugar Cookies

I think that feeling slips further and further away every year. I'm in this limbo-land where in-between adults go to stay at Christmas time. It's like, our very own Christmas Vacation hotel and you only get entry if you aren't a child and you have no children. But, it's not magical. It where the old Christmas feeling gets sucked away even more quickly. You don't get to feel Christmas-y, but you still have to buy gifts. In fact, you try extra hard to get the spirit rolling, so you buy Christmas sprinkles and streamers. You buy Advent Calendars and shiny gift wrap. You throw down cash in the hopes that it will buy you a one way ticket back to the North Pole and holiday cheer, but in reality, it just makes your house full of stuff to which you just don't feel connected.

Now, let me back up a teeny tiny bit. Christmas doesn't feel like I think it should, but I'm not any less grateful because there's a valuable lesson in the change. I remarked to Ryan that this Christmas didn't feel like Christmas to me, but that I still had a lovely day. My point to him was this: it wasn't what I thought it should be, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. A nice day, but more like the 4th of July, or maybe Easter. Food, friends, family. Good stuff, you know?

I guess my surprise came in Ryan's response. He said to me, "you know Jenn, that's how Christmas always feels to me. I just like to spend time with our family."

I wasn't surprised that Ryan loves to spend time with his family, he loves his family. This is not a revelation. But that he never feels the Christmas spirit?!
I felt like the Grinch, whose heart grew three sizes that day.

I know what Christmas is about. I know what it means to me. I know what I, personally, choose to celebrate on December 25th . And none of that has ever been about gifts, but I have been remarkably attached to the feeling and much like an adolescent needs to release Santa to their childhood memories, I need to leave my Christmas schema to the past, or risk defeat year after year. Christmas might not ever feel like what it used to -- but that's okay. In the future, it might become even more magical, but for now, I'm banking on the enjoyment that spending the day with the people I love brings without fail.

Apple Pie Hot Liquor

Pictured pieces of what makes Christmas really magical (in no particular order)-- my fabulous husband, our nieces and their gluten free brownies, our adorbsy niece and her reindeer face, our nephews, and apple pie in a cup. Merry Christmas, indeed. 

This Christmas rocked. Good food, good company and another year with the man who gives everyday meaning. We are so blessed and we know it -- that alone is magical.

PS - I never thought the day would come, but -- I requested a microwave for Christmas. Santa (ahem, Ryan) brought me a kitchen appliance and I was thrilled.

Raise your hand if you ever saw that in my destiny ....

No one? Okay.

Gift Christmas Appliance

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  1. I feel you. Mannnnn do I feel you! I have a VERY hard time with getting older. Having nieces and a nephew helps because you see the magic through THEIR eyes. :)
    And I legit asked for our carpet to get professionally cleaned for Christmas. Luckily my man didn't go through with it but yikes... WHO ARE WE BECOMING?! haha