I Love Junk

Archive for November 2010

I love the shit out of the holidays.

Normally.

But this year it’s not happening. I already had a lackluster Halloween, during which I made absolutely no effort to celebrate. This is not like me.

And now, Thanksgiving and Christmas are sneaking up. Normally, by mid-October I’m waging a secret battle against the urge to start covering everything I own with more shiny crap than a parade of drag queens. Now, it’s November – open season for Christmassy goodness by Overgrown Child standards – and I feel nothing but an impending sense of doom. Oh sure, I’ve got pumpkin Pop-Tarts and cranberry ginger ale as a tribute to the oft-neglected Thanksgiving season, and I’ve got the X-E Christmas Jukebox as background music for my paltry NaNoWriMo efforts.

What I don’t have is the house I’ve spent all my previous 25 Christmases in. I don’t have the string of programmable colored lights that has adorned my living room wall every December since I was twelve. I don’t have the six-foot artificial tree that has been in my family since the 1960s, sheds a few more needles every year, and smells unmistakably of every Christmas morning I ever had as a child. I don’t have the ornaments I made in elementary school, the ugly straw reindeer my mom insisted on keeping in the living room all year because she loved it so much, the stocking with my name on it. I don’t have my grandma’s roast pan and casserole dishes and weird green gravy boat for Thanksgiving dinner. All that stuff is still in Florida.

When I moved to Boston, I could only bring what I could fit in my car. There was room only for things I use every day, not special seasonal stuff. And so the special seasonal stuff got locked up in my house and left behind.

But I’m also aching for things I couldn’t have brought with me no matter how much room I had. My Christmas tree may be waiting for me back in Florida, but my mom isn’t. Neither is my great-aunt, who was so picky about her house but approved of my decorating skills enough to let me trim her tree each year. Neither is my grandma, who always asked me to play “Winter Wonderland” on the piano because she liked the part about the birds. I will never see them again.

Most of the year, I can focus just on what’s around me. I can distract myself with the Here And Now and never think about all the stuff from my past that I miss. But the holidays, for me, are about the past. They’re about all the people who loved me as a child, who are now gone forever. And I don’t want to become one of those bitter people who feels lonely at Christmas and so decides to turn it into a month-long bitchfest, snapping at anyone who dares to have fun near them. Those people drive me nuts. Besides, why would I want to forget all my best memories with my mom? She was awesome all the time, but that sweet Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas triumvirate is when we really came together. I don’t want to lose that special time just because it’s sad.

But it is sad, and it’s going to make me deeply homesick. And this is where I need your help, my fellow overgrown children. I want to know how I can make it not suck. I need to find some new rituals and traditions for myself, since the ones with my family are gone. I need to find ways to keep myself tied to the past without getting stuck there. I need to find some ways to make Thanksgiving and Christmas as awesome as they were when I was a kid. Maybe not awesome in the same exact ways, but still awesome.

Give me your Thanksgiving and Christmas cheer. Tell me your goofy traditions. Tell me your favorite recipe that features cranberries or pumpkin or ginger or eggnog or whatever. Tell me your favorite thing to do in the snow! I will have snow here! Help me find my normal annoying levels of Christmas mojo. I need it to fight the sadness away.

My Charlie Brown tree isn’t here to help me.