I have fairly and justifiably been called a Grinch before. I hate Christmas music, egg nog, how dry my skin gets in winter, defrosting my car, snowball fights (I have an unfair disadvantage due to my height and every snowball no matter who threw it, goes directly in my face, and it hurts, a lot) buying presents, decorating, shoveling snow, etc. I realize that half the things I just named don’t even have anything to do with Christmas, just basic associations with winter. This is what a Grinch does. By definition a Grinch is a person who “spoils or dampens the pleasure of others”, particularly around the holidays. My poor mother who is a Sagittarius and whose ringtone may or may not at this exact moment be “Ode to Joy” and keeps a Christmas CD in one of six slots in her car cd player all year-long, was unfortunately gifted with two grinches for children. My brother is not as bad as me, he maintains a pretty apathetic mood around the holidays, but I actually think he secretly likes it a little, but just won’t admit it, so his “swagger” won’t become unbalanced.
I don’t hate everything about this time of year however. My favorite “Christmas” movies are “A Nightmare before Christmas” and “The Abominable Snowman”. I love sledding, skiing, Yankee swaps, Christmas parties, ugly sweaters, snowboarding and eating snow. I also like receiving gifts. My mother thinks of me as a spoiled brat but even she can admit that I am not a snob about much and I never ask for anything extravagant and always get her something that I think she would really like/asked for if I have the money. Frankly she confuses me, she talks a lot about the “thought” that really counts but she sure didn’t get upset when I gave her a niiiiiice gift certificate to Chico’s. She likes gifts too, but like my brother, won’t admit to it. THEY ARE BOTH FRAUDS! Being honest and real forever gets me into trouble. New years resolution? Be more fake.
So this year I wanted to experiment with being less miserable. On Thanksgiving I was only a little hung over and helped with the cooking (I am secretly a really good cook). My general mood was eh, but I kept it together and I think my mom had too much Merlot to notice the dirty looks I was giving her as she flitted around the kitchen TOUCHING EVERYTHING. I love the holidays.
For my moms early December birthday party, her fiancée planned a surprise party at a restaurant near his house which is fine for them but SO far for my brother and I. Smile. I love my mom. Took the hour and a half drive, ate the dry quesadilla, talked to a bunch of people I have never seen before but who allege they remember me from when I was little. Sure, whatever. I knew Carol was genuinely happy, especially cuz I slipped her a little TJ Maxx treat. Smile some more, I love the holidays!
I recently reconciled with an estranged friend that I to this day have no idea why the hell we were “estranged”. Whatever, she’s incredibly weird in the best way and I am glad we are friends again. Holidays can be fun.
I started back in therapy this week. This is not a taboo subject, no one is perfect and therapy is something I think everyone can benefit from. Get over yourself and work your problems out. Holidays can keep you sane.
Last week I wrote some letters to old friends/people I haven’t spoken to in years. In most cases, we both had taken some missteps towards the end and I wanted to take responsibility for mine. No hard feelings. Well wishes were given. Did I secretly want to be the bigger person? Maybe a little. Did I want and need closure? Absolutely. It’s amazing what a letter can do to free your soul.
In life, people grow apart, fight, lose touch. It’s okay. If you want to have communication with someone, do it. If you don’t, don’t. Don’t say “I should call..” Call them. Write them. Text them. Facebook them. Send them a tweet. I don’t care. Just don’t regret anything.
Write down your bucket list.
Do something you have always wanted to do. Go horseback riding. Sledding. Ice skating. Take a vacation if you can afford it.
Overtip. Sure the economy is bad but what are you doing keeping three extra dollars? Stop being cheap and get a grip. My generation generally tips well, but you would be surprised who is secretly cheap. Hint: the friend who lives in the sick house but likes to eat at buffets (sidebar: I will never be one of those people, it infuriates my mom so much because I have terrible money management, but I live in the now and that is why I am poor. I could die tomorrow, do I really want to pass up a road trip to go see a giant pancake? NO CHANCE! I also have a chronic case of FMI: Fear of Missing Something).
Call someone you have been meaning to call. Write someone you have been meaning to write.
Be nice to your parent(s). Everything you are and hope to be you owe to them.
Donate to a Toy/Can Drive. Toys for Tots is always in need. Go look in your pantry and grab some canned goods. It’s cold out there and people are hungry. I donate all my old clothes to Salvation Army. They might be rags and out of date to you, but it is a shopping spree for someone else. Don’t waste.
As hard as you might have it, someone, a LOT of people have it a lot worse. When you are in your warm house at night, sipping on hot cocoa and watching your DVR, remember how good you have it. Not far from your house, apartment, someone is sleeping outside, wondering where their next meal is. They won’t have a Christmas tree, turkey dinner or gifts to open this year.
Be thankful for the little things. Be nice.
Love, A former Grinch.