Holidays… Just Say No


We are in “the holiday season.” It’s the one thing that wrecks winter. To make things worse, it comes earlier and earlier every year. I mostly just hold on until January second and savor the islands of non-holiday that pop up from time to time during this strange nightmare.

What’s wrong with it? Mainly, it’s just too long. Even the local thrift store closed its doors two weeks ago to put out the Christmas stuff. Mid-October? Christmas starts with Halloween which is, itself, now a pretty big “holiday.”

Here’s how I think it should be.

Halloween should return to being ONE night when 20 somethings have parties and kids go trick-or-treating. The next day everything goes back to normal. The 20 somethings have hangovers, and the kids have bellyaches.

Then, all is quiet until a few days before Thanksgiving when mom deliberates whether to buy a frozen or fresh turkey or who wants turkey anyway? Let’s have ham. Or something. That lasts for a weekend and by Sunday everyone is thoroughly sick of each other and turkey.

Then the biggie rolls around, but not until around December 12 or so. “Should we get a tree?” pops into the conversation. A tree is procured, decorations are dragged out, the tree is decorated, presents are bought and everything moves toward the moment in which visions of sugar-plums dance around in the kids’ heads.

Yesterday a Plow & Hearth catalog arrived in my mailbox. It makes an impossible promise — “225 NEW ways to celebrate” (not likely). These “ways” are “things,” stuff that made it through Trump’s tariffs. All this stuff is available to all of us to make our holidays great again. I don’t really KNOW how a battery operated candle in a jar with a cardinal painted on the front is going to transform anything permanently.

Is happiness measured in stuff? I mean really? I got both miserable and happy yesterday and there was no “stuff” involved. I queried an agent I really wanted to represent my book. She answered positively, asking for the first fifty pages of The Schneeballs (ha ha) go to America. I sent it. Yay!

I got an email yesterday declining the manuscript. THAT’s when I saw I’d spelled her name wrong.


Nothing like being relentlessly confronted with one’s flaws.

What was there to do (besides self-loathing) but head out with Bear into the big open. We walked, enjoyed the remaining snow, the light, the snowy mountains and were met by three mule deer does who’d been foraging on some half-frozen alfalfa in a fallow field.

Thanks nature for making it all better. ❤

I came home and pondered where else to send the Schneebelis and decided to send it to a publisher who specializes in books about Mennonites and Amish, Swiss family history, etc. No word yet. I’m, meanwhile, formatting the book to self-publish it. It’s something to do that could lead to a pretty book, anyway. And really how important is it? It isn’t.

As for me, I don’t know what my holidays will bring. I’m pretty broke after the expenses of the summer, but I’ll be taking a turkey to the food bank. I have the feeling that my holidays are going to be me, the dogs, country roads, maybe a tea party, and, god-willing snow without -20 temps. Maybe even the opportunity to X-country ski. I plan to celebrate Thanksgiving at the Sand Dunes. ❤

Thanks for reading my Scroogeish rant.

24 thoughts on “Holidays… Just Say No

  1. That is not a rant, but expresses my feelings as they are. Christmas comes earlier every year, so why bother to remove the tree (if you have one) or the decorations. Just leave them, only another 11 months to wait to January. We do not even have a halloween, so in October it all begins. Imagine no thanksgiving, we do not even have that. Today they were assembling the Christmas Tree at the supermarket. If one of those Christmas ball decorations fall off the tree they could knock someone unconscious, they are bigger than a pumpkin.

  2. My son opted out of Thanksgiving for the first time ever. He got an invitation to go to the Cape and let someone else cook. I congratulated him and pointed out he might just learn to LIKE not making a giant feast in which no one is all that interested, even him. We do a get-together Christmas eve. I have a tiny fake (but it looks surprisingly real) tree with decorations and lights in the guest room in a big black bag. Remove bag, carry the tree to the living room, plugin.

    Voila! Christmas. I cook something on Christmas Eve for any family that drops by. We don’t buy gifts and that has really diminished visits. I believe my granddaughter ONLY shows up if there’s a package or cash involved. I can’t afford the expensive stuff and I don’t want the other stuff. We’ve already GOT too much stuff.

    Christmas Day, Garry and I watch boring old movies and eat something, which could be frozen pizza.

    When I was a mere lass, the holidays were a really big deal. Part of it was being raised atheistically Jewish, which mean NO celebration of any kind and no decorations, so I was so happy to finally get a piece of the holiday. But at some point, I realized we didn’t need a big messy tree taking up half the living room and I didn’t need to go into five years of debt to buy stuff no one would use and didn’t need.

    We have gotten The Holidays down to the absolute minimum and it’s such a relief!

    • I would say my holidays are even more minimal 🙂 I have a fake tree in the garage but I used it once. Last year I had a tea party with my neighbors and made a centerpiece. I went to friends for Christmas but that was far too surreal for me to repeat. I can’t bear it. I think I’ve reached a point in my life where I understand there is no compromise. The world works one way and I another and no one’s going to do things my way EVER. But I will. 😀

      • I do understand. The tree was my compromise and if I didn’t put it up, no one in THIS house would care. And it isn’t going anywhere until Christmas Eve.

        Most of the older people — our age-ish — are weary of holidays, regardless of background. I never imagined it would happen here, but it did. It was such a relief when we finally admitted we didn’t want to do it anymore.

        • It might be related to age — but I’ve felt this way since my teens. From my 40s until 2009, I went “home” for Christmas and I liked being in Montana and with my aunts. I will always think of that as the “real” Christmas.

  3. Great post and so sorry about the name spelling thing. Write her back with a funny note!

    I mostly love the holidays. But, I also like to read John Grisham’s “Skipping Christmas” every Thanksgiving weekend so that I can nearly laugh myself sick about the sheer possibility. 🙂

    • I guess I sometimes feel bullied by all the products and advertising and songs and stuff around the holidays. I should read that story! 😀

      I don’t know if she declined the book because I spelled her name wrong. I kind of doubt it. She’s in it for the money so if she read the first 50 pages and thought “I’ll make money on this!” she probably would have taken it spelling and all. Still, I hate that I do that!!!

  4. I can totally relate to your post! I will be going out for dinners with friends before Christmas but the actual day will probably be spent by myself. Last year was so awkward with food I couldn’t eat and the question of whether to bring a gift or not

  5. Inspiring post. Loved it. I am not alone!
    Yes! Christmas stuff at the big box store before Halloween was unacceptable. I remember it didn’t use to show up until after Thanksgiving (back in my day, old timer that I am) and that was sometimes too early.
    My favorite day of the holiday season is January 2nd.
    After hosting Christmas for 35 years, this year we are traveling to our daughter’s and this has changed my whole outlook. 🙂
    Perhaps it helped that we gave away all the Christmas decorations/tree/dishes this past January….

    • I’ve spent a lot of Christmases all alone and one thing that has happened over and over is that Christmas Eve brings something wonderful that I never expected. Sometimes it’s presents, sometimes it’s friends showing up, one year I was visiting friends and discovered that I COULD still get on and ride a horse in spite of one joint surgery and the other hip heading south. Sometimes I think we force too much in our world and we need, sometimes, just to allow things to be and to happen (or not). ❤

  6. Same here, Martha. It really doesn’t have any meaning to us, except for the fact that my son, who works in retail, gets the day off and we can all be at home at once. Occasionally, I get the guilts. Then we have croissants with ham, cheese and tomato and go on a bushwalk. That’s nice.

    I tried to give my fake tree and decorations to an op shop. They don’t accept them!

  7. Here in sunny FL, there is word going around to celebrate Halloween on a Saturday. Most parents said WTH????? And then, ‘NO.’ Thanksgiving is non-existent. Eat your Halloween candy then go Christmas shopping (bargains to be had!) after you stuff yourself (literally) on turkey. Happy Holidays!

  8. I like your vision of the holidays. Have you noticed that the two “Gimmee!” holidays are squeezing out the “Thank you!” holiday?

    The Christmas we see in “A Christmas Carol” is almost entirely gone except for the reshowing (and rebooting) of old classics to let us pretend that we aren’t just commercial beings.

    • Interesting. “Gimme holidays” vs. “Thank you” holiday. That’s true. I avoid all of it for the most part. A lot of my friends watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Christmas Eve.

  9. Totally NOT Scroogish. Preach, woman! I agree with your timeline. This time of year, I deliberately avoid retail stores because I don’t want to listen to a lick of Christmas music until mid December. It doesn’t “put me in the holiday spirit.” All I hear is the desperation of stores wanting me to spend my money! I wish more people understood that. Retails make 40% of their annual revenue in the time between Thanksgiving and year end! So they literally need our money or they won’t be in business next year!

    • Thank you! It’s kind of sad that is how it is for retail, but… In my little town “Christmas” starts tomorrow — we have a parade, craft fare, fireworks, caroling — but it’s because all the little towns here in the San Luis Valley each get a weekend. Last weekend one town, next weekend another town — it’s how every town gets its chance. I wish it weren’t so early! I just go and pretend it’s some weird custom of this town. 🙂

      • Uxbridge’s parade is tomorrow too and this evening, the common was strung with lights. I like our little local Christmas. And they don’t play carols in any of the stores. Of course, we don’t have many stores.

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